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Army September 29, 2011
wounds suffered in oper-
ational service isn't all
physiotherapy and medi-
cine -- soldiers from several units
tackled the Kokoda Trail in July to
help raise awareness for soldiers
wounded on operations.
Spr Jason Andrewartha was one
of several 2CER soldiers involved in
the RSL Soldiers Kokoda and said
taking on the trail was a once-in-a-
"It's a great way to get awareness
out there about wounded soldiers,"
Spr Andrewartha said.
"It was difficult, but not unachiev-
The Soldiers Kokoda involves
communities from throughout
Australia sponsoring recovering sol-
diers to trek along the Kokoda Trail.
Towards the end of the trail,
the group stopped at a village for a
memorial to honour soldiers killed in
Afghanistan and were joined by for-
mer CDF Gen Peter Cosgrove (retd).
"It was very emotional for every-
one involved," Spr Andrewartha said.
"Once the padre started speaking
and we saw the photos of the fallen
soldiers, it hit home hard."
Another 2CER soldier on the trail
was Spr Chris Parker-Benton who
said the days were long.
"We started at about 5am each
day and usually went to bed at about
7pm," Spr Parker-Benton said.
"We managed to find some time
to socialise each night before exhaus-
tion took over."
Both soldiers agreed meeting and
interacting with members of the pub-
lic on the trail and sharing their expe-
riences were great opportunities.
The group carried their gear on
their backs, which consisted of per-
sonal items, food and water, clothes
and sleeping gear, with porters carry-
ing other necessary items.
Although the weather was quite
hot, luck was on their side with only
two days of rain toward the end of
Unsure of how he would cope
with his wounds after his rehabili-
tation, Spr Parker-Brenton said he
pushed himself to find his limits.
"My injuries started to affect me
towards the end, but I was deter-
mined to finish," he said
Joining the 2CER boys on the
trail was Ray Palmer, the father of
fallen 2 Cdo Regt commando Pte
Scott Palmer, who said the experi-
ence was fantastic.
Sometimes the best rehabilitation is to take
on new challenges. Spr Nick Wiseman
catches up with a group of Afghanistan
veterans who included the Kokoda Trail on
their road to recovery.
Tradition: LCpl Arthur Florence, 1RAR Band, plays reveille at dawn on the trail.
Looking back: Participants in Soldiers Kokoda learn about World War II battles
during their eight-day trek.
Hard yakka: Rugged mountain tracks and river
crossings are well known challenges of the infamous
trail. Inset, 2 Cdo Regt's Damian Thomlinson and Ray
Palmer, father of commando Pte Scott Palmer who
was killed in Afghanistan last year, help each other
through the arduous trek.
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