Home' Army News : February 2nd 2012 Contents Army February 2, 2012
LS Paul Berry
QUEENSLAND and much of
Australia paused on January 10 to
mark the first anniversary of the
devastating 2011 floods.
Many communities affected by
the disaster gathered to remember
the victims and show support to
those hardest hit by the worst natu-
ral disaster in the state's history.
Three quarters of the state was
declared a disaster zone and the
ADF played a critical role as it
More than 1900 ADF personnel
deployed at short notice as part of
Op Queensland Flood Assist under
the command of JTF 637.
Col Luke Foster, who com-
manded the task force and now
heads the ISF in East Timor, said
he joined with others to reminisce
about the event.
"Twelve months on I continue
to be proud of the work done by
ADF personnel in supporting the
people of Queensland," Col Foster
"It was a particularly frantic
period and the initiative and good-
will of our people was impressive.
"No one complained about dis-
ruption to leave or short-notice
tasking -- people just got on and did
what was needed."
Looking back on Queensland's
summer of natural disaster
Col Foster said the tragic events
had reinforced his admiration for
"Our men and women excelled
in all aspects during the opera-
tion and more importantly they
showed compassion for their fellow
Australians in a time of need.
"It was an honour to command
JTF 637, albeit for a brief period."
Critical role: LCpl Tory Tipler, 8/9RAR, takes a break during a ground
search for survivors or deceased people along Rocky Creek in Postmans
Ridge, at the base of the Toowoomba range. Photo by PO Damian Pawlenko
Cpl Nick Wiseman
SOLDIERS were well represented in
the Australia Day Honours list this
year with four Medals for Gallantry
awarded, two of which went to MTF
1's Sgt Sean Lanigan and Pte Paul
Pte Langer, 6RAR, received the
MG for his acts of gallantry while
serving as a rifleman with Mentoring
Team Delta at Derapet in Afghanistan's
Tangi Valley on August 24, 2010.
Pte Langer said individual awards
were not such a big deal to him.
"The medal was really for what our
patrol did on the day, working well
together," Pte Langer said.
Sgt Sean Lanigan, 5/6RVR, was
also recognised with the MG for his
acts of gallantry as the platoon sergeant
during the same battle.
Sgt Brett Wood, 2 Cdo Regt, who
was killed in action on May 23 last
year, was recognised with a posthu-
mous Distinguished Service Medal for
his leadership in action while deployed
with the SOTG in Afghanistan.
Sgt Wood's citation stated he con-
sistently provided outstanding leader-
ship on operations and his quiet profes-
sionalism earned him the respect of his
subordinates, peers and superiors.
His actions were described as being
an inspiration for all as he direct-
ly saved lives and repeatedly led his
troops gallantly against enemy posi-
tions while under fire.
Col Jason Blain received a
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for
his leadership in action as CO MTF 1
and deputy commander of Combined
Team -- Uruzgan.
As the CO, Col Blain joined the
soldiers under his command regularly
out at patrol bases to see their work
first hand and said he was honoured to
be given the opportunity to serve with
"The soldiers approached a very
difficult and dangerous mission dis-
playing professionalism, courage and
compassion at all times, despite deal-
ing with terrible situations," Col Blain
"This award represents the sacrifice
and hard work from the soldiers of
More than 70 honours were award-
ed to Army members this year, with
seven commended for gallantry and
four receiving the DSC.
The DSM was awarded to six mem-
bers while 13 received commenda-
tions for their distinguished service,
mostly for leadership and action in
Maj-Gen Michael Slater received
the Officer of the Order of Australia for
his distinguished service as command-
er 1 Div and as head of the Queensland
Flood Recovery Task Force.
Maj-Gen Slater's citation described
his leadership, genuine interest in the
wellbeing of people and clear sense
of purpose as hallmarks of his dis-
tinguished service bringing credit
on himself, the Army and the people
More than 70 soldiers recognised for leadership, gallantry and service in Australia Day Honours
Recognition: Pte Paul Langer, 6RAR, received the Medal for Gallantry for his actions during the Battle of Derapet
in Afghanistan on August 24, 2010, while Col Jason Blain (inset top) received the Distinguished Service Cross for
his leadership in action as CO MTF 1 and Maj-Gen Michael Slater (inset bottom) received the Officer of the Order of
Australia for his service as commander 1 Div and leading the Queensland Flood Recovery Task Force.
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