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Army November 22, 2012
WHEN Army veteran Milan Nikolic
told his wife Dianne she deserved
a medal for managing her stress
while their son was deployed on Op
Resolute he never imagined Prime
Minister Julia Gillard would soon
present her with one.
The Nikolics and seven other fami-
lies of serving ADF personnel received
a commemorative badge of honour
when Prime Minister Julia Gillard
launched the Defence Family Pin on
HMAS Darwin in Sydney on November
3. The pin means that the families of
ADF men and women now have their
own badge of honour and respect to
wear while their loved ones are serving
The pin is the culmination of the
efforts of Mr Nikolic, a former UN
peacekeeper who served in Rwanda,
and Deb O'Neill, the Member for
Robertson and Mr Nikolic's local MP.
It was Ms O'Neill who suggested to the
Prime Minister that families of ADF
members deserved official recognition.
In January last year, Mr Nikolic
told his wife she deserved a medal for
dealing with the emotional stress and
turmoil of their 21-year-old son, LAC
Adrian Nikolic, serving with 11 Sqn on
Mr Nikolic said this conversation
over dinner at their central coast home
was his light-bulb moment that inspired
an effort to acknowledge all ADF fami-
lies.Ms Gillard said the Defence Family
Pin would acknowledge that military
families shared in their loved ones' ser-
"As a nation we appreciate the brav-
ery and service of our military person-
nel. However, we should also remember
the sacrifices of their families going for
long stretches without their loved ones
and the heightened anxiety knowing
they are deployed in a conflict zone,"
Ms Gillard also presented pins to
Lt-Col John and Wendy Duff, whose
son Pte Andrew Duff is deployed on Op
"The ADF Family pin is a marvel-
lous initiative as it recognises the vital
support that we provide on the home-
front," Ms Duff said.
"I will be very proud to wear my
badge in public."
Also present at the ceremony
were Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon, CDF Gen
David Hurley, Forces Commander Maj-
Gen Mick Slater and Head of People
Capability Maj-Gen Gerard Fogarty.
The pins will be provided to families
across the three services.
HQJOC's National Welfare
Coordination Centre (NWCC) will dis-
tribute the pins by identifying personnel
deploying and sending their PMKeyS-
identified next of kin a letter with two
Defence Family Pins. It has already
started sending pins to families of
personnel currently deployed overseas.
Defence members or their next of
kin may also request pins for a deploy-
To request more pins for additional family
members call the NWCC on 1800 801 026.
Pins for the
Defence family pins recognise sacrifices
CHRISTMAS cards are being hand-
made by craft groups, veterans and
kids and shipped to the MEAO for
Australian troops to send home to
Kathyrn James said she started
the Cards for Aussie Troops project
in order to send a little something to
members of the ADF who were serv-
ing on Op Slipper.
"One of my inspirations is my
sister-in-law, Cpl Jacqueline Grant,
who is doing just that with FCU-7 at
the Al Minhad Airbase in the UAE,"
"It's just our way of saying thanks
for what our troops are doing."
For more information join the page
on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
Cards make Christmas
special for MEAO troops
Recognition: Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Maj-Gen Gerard Fogarty meet family members of deployed
troops at a presentation of the Defence Family Pin (pictured inset) on HMAS Darwin. Photos by AB Chantell Bianchi
Season's greetings: Handmade
Christmas cards are headed for the
MEAO to help soldiers connect with
their families. File photo by LS Andrew Dakin
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