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Army August 15, 2013
COL Jason Blain deployed to
Afghanistan three times and was
CO of Mentoring Task Force 1 and
Deputy Commander of Combined
Team Uruzgan in 2010.
He was present at the launch of
Afghanistan: the Australian Story,
and was impressed with how the
exhibition told the story of the
ADF’s involvement in the conflict.
“The exhibition has used items
such as a yellow palm oil container,
which to most people would be just
a piece of plastic, but as we know
could be a weapon of destruction
and death used by the Taliban as an
IED, to tell the human dimension
to the story of Afghanistan,” Col
“It also shows the stories from
those who have carried the physical
and mental burden and to me that
was extremely important.
“We haven’t had their stories
told in the public arena enough,
allowing them to say it through
their own words on what they went
Col Blain knew there would
always be an Afghanistan exhibi-
tion at the AWM, but he said for
it to have been created now was
“The fact it has happened while
we are still serving in Afghanistan
was significant,” Col Blain said.
“This will be a place I and others
can bring our children to show them
where we served and why Mum and
Dad were away for so long, what we
did there and to explain the mission.
“We’ve helped grow the future
of another nation.”
He said after seeing the exhibi-
tion it took him back to his time in
“When I saw some of the items
it brought it right back to me,” Col
“The exhibition is part of my
own emotional Afghanistan journey
and I really think it will be a place
to help many of us who are still
going through mental and emotional
“We can come here and reflect
and understand why and what we
were doing in Afghanistan.
“This is a very intelligent and
significant outcome from the War
Memorial and I commend them for
what they’ve done.”
Cpl Nick Wiseman
A BATTLE-damaged Bushmaster
storage bin recovered from the site of
an IED attack in Afghanistan has been
donated by the Army to the Australian
War Memorial (AWM) to be part of the
new Afghanistan exhibition.
The storage bin was donated at a
small ceremony on behalf of the Army
by Brig Shane Gabriel of AHQ to AWM
Assistant Curator Tim Sullivan.
Brig Gabriel said the Army and the
AWM had a long history of cooperation.
“I think this is a fantastic opportunity
that Army is making another presenta-
tion to the Australian War Memorial of
our contemporary conflicts,” Brig Gabriel
“In particular the war in Afghanistan,
where so many Australian soldiers
have served in recent times and con-
tinue to serve, which is important to
The Bushmaster the storage bin
belonged to was damaged on November
7, 2012, while operating in Afghanistan
with soldiers from the 3RAR Task Group.
Three Australian soldiers suffered
relatively minor wounds as a result of
the incident. The vehicle was new and
had travelled about 500km in 47 hours
Mr Sullivan said the AWM had estab-
lished the tradition of collecting items for
the national collection.
“One of the reasons we like this
piece in particular is because the call
sign is still intact on the object,” he said.
“We can identify that to a vehicle, so
we know the time, place and people, giv-
ing us the opportunity to tell the story of
“The fact that it is battle damaged is
such a graphic example of the impact
and consequences of IEDs, which have
taken so many lives of Australian per-
sonnel in Afghanistan.
“It’s going to be a piece that is very
powerful in telling the Australian story in
Brig Gabriel said the damaged
Bushmaster bin would make an impor-
tant part of the Afghanistan exhibit.
“It represents something that soldiers
who have served there can show their
families of things they have experi-
enced,” he said.
“I also think it’s important that the
Australian people without a direct con-
nection can see these objects and get
some understanding of what it is like to
be a soldier in these conflicts.”
Confronting: The artwork titled Captain S, After
Afghanistan by war artist Ben Quilty is displayed in
Photo by Cpl Nick Wiseman
Realism: Displays in the new exhibit show
uniforms and combat equipment used by troops in
Photo by Cpl Nick Wiseman
Looking back: On a tour of the Afghanistan exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, Col Jason Blain inspects a
section of a Bushmaster damaged in an IED blast last year.
Photo by WO2 Andrew Hetherington
History: Brig Shane Gabriel presents a battle-damaged Bushmaster
storage bin to AWM Assistant Director Tim Sullivan with Thales
Australia’s Nigel Blunden.
Photo by Cpl Nick Wiseman
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