ANZAC: Middle EastWeb Crew
Anzac Day was commemorated throughout the Middle East with a number of dawn services across theatre.
Australian and New Zealand personnel stood side by side with counterparts from Turkey and coalition forces to remember the fallen in all wars and conflicts.
“I see in your eyes that same commitment, that same passion and desire to pursue all that is good in the defence of our nations.”
At Camp Baird, the commander of Joint Task Force 633, Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi spoke at the dawn service and highlighted the Anzac spirit of mateship on current operations.
“Mateship is the genesis of the inseparable bond between our two countries. Young of heart, strong of body, clear of vision, they would sacrifice all to help a mate,” Air Vice Marshal Iervasi said.
“Today is about reflection: as nations, as communities, as individuals—an opportunity to reflect and honour those before us.
“As dawn approaches we see a new horizon of hope and promise. I see in your eyes that same commitment, that same passion and desire to pursue all that is good in the defence of our nations.”
Later that day, those not on duty had the opportunity to play cricket before watching the Anzac Day football matches broadcast from Australia.
Catafalque parties also provided support to locations as far away as the Amman Citadel, Jordan and with Australian staff in headquarters elements in Kuwait.
Pause to remember in Afghanistan
In Kabul, Afghanistan, commemorations were held at the military base on the north side of Kabul International Airport.
The last of the winter snow was still evident on the peaks overlooking the city when more than 150 Australian Defence Force members gathered at the service.
“The Kiwis and the Diggers stand side by side again and remember the sacrifices shared alongside our Turkish allies.”
Personnel from Britain, Denmark, Germany, Turkey and the United States were also there to share in the reflection. Commander Task Group Afghanistan, Brigadier Tim O’Brien, paid tribute to the spirit of Anzac and the members currently deployed. He was joined by Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Nicola Gordon-Smith, and the commander of the military base, Turkish Army Brigadier General Hasan Hüseyin Kanbur.
The story was similar across Afghanistan at the headquarters of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, in Kabul’s green zone, at Bagram Airfield and Kandahar Airfield. The Kandahar service featured a catafalque party composed of two Australian and two United States servicemen, which highlighted the close military relationship between the two nations.
At Camp Qargha, to the west of Kabul, and home to Australian mentors at the Afghan National Officer Academy, the dawn service was attended by members from Australia, Britain, Denmark, Turkey and the United States.
The Anzac bond continues in Iraq
Soldiers from Task Group Taji observed Anzac Day in two locations in Iraq.
In Baghdad, there was dawn service; just north of the city, at the Taji Military Complex, the remainder of the task group paused from its training mission to observe Anzac Day.
Around 240 members of the ADF, 90 members of the New Zealand Defence Force, 20 members of the Singapore Armed Forces and invited guests participated in the service.
Colonel Jason Groat, the commanding officer of Task Group Taji, said observing Anzac Day while on deployment was very significant.
“I am sure all of them feel a special significance commemorating Anzac Day in the Middle East Region not that far from where the Anzac legend was forged,” Colonel Groat said.
Lieutenant Colonel Darren Beck, of the New Zealand Army, said it was special to observe Anzac Day as an integrated Task Group.
“We are as strong and as committed as ever,” Lieutenant Colonel Beck said.
“The Kiwis and the Diggers stand side by side again and remember the sacrifices shared alongside our Turkish allies,” LTCOL Beck said.
Approximately 1500 personnel are deployed to the Middle East Region this Anzac Day.