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Navy to issue Commendation

Navy says it's proud to confirm that a Navy Group Commendation will be presented to all members of HMAS Westralia’s Ships’ Company who were serving on board during the fatal fire of 5 May 1998. Four crew members died when fire erupted in the ship’s engine room. The Group Commendation recognises in a small way the heroic actions and the lasting impact that day had on all those on board. A commemorative service will be held at HMAS Stirling, Fleet Base [...]

Indo-Pacific Endeavour departs

Joint Task Force 661 has sailed for Colombo on the first leg of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 to deepen Australia’s engagement with regional partner nations. Four ships and more than 1000 ADF personnel set sail on March 9 to support the Government’s commitment to an open, secure and prosperous region. Commander JTF 661 Air Commodore Richard Owen said his view of mission success was strengthening regional relationships and developing our people. “It’s about how much people smile,” Air Commodore Owen said. “When we’re in [...]

HMAS Ballarat Hauls Hashish

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized two tonnes of hashish worth approximately $100 million* in street value during a boarding operation on 28 February 2019. The boarding was conducted in international waters by the Combined Task Force 150 under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces as part of Operation Manitou. Following the suspicious behaviour of a fishing vessel known as ‘dhow’, the boarding team searched and discovered 100 hessian bags of hashish on board, which were transferred to Ballarat for testing and [...]

Defence marks International Womens’ Day

Sarah van Bronswijk believes she has one of the most interesting jobs in Defence - the Indo-Pacific Enhanced Engagement Branch. It’s a fast rise for Sarah after joining Defence’s graduate program in 2016 following some postgraduate study in public policy and international affairs at the Australian National University. She’s now an Assistant Director in the International Policy Division, having recently joined the Branch, an exciting branch established to implement Defence’s initiatives in the region. “The APS recognises that no one career path [...]

Search for lost WWII destroyer

One of the remaining maritime mysteries of World War II may soon be solved, thanks to a joint operation between the Royal Australian Navy and the Sri Lankan Navy. Nine sailors died when the destroyer HMAS Vampire (pictured) sank after enduring an intensive Japanese air attack off the Sri Lankan coast. The Vampire had been attempting to protect the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes on 9 April 1942.  Commander of Australia’s Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead said the ship’s precise location had never been confirmed but [...]

HMAS Choules in Honiara

The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Choules arrived in Honiara for a three-day visit to train with, and deliver stores for, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in advance of the national general elections in April. Australian Defence Force personnel from all Services have deployed on HMAS Choules for a month-long activity to undertake engagement and training with our regional partners and other government agencies in the Southwest Pacific. The Commander of the Joint Task Group, Commander Phillipa Hay, said the deployment provides an [...]

Protecting the force

An Army signaller performed a unique role last year as the commander of a female guardian angel team in Afghanistan on Operation Highroad. Corporal Moira Walker, of Australia’s Federation Guard, deployed with Task Group Afghanistan’s Force Protection Element and was based at Camp Qargha near Kabul. The former 3rd Combat Signal Regiment communications systems operator was the commander of a female force protection team that provided security for coalition female mentors of Afghan National Army instructors at the Marshal Fahim National [...]

Joint Statement on Pacific

The close defence relations between Australia and New Zealand are enduring and deeply rooted in our shared military history. In 2018, our two Defence Ministers reaffirmed our mutual commitment to this alliance through a refreshed Joint Statement on Closer Defence Relations. We identified in the Statement three focus areas, which have guided our continued joint work, including through the Building Partner Capacity mission in Iraq, and our other shared Middle East contributions. Particularly pertinent, however, are our enduring interests and [...]

CA visits GMEO, Africa

Australian and Fijian soldiers of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) paraded in front of Australia’s Army Chief in a drill square in Egypt in February. Despite their distinctive terracotta-coloured headgear, the Australian MFO contingent is a little-known part of the ADF’s operations, which were being visited by the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, and the new Commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) 633, Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi. Australians have been part of the MFO – implemented as [...]

Kicking goals

A family dynamic where one sibling is a major and another is a captain sounds fairly routine to most military families. However, the Wood family, of Camperdown in south-west Victoria isn’t like many others. “My brother Easton is the captain of the Western Bulldogs,” said Major McLeod Wood of Task Group Taji 8. Major Wood is deployed as the Officer Commanding Training Team Victor, based at the Taji Military Complex, 20 kilometres north of Baghdad. Task Group Taji 8 is Major Wood’s third [...]

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