Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Navy veterans honoured for outstanding service

Six Navy veterans have received the Meritorious Unit Citation, for sustained outstanding service in warlike operation. 

The award was recently announced for service in Somalia between October 17, 1992, and November 23, 1994, where ADF personnel performed extraordinary work in challenging conditions. 

At the time, the service in Somalia represented the ADF’s largest land and sea operation since Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and included Australian Service Contingents (ASC) I-IV; 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Battalion Group; and HMAS Tobruk.

The award ceremony was held at HMAS Moreton and attended by the recipients, their families and friends.

Executive Officer Moreton Lieutenant Commander Amy Brauns opened the ceremony by acknowledging the honour of presenting such an award on behalf of the ADF to the six personnel, who now live in south-east Queensland.

Luke Hardin, John Kricker, Lisa Bates and Gavin Dean received the award for their service on Tobruk

Commanding Officer HMAS Moreton, Commander Rose Apikotoa presents a unit citation John Kricker.

Michael Apperley and Paul Longley, who served with the Australian Service Contingents, received the award for their service as a part of the Joint Movement Control Group in Mogadishu.

Mr Longley said he was both humbled and honoured.

“Receiving this award is a great honour, but really it is not just about those of us who served but our partners and families back home who wear our absences,” he said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Moreton, Commander Rose Apikotoa, left, presents a unit citation to Lisa Bates, centre, who was joined by her best friend.

After the reading of citations, Commanding Officer Moreton Commander Rose Apikotoa closed the ceremony by echoing Mr Longley’s sentiment.

“While we as military personnel are able to wear our medals and honours and our recognitions, our families are the ones who wear our departures and absences,” Commander Apikotoa said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Moreton, Commander Rose Apikotoa presents a unit citation to Dean Gavin who was joined by his family.

“You are the ones who see your loved ones depart and come back, often away for extensive periods of time.

“We couldn’t do it without your support and without your service to our personnel that serve.

“Thank you for your service, to the recipients, but also to the families and friends for your service in supporting our military. 

“We have a saying in the Navy that always rings true: ‘Once Navy, always Navy’.”

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