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AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
By SGT Andrew Hetherington
MORE than 300 current and
ex-serving ADF personnel who
took part in Operation Catalyst cel-
ebrated the end of the operation by
participating in a welcome home
parade in Canberra on November
21.The tri-service formation made
its way along Anzac parade to the
Australian War Memorial parade
ground, led by the Federation
Waiting for them were applaud-
ing family and friends, who thanked
them for their service on Operation
Dignitaries in attendance includ-
ed Governor-General Quentin Bryce,
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, CDF
ACM Angus Houston and the three
More than 17,300 personnel
deployed on Operation Catalyst
between July 16, 2003 and July 31,
In his speech, Mr Rudd com-
mended ADF personnel for their
service to the operation and to
"Wherever you serve, my expe-
rience is that they (other nations)
always want more of you," Mr Rudd
"Whether in headquarters func-
tions ... or in the field. You are,
in short, great ambassadors for
have to count as
a major highlight
of my career in
the Air Force.
-- SGT Paul Frigo
PROUD PARTICIPANTS: Air Force members who deployed on Operation Catalyst between 2003 and
2009 march up Anzac Parade to the Australian War Memorial as part of a welcome home parade to mark
the end of the operation.
Photos: LAC Aaron Curran
Australia. This grateful nation,
Australia, salutes you."
CDF ACM Angus Houston paid
tribute to the three men who died
during their service in Iraq.
"Today I honour the serv-
ice of WO2 David Nary from the
Special Air Service Regiment and
PTE Jacob Kovco of 3RAR," ACM
"I also wish to mention FLTLT
Paul Pardoel, a graduate of the
Australian Defence Force Academy,
who was killed in Iraq while serving
with the Royal Air Force."
ACM Houston said we should
also remember the ADF personnel
who were wounded during their
"[There were] 27 ADF men and
women who were wounded dur-
ing this operation. Some made full
recoveries. Others will never fully
recover," he said.
Two Air Force personnel who
participated in the parade were SGT
Paul Frigo and CPL Edmar Scott.
SGT Frigo arrived in Iraq in early
March this year and was one of the
last Australians to leave the country
at the end of July.
"While long hours were the norm
with one day rolling into another, the
work was very rewarding and the
professionalism of the people I
worked with made it that much more
easy to get through," he said.
"This would have to count as
a major highlight of my career in the
CPL Scott deployed on the oper-
ation between October 2008 to April
He said it had been the most
rewarding deployment he had been
"The unique opportunity to work
side by side with the American and
the British Forces in particular has
been the highlight of my military
career," he said.
"It's great to pay tribute to all
the men and women both military
and civilian who were involved in
representing Australia for Operation
"Marching to the sounds of the
marching band on Anzac parade,
applauded by fellow Australians
in appreciation of our service will
always bring a sense of pride."
UNITED: From left, FLTLT Fiona
Harris, FLTLT Linda Saunders
and SQNLDR Lindsay Paterson.
CDF slams media
for baseless drug
THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS:
Air Force personnel on the job in
Afghanistan. Photo: LAC Aaron Curran
By WO2 Graham McBean
CDF ACM Angus Houston has
slammed media reports of widespread
illicit drug use by ADF personnel de-
ployed to Afghanistan.
The reports claimed soldiers were
"returning home as addicts" despite
Defence providing information that
no ADF member had tested drug posi-
tive in Afghanistan since tests began in
The ADF has a no-drug policy and
has discharged 373 ADF members
u nder its drug-testing program and
through other means where drug use
A Defence statement said a detailed
response was provided to the journalists
responsible and "deplores the fact they
chose to omit much of the information
provided to them in search of a head-
"On the basis of these results [the
story] is completely baseless," ACM
Young Diggers president John Jarrett
was quoted widely throughout the arti-
cle syndicated in News Limited papers.
The ADF has invited Mr Jarrett
to provide details of soldiers alleged-
ly experiencing difficulties to enable
Defence to provide help as its funda-
mental duty of care.
To date, Mr Jarrett has refused to
More than 35,000 tests have
been conducted on ADF members in
Australia and overseas on operations,
under the drug-testing program between
June 16, 2005, and August 31, 2009.
A recent review increased the testing
rate from 10 per cent to 25 per cent and
100 per cent of initial trainees.
This is similar to other Western
The average rate of positive results
has been 1.54 per cent. That has
dropped to 0.98 per cent during this
Director General Public Affairs
BRIG Brian Dawson highlighted the
2007 National Drug Strategy Household
Survey, where the Australian Institute
of Health reported 13.4 per cent of the
Australian population had used an illicit
drug in the previous 12 months.
In a formal response to newspa-
pers that published the article, BRIG
Dawson said Defence had forwarded
the correct and up-to-date statistics that
had been requested.
He said no evidence suggested mul-
tiple deployments might contribute
to drug use on Australian bases and
preventive measures were in place to
reduce the likelihood of an ADF mem-
ber using illicit drugs.
"The Department of Defence
deplores the selective use of facts, use
of uncorroborated sources and poor
journalistic standards demonstrated by
this article," BRIG Dawson said.
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