Home' Air Force News : November 10th 2011 Contents 2
November 10, 2011
AN EMOTIONAL farewell from Tarin
Kot marked the beginning of the jour-
ney home for three Australian soldiers
killed in Afghanistan on October 29.
Australian, coalition and Afghan
personnel lined the route to a waiting
C-130 for CAPT Bryce Duffy, CPL
Ashley Birt and LCPL Luke Gavin on
The soldiers were killed by a rogue
Afghan National Army (ANA) member
at Forward Operating Base Pacemaker
after a routine weekly parade.
Seven other Australian soldiers
were wounded in the incident when
the ANA member opened fire with an
An Afghan interpreter was killed
and an ANA soldier and several
other contracted interpreters were
struck by gunfire before Australian
soldiers were able to respond and
shoot the gunman.
The Commander of ADF per-
sonnel deployed to the Middle East,
MAJGEN Angus Campbell, said the
Army had lost three courageous and
brave soldiers who had served with
"CAPT Duffy, CPL Birt and LCPL
Gavin were held in high regard by
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LEUT Peter Croce
OUTGOING Deputy Commander Joint
Task Force (DCJTF) 633 AIRCDRE
John Oddie is impressed by the resil-
ience, professionalism and capability
of the Australian armed forces on Op-
He said 2011 was a tough fight-
ing season where the ADF's contribu-
tion to ISAF won substantial ground
against the insurgency and improved
opportunities for security in the region.
"The quality of our people, wheth-
er it was Mentoring Task Force and
Special Operations Task Group secur-
ing Uruzgan and mentoring the Afghan
National Army or the many soldiers,
sailors and airmen who contributed
throughout the theatre in all sorts of
ways, was of an incredibly high stand-
ard," AIRCDRE Oddie said, reflecting
on the past eight months.
"What stands out for me is the cul-
ture of the JTF. There no was no par-
ticular focus of the brand on the uni-
form but more the highly capable peo-
ple wearing it and what they brought
to the team. The JTF is a true team."
He praised the resilience of
Australian personnel deployed and
said it was a very special trait being
able to handle tough moments, being
away from family and still doing the
job to such an expert level.
AIRCDRE Oddie said he would
look back on his deployment to the
MEAO as a satisfying "book end" to
a long RAAF career that first saw him
deploy to the Middle East in the Sinai
in 1982 and as a Chinook pilot on
exchange with the RAF during the first
Gulf War in 1991.
Commander Joint Task Force 633
MAJGEN Angus Campbell praised
the efforts of AIRCDRE Oddie whom
he described as a committed, loyal,
dedicated and trustworthy cornerstone
After a busy eight months, AIRCDRE Oddie leaves Middle East full of praise
their mates and their commanders,"
MAJGEN Campbell said. "Their loss
has deeply affected all Australian
and coalition personnel serving in
Afghanistan and the Middle East.
"In true Anzac spirit they gave
their all because they believed
they were making a difference for
the people of Afghanistan -- their
sacrifice will inspire us as we go
about our crucial mission here in
Members of Combined Team --
Uruzgan (CTU), Mentoring Task
Force 3 (MTF 3) and their Afghan
and coalition partners paid their final
respects at the emotional ceremony
at Multinational Base Tarin Kot.
Officers and soldiers of CTU and
MTF 3 reflected on the three soldiers,
their careers, achievements and the
personal qualities for which they will
be remembered by their fellow sol-
diers, families and mates.
After the ceremony, Australian,
Afghan and International Security
Assistance Force personnel lined the
road from the memorial service to the
37SQN C-130. They saluted as the
procession of three Australian flag-
draped caskets moved through their
ranks, paying their final respects to
The procession signalled the depar-
ture from Afghanistan for the soldiers
and the commencement of their jour-
ney home to loved ones.
Deputy Commander CTU COL
Dave Smith said the men had lost their
lives in the service of their nation and
they would never be forgotten.
"The best way we can honour their
sacrifice is to redouble our efforts,
because that is what they deserve,"
COL Smith said.
SAD JOURNEY BEGINS: Bearer parties carry the caskets of their fallen comrades up the ramp of the 37SQN C-130 to start their journey home to Australia. Inset, from left, CAPT
Bryce Duffy, CPL Ashley Birt and LCPL Luke Gavin.
Main photo: AB Jo Dilorenzo
Fond farewell to
three mates SEVEN soldiers wounded in
the shooting were transferred
to Landstuhl Regional Medical
Centre in Germany on
November 1. The soldier with
the most significant wounds
was reassessed as having
improved from life-threatening
wounds to "serious condition"
after care from specialists at
the Bagram Medical Facility. A
psychologist went to Germany
to assist the wounded as they
continue medical treatment.
Additional psychologists have
been deployed to Afghanistan
to assist in critical incident
counselling and support.
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