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RESPECT -- EXCELLENCE -- AGILITY -- DEDICATION -- INTEGRITY -- TEAMWORK
Living the Air Force Values:
August 15, 2013
Reflections of a modern war
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
THE Australian War Memorial
(AWM) has revealed its latest trib-
ute to ADF personnel who served in
Afghanistan and the Middle East Area
of Operations (MEAO).
The exhibition, Afghanistan:
The Australian Story, was officially
opened by CDF GEN David Hurley on
GEN Hurley said the exhibition
told the stories of ADF personnel
through their own eyes and in their
"It captures all aspects of
Australia's Afghanistan campaign --
the equipment and the evolution of our
tasks; the humour and sadness; and,
most importantly, our people and their
families," GEN Hurley said.
The idea for the exhibition and its
name came from AWM Director Dr
In October last year, just after it
was announced he would become
Director, Dr Nelson was visit-
ing Afghanistan as the Australian
Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg,
the European Union and NATO.
"During my visit a soldier said
to me, 'I go to the Memorial quite a
him what his great-grandfather and
grandfather did in the wars, but I can't
show him what I'm doing here in
Afghanistan'," Dr Nelson said.
"When I started my job in
December last year I went for a walk
around to see what we had on display
Dr Nelson was not impressed with
what he saw.
"I couldn't believe it and I then
decided we were going to tell the story
There were two main reasons for
the immediacy of putting together an
exhibition on Australia's longest con-
flict at such short notice.
"We wanted to educate Australians
on what has been done there and to
understand the price that has been paid
by ADF personnel," Dr Nelson said.
"The second reason was to allow
the soldier I spoke to in Afghanistan
and others to bring their children here
and show them what they have done
working in the MEAO."
The exhibition will stay in its cur-
rent location in the AWM for up to
five years and it will likely move to a
larger memorial space as more arte-
facts become available.
CPL Nick Wiseman
"AN EMOTIONAL rollercoaster"
was how Air Force Personnel
Branch Chief of Staff GPCAPT
Margot Forster described the
new Afghanistan exhibit at the
Australian War Memorial.
GPCAPT Forster commanded
the Combat Support Unit in Al
Minhad Air Base in the UAE, which
provided support to personnel who
deployed forward into Afghanistan.
Her responsibilities ranged from
airfield management to ensuring
personnel got three square meals a
day while deployed, which she said
was an amazing privilege.
"This exhibit means a lot to me
because I can bring my children
here and they can get a sense of
what it was that took mum away,"
"It's also important as we've
been in that theatre for more than
10 years and this is now the chance
GPCAPT Margot Forster at the
opening of the Afghanistan:
The Australian Story exhibition
at the AWM in Canberra.
Photo: CPL Nick Wiseman
LEUT Peter Croce
DEFENCE personnel have defied
the heat and humidity to rap-
idly complete tasks assisting the
Department of Immigration and
Citizenship (DIAC) on Manus
Island, Papua New Guinea.
About 60 ADF personnel
assigned to Joint Task Force (JTF)
638 have been deployed or have
directly supported Operation
Landscape after an announcement
by the Australian Government on
July 19 to increase the capacity
of accommodation facilities on
Commander JTF 638 WGCDR
Kirrily Dearing said the operation
initially utilised specialist logistic,
survey and engineering personnel
from Air Force and Army.
"What we have seen so far is
our ability to stand up a very pro-
fessional and capable response to
important tasks at very short notice
to a distant location," WGCDR
"The personnel were predomi-
nantly Air Force and Army logisti-
cians, engineers and surveyors
undertaking detailed survey and
remediation of sites for construc-
tion of living and working accom-
modation by DIAC contractors.
"Air Force personnel were
mainly from 1 Airfield Operations
Support Squadron (1AOSS) in
Townsville and 381 Expeditionary
Combat Support Squadron
(381ECSS) at Newcastle and
other support capabilities, while
the Army personnel were from 6
WGCDR Dearing said Air
Force had moved more than 104
tonnes of cargo into PNG with
C-130J and King Air aircraft mov-
ing 49.5 tonnes of cargo directly
into Manus Island since the first of
five flights on July 22.
"Our main works focused on
the Manus Island site with trade
and survey tasks, however, other
personnel were used for the logis-
tics task at Port Moresby airport
and other jobs," she said.
"At one stage we had 49 per-
sonnel deployed to PNG working
in quite arduous conditions."
HMAS Choules is also provid-
ing support and will provide afloat
accommodation, ship-shore trans-
port capability, along with logistic
and general operational support.
Defence will not be responsible
for managing or providing security
to the DIAC facilities.
CPL Max Bree
FROM Australia's east coast all the
way to Hawaii, Air Force personnel
helped make Exercise Talisman Saber
13 (TS13) a reality from July 15 until
Two RAAF C-17As and two
C-130Js flew in supplies and person-
nel to the Shoalwater Bay Training
Area (SBTA) while Super Hornets
from 1SQN fought in the air war and
dropped live bombs on Townshend
Island during the last part of the exer-
cise.Hornet simulated attacks on
HMAS Perth also tested the ship's
new combat systems and sensors.
RAAF and US Air Force offic-
ers coordinated the air war from a
US control centre in Hawaii and the
two air forces jointly ran Williamson
Airfield, an air-head in the SBTA.
Director General of Air at HQ Joint
Operations Command, AIRCDRE
Gavin Turnbull, said years of training
made working with US forces easy.
"Air Force personnel integrated
almost seamlessly with our US allies,"
AIRCDRE Turnbull said.
"Many years of exercising in com-
plex scenarios mean we understand
each other and can reach a high opera-
tional tempo efficiently. As usual, we
were welcomed and appreciated."
Though the US does things on a
larger scale, AIRCDRE Turnbull said
Job well done on TS13
RAAF personnel working alongside
were able to adapt.
"The US does many things differ-
ently but achieves the same outcome,"
"We use the opportunity to both
learn and educate. What works for us
will often not work on the scale exer-
cised by the US; we have to adapt to
our size and capacity restrictions.
"It wasn't hard to adapt to working
with the US. We have been doing it
on real-time operations for a number
of years and we are pretty used to the
way they work."
With the large number of airmen
MILESTONE: FSGT Craig Stowart-Hunter, a C-17A loadmaster,
watches as a training bundle is dropped during the first ever
interoperability mission with US Air Force C-17As.
Photo: US SSGT Zachary Wolf
working on TS13 it was difficult to
for AIRCDRE Turnbull to name a
"I won't single out specific units
as our participation was drawn from
many units across Air Force," he
said. "I was happy with the perfor-
mance from all members deployed
"The RAAF performed excep-
tionally well. Of course there are
always areas to improve and to
tighten procedures, but this is why
we exercise -- to identify areas that
AIRCDRE Turnbull said RAAF
personnel mostly learned new things
during the exercise.
"Refreshingly, not many old les-
sons were re-learned," he said. "Key
to any activity was and remains
communications architecture, a les-
son again highlighted in TS13. We
have identified lessons across most
areas, but none that would constitute
a major deficiency."
About 28,000 Australian and
US personnel were involved in the
bilateral exercise aimed at improv-
ing combat readiness and the abil-
ity of the different forces to operate
Turn to the centre for a special eight-
page liftout on TS13.
to give people a real sense of
what we're doing over there."
GPCAPT Forster said the
exhibit brought back the sense
of trepidation, a little fear and
excitement from her deployment.
"The photos of the ramp
ceremonies really grabbed me as
I remembered those emotions,"
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