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Australian Defence Force
PROMOTING MILITARY JUSTICE
December 10, 2009
AN OPENING prayer
and blessing of the
ship, a parade by
the ship's company
and the signing of an
official Certificate of
the finished refit of
FSS Micronesia on
The certificate is the
latest issued in a series
Pacific Patrol Boat
Twenty two of the
31.5 metre PPBs, spon-
sored and funded by
Policy Division, were
built to commercial
standard and gifted
to 12 Pacific nations
between 1987 and 1997.
Each PPB will
undergo a six-month life
extension refit that will
see the repair and refur-
bishment of key systems
to allow a further 15
years operation, bring-
ing the total operational
life of the boats to 30
By SGT Andrew Hetherington
MORE than 300 current and ex-
Serving ADF personnel who deployed
on Operation Catalyst celebrated the
end of the operation by participat-
ing in a welcome home parade on
Led by Australia's Federation Guard
(AFG), the tri-Service formed body
made its way along Anzac Parade to
the Australian War Memorial (AWM)
Waiting for them were applauding
family and friends who thanked them
for their service.
Dignitaries in attendance included
the Governor General Quentin Bryce,
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Chief
of the Defence Force ACM Angus
Houston and the three Service Chiefs.
More than 17,300 person-
nel deployed on Operation Catalyst
between July 16, 2003 and July 31,
In his speech Prime Minister
Rudd commended ADF personnel for
their service to the operation and to
"Wherever you serve, my experi-
ence is that other nations always want
more of you," Mr Rudd said.
"Whether in headquarters functions
or in the field you are professional,
superbly trained, know your craft, are
practical, adaptable, approachable and
sensitive to the cultures of the local
people. You are, in short, great ambas-
sadors for Australia."
ACM Houston paid tribute to the
three men who died during their serv-
ice in Iraq.
"Very sadly, three Australians never
came home from their military service
in Iraq," ACM Houston said.
"Today I honour the service of
WO2 David Nary from the Special
Air Service Regiment and PTE Jacob
Kovco from the 3rd Batallion of the
Royal Australian Regiment.
"I also wish to mention FLTLT Paul
Pardoel, a graduate of the Australian
Sailors turn out for Op Catalyst march
Defence Force Academy, who was
killed in Iraq while serving with the
Royal Air Force."
ACM Houston also said we should
remember the ADF personnel who
were wounded during their service.
"There were 27 ADF men and
women who were wounded during this
operation. Some made full recoveries.
Others will never fully recover," he
said.LS Michaela Brown, who partici-
pated in the parade, served in HMAS
Parramatta as an AB Steward between
October 2005 and April 2006.
As part of her duties she was bow-
man for ship boarding teams and par-
ticipated in general ship evolutions.
"We did more than 1000 boat oper-
ations, meals on keels (food transfers
to Americans on the oil platforms),
aided medical assistance to locals and
worked alongside other boarding teams
from Britain and the US," LS Brown
said.She reflected fondly on her time
serving in Parramatta during the opera-
"Looking back on it now I realise
it was the chance of a lifetime to be
part of something of the enormity of
Operation Catalyst," she said.
"I was part of an awesome crew;
the camaraderie and friendships were
something I have never experienced
before and to this day still exist."
Her time serving on Operation
Catalyst also showed her how lucky
she was to live in Australia.
"I was shocked to see how basic
things like the common cold affected
people, as well as some of the condi-
tions they lived in -- it made me grate-
ful for the conditions we have here in
She said she felt a great sense of
pride to march in the parade.
have been home for almost two and
a half years; I guess you could say it
brought back some memories as well
as some familiar faces."
After the parade participants and
their families were treated to an after-
noon tea provided by the AWM and
entertainment provided by the AFG's
Precision Drill Team.
WELCOME HOME: More
than 300 current and former
ADF veterans took part in a
parade at the Australian War
Memorial in Canberra to mark
the end of Op Catalyst.
Photo: LAC Aaron Curran
PROUD: LS Michaela Brown
served in HMAS Parramatta
on Op Catalyst and marched
in the recent parade at the
Australian War Memorial.
Photo: SGT Andrew Hetherington
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