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July 8, 2010
SIX new national delegates
have been appointed to Defence
Families of Australia (DFA) to
represent the views of Defence
Veterans' Affairs and Defence
Personnel Minister Alan Griffin
presented the certificates of
appointment at the DFA National
Conference dinner at RMC,
Duntroon, on June 24.
He congratulated the delegates
on their appointments and acknowl-
edged the important role the volun-
teers of DFA would play in repre-
senting Defence families.
"The Government greatly val-
ues the views and contributions of
DFA members. Their input is heard
and their opinions are valued," Mr
"Through DFA, Defence gets a
clear picture of the issues affecting
the families of our serving person-
nel and possible options for resolv-
ing these issues.
"Consultative groups such
as this are essential in ensuring
Defence has a broad range of infor-
mation available when making poli-
"The nature of work undertaken
by ADF personnel can present chal-
lenges to both the serving member
and their family and it is important
that Defence works to provide the
necessary support and assistance to
members and their families."
The dinner at RMC marked the
end of a week-long national con-
ference, during which delegates
met with Defence representatives
to share information about matters
In August, DFA will release a
comprehensive policy paper out-
lining the key issues discussed and
recommendations for new initiatives
to be implemented in the coming
year. The paper will be released on
DFA is an independent, vol-
unteer-based organisation formed
in 1986 to officially represent
the views of ADF families to the
Government and the Defence senior
The new DFA national delegates
Annaliese McCammon -- Policy
Amita Tandukar -- Comms
Keron Wise -- ACT/SNSW
Dannii Khan -- North Qld
Jillian Macey -- South Qld
Marion Donohue -- NT/
HERE TO HELP: Defence Families Australia executives at the organisation's annual conference dinner.
Photo: Mark Brennan
Sad farewell for commandos
THE dangers faced daily by ADF per-
sonnel in an operational environment
were graphically reinforced on June
21 when three Australian soldiers were
killed and seven wounded in an incident
PTEs Tim Aplin, Ben Chuck and
Scott Palmer from the Sydney-based 2nd
Commando Regiment were killed in a
helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan
on the morning of June 21.
One aircrew of the ISAF helicopter
was also killed.
Seven Australian soldiers, three air-
crew and an interpreter were wounded.
The Australians suffered fractures, lacera-
tions, crush injuries and a head injury.
CDF ACM Angus Houston said
the three soldiers killed were from the
Special Operations Task Group and
extended his sympathies to their families
on behalf of the ADF.
"The families of these soldiers can
be extremely proud of their loved ones.
These three individuals were members
of a very impressive group of soldiers
who were highly skilled and highly moti-
vated," ACM Houston said.
"The soldiers were very experienced.
Time after time they have taken the fight
to the enemy with courage and determi-
"I have nothing but admiration
for these very brave and committed
Australians. They were some of our fin-
est."He said the cause of the helicopter
crash would be investigated, however, it
appeared not to be the result of enemy
All the wounded personnel were evac-
uated from the incident site and were
initially treated at the Kandahar Role III
Medical Facility where six of the seven
Australians underwent surgery.
By June 23, all seven had been trans-
ported to the Landstuhl Regional Medical
Centre in Germany for further treat-
ment while their eventual repatriation to
Australia was considered.
On June 24, PTEs Aplin, Chuck and
Palmer were farewelled in a ceremony as
Australian, Afghan and ISAF personnel
paid their final respects to them at Tarin
Following a memorial service at the
base, their Australian Flag-draped caskets
were carried on vehicles in a sad proces-
sion flanked by Australian and coalition
soldiers to a waiting 37 Squadron C-130J
and, following the traditional ramp cere-
mony, flown to the Al Minhad Air Base in
the UAE where more Australian soldiers
mounted a guard overnight.
On June 26, Australian Servicemen
and women at the Australian Support
Base held a memorial service for the
three men before they began the final leg
of their journey home to Australia.
Subsequently, a 36 Squadron C-17
departed Al Minhad and, on the morning
of June 26, touched down at RAAF Base
Richmond in Sydney. There, with another
Ramp Ceremony, members of 2 Cdo Regt
PTE Scott Palmer
PTE Tim Aplin
PTE Ben Chuck
formed an honour guard and bearer
party to receive and carry the three
caskets from the aircraft to the men's
Defence Minister John Faulkner,
ACM Houston, Chief of Army
LTGEN Ken Gillespie and Special
Operations Commander Australia
MAJGEN Tim McOwan attended
the Ramp Ceremony.
Sixteen soldiers have been killed
and more than 120 wounded since
operations in Afghanistan began in
PTE Chuck's funeral was held
on July 1 and, at the time of going to
print, the others were scheduled for
July 5 and 10.
PTE Palmer joined the
Army in 2001. He success-
fully undertook Commando
selection and training in
2006 and joined the then-4th
Battalion, Royal Australian
Regiment (Commando) -- now
2nd Commando Regiment.
This was his third tour to
PTE Chuck joined the Army
in 2004 as part of the Special
Forces Direct Recruiting
Scheme. On completion of
his Commando selection
and training he was posted
to the then-4th Battalion,
Royal Australian Regiment
(Commando). This was his
third tour to Afghanistan.
PTE Aplin joined the Army
Reserve in 1992, transferring
to the Regular Army in 1995,
reaching the rank of Sergeant.
He successfully completed
Commando selection and
training in 2008 and was
posted to the then-4th Battalion,
Royal Australian Regiment
(Commando). This was his sec-
ond tour to Afghanistan.
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