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September 2, 2010
By LEUT Kara Wansbury
ABIS Andrew Dakin kneels and ten-
derly brushes leaves from the grave of
photographer and war correspondent
Damien Parer, as his fellow Pacific
Partnership teammates wander down
the aisles between the headstones.
The emotion is obvious as ABIS
Dakin spends time at the grave, reflect-
ing on Parer's life and the award-win-
ning images he produced.
In Indonesia for Pacific Partnership
2010, ABIS Dakin and other members
of the Australian contingent were able
to visit the Commonwealth war graves
site to pay their respects to more than
1000 fallen Australians, including
The famed Australian World War
II photographer was killed in Palau by
Japanese gunfire and buried in Ambon
Cemetery, among the other fallen
Australians who died in campaigns in
the Pacific region.
It is his images though, epitomis-
ing the Australian spirit in battle, that
he is most remembered for, and the
very reason ABIS Dakin picked up a
"I became familiar with Parer's
work during military history lessons in
high school and visiting the Australian
War Memorial," ABIS Dakin said.
"But it wasn't until I joined Navy
that his images, along with other mili-
tary photographers, helped inspire me
to transfer to become an imagery spe-
The discovery of Parer's grave site
was a surprise to ABIS Dakin.
"It brought a lump to my throat vis-
iting Parer and all the Commonwealth
men interred at Ambon. I felt humbled
to have stepped on the ground where
so many Australian lives were lost, so
close to our home soil," ABIS Dakin
Parer was famous for his ability to
capture the true essence of battle and
the men who fought it. His footage of
Kokoda and movie entitled Kokoda's
Front Line earned an Oscar, and his
images have become iconic.
"Parer's everlasting images
of HMAS Sydney II sailors wav-
ing from a gaping hole of her fun-
nel after defeating the Italian Cruiser
Bartelemeo Colleoni in Cape Spada,
and the image of the caped soldier
crossing the stream in New Guinea are
two pictures I will never forget," ABIS
"There are many war photogra-
phers that have captured the essence
Sailor discovers his hero
of Australian sailors, soldiers and air-
men and women from the Great War
through to today's conflicts, like Sir
Hubert Wilkins, Frank Hurley and
"Like all military photographers
serving today, these men of the past
inspire us to capture and promote the
ADF with humility and resolve."
ABIS Dakin paid his final respects
to his fallen hero and did what he was
there to do -- capture the moments
that instil the pride of our country in
our sailors, soldiers and airmen and
INSPIRATIONAL: (Above) ABIS Andrew Dakin pays homage to war
photographer and cameraman, Damian Parer, where he is buried along-
side more than 1000 other Australians in the Ambon war cemetery,
Photo: CAPT Darryl Buchanan
GREAT MAN: (Top right) Photographer and war correspondent, Damien
ICONIC IMAGE: (Right) Parer's capture of HMAS Sydney II sailors wav-
ing from a hole in the ship's funnel after defeating Bartelemeo Colleoni
during World War II.
CDF returns to work
CHIEF of the Defence Force, ACM
Angus Houston, has returned to work
following a short period of leave to
receive medical treatment.
"I am pleased to be back at work fol-
lowing successful prostate surgery," ACM
"I would like to thank all those who
expressed their best wishes to me and my
family during this time. I am very grate-
ful for all the phone calls, cards, letters
and emails I have received wishing me a
"The surgery went very well and I am
pleased to be back in the office and resum-
ing my duties as CDF."
Albatross hosts 'chuting
THE skies over HMAS Albatross were
graced with a rare sight recently as a
RAAF C-17A Globemaster III turned
wide circles over the region.
The C-17 was supporting Army's
Parachute Training School (PTS) for
the first time, providing soldiers with
the opportunity to use the mighty
Globemaster for descents.
The entire cohort of course partici-
pants, as well as six staff and instruc-
tors, were able to be lifted at once.
This feat would normally take over 10
loads on a typical PTS support aircraft.
The use of a C-17 for the first
time on a full course at PTS demon-
strates the magnification of capability
achieved with tri-Service operations --
in this case utilising a RAN air station
to drop Army personnel from a RAAF
This is the culmination of a long
period of testing conducted on the
C-17 for its use in Australian para-
chute activities and marks a significant
step forward in the implementation of
this aircraft for current operations.
After what could be better
described as a splashdown than a
maiden landing due to wet weather,
course participants continued with
their training and subsequent qualify-
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