Home' Navy News : November 25th 2010 Contents NAVY NEWS
November 25, 2010
By FLTLT Tiaan Wolzak
TRAINING in the confines of an
Australian Collins-class submarine
would not initially seem like ideal
preparation for working in an African
However, LEUT Alan Donovan, a
submariner from HMAS Stirling, is prov-
LEUT Donovan is currently deployed
to Sudan as part of Operation Azure -- the
Australian contribution towards the UN
Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
UNMIS was formed on March 24,
2005, after the Government of Sudan
and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement signed a Comprehensive
Peace Agreement to end a civil war that
lasted more than 20 years.
LEUT Donovan is one of six
Australians serving as United Nations
Military Observers, or UNMOs. They are
deployed to remote locations all across
Sudan to monitor the implementation of
the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
LEUT Donovan is based at the
Kurmuk team site in a village of south-
east Sudan, bordering Ethiopia.
Describing his home away from
home, LEUT Donovan said the living
conditions were austere.
"But there is a small international
community that is supportive and focused
on the mission," LEUT Donovan said.
A typical work day at the team site
involves planning, briefing and lead-
ing patrols within the Kurmuk area of
responsibility by foot, four-wheel-drive
or helicopter. Some patrols can span a
week and involve working with the local
military and civilian population to pro-
mote security and enduring peace.
There is always humanitarian work to
be done as well, such as assisting in the
repair of ageing infrastructure, ridding
communities of unexploded ordnance
and mines, or dealing with the constant
shortage of food, water, medical and edu-
The UNMOs' role is as much about
monitoring the military as it is about
Op Azure is the deployment of
ADF personnel to the United
Nations peacekeeping operation
in Sudan, known as the United
Nations Mission in Sudan.
This includes six military observ-
ers and 11 staff officers who spe-
cialise in air movements, logistic
and personnel support.
Submariner's African mission
creating a secure environment for
rebuilding peaceful communities.
One thing that stands out for
LEUT Donovan as a father of four is
the children of Southern Sudan.
"After nearly five years of peace
there are many young children in the
villages I visit," he says.
"Many have grown up without war
but all still suffer from the effects of a
nation trying to rebuild itself. Despite
this, they have the biggest smiles and
make every little effort worthwhile."
LEUT Donovan's Navy training
and experience has prepared him well
for the challenges he has faced on
"Having worked with military
members from many nations, I am in
absolutely no doubt that Australian
Servicemen and women are among
the most capable and best trained in
the world," he said.
"Serving in Sudan has been chal-
lenging, enlightening and rewarding.
"I am very much looking forward
to returning to my family in Australia
and, while I know I have made a posi-
tive contribution for peace in Sudan,
there is still much that needs to be
done to support the fragile peace that
Southern Sudan will hold a ref-
erendum in January 2011, voting on
whether to unify with Sudan or to sep-
arate and form Africa's newest nation.
"This will be a critical stage in
Sudan's history," LEUT Donovan
"I hope the world community will
increase its focus on the need to sup-
port Sudan and its people in building
a lasting peace."
TEAM EFFORT: LEUT Alan Dononvan, far right, with the other ADF military
observers serving on the UN mission.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: LEUT
Alan Donovan outside a village near
the Kurmuk team site, Sudan.
FAR FROM HOME:
LEUT Alan Donovan,
a submariner deployed
to Sudan on Operation
Azure, mixes with local
children in a village near
the Kurmuk team site.
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