Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bidding Farewell to their Comrade......

I was acutely reminded recently of our task here in Afghanistan which is not merely about building works but more about supporting the Military Effort here in Tarin Kowt, their main focus here is on supporting the local communities to rebuild, mentoring them, making their communities safe.

Brave men and women from Australia, United States, Slovakia, Singapore and of course Afghanistan are out here each day carrying out their duties and helping to rebuild this "failed" state so to speak and it may take many years to accomplish this. They are involved in all sorts of projects from re-building schools to mentoring the emerging Afghan Police and Army and risk their lives each day outside the security of the Forward Operating Base here at Camp Holland.

A reminder of this risk was brought home recently when I attended a Military Ramp Ceremony for a Fallen Soldier. This is a formal Military Ceremony where the fallen soldier is given a "send-off" by not only his own comrades but also by the memebrs of the other Coalition Forces here at Tarin Kowt.

A Formal event was held at the Gym here, at which speeches were made the soldier's colleagues and from here, a lone piper marched in front of an armoured vehicle bearing his remains which was flanked on either side by practically every soldier on the base all the way to the waiting C-130 Military aircraft which would bring him on his last journey from his Military Family home to his Grieving Family.

It was of course a sad event to attend and a reminder of what these young men and women risk each day over here but it was also a great privilige to be there and witness these men and women honouring their comrade in such a respectful way, and I felt honoured to stand there amoung them, pay my respect and to also watch as that plane rolled down the runway and carry him home, to the upright salutes of several hundred soldiers.

This assignment has given me an up close appreciation of how committed and hard working soldiers are when on tours of duty in foreign lands such as this, and I have a renewed and deep respect for them, well done to you all , I salute you...........