Australian Cricket Team visits ADF personnel at Al Minhad Air Base
10 September 2012
Australia’s Twenty20 Cricket Team has taken a break from their busy schedule in the United Arab Emirates to visit Australian Defence Force personnel at Al Minhad Air Base near Dubai.
Sixteen players, including Captain George Bailey and Vice Captain Shane Watson, paid their respects to the five fallen diggers who lost their lives in recent weeks and laid a wreath in tribute to the 38 brave men who have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan.
“It gives us great perspective to be here at a time like this. It’s a really sobering experience and the respect that we have for the soldiers, sailors and airmen and everything they’re doing was really brought home, so we really appreciated having the opportunity to express our condolences,” George Bailey said.
Commanding Officer of Force Support Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip McMaster said it was a humbling experience to have the team visit the base to show their support to Joint Task Force 633.
“On behalf of the Joint Task Force 633 personnel, we’ve been incredibly privileged that an elite sporting team would take the time out of their hectic timetable to visit us,” Lieutenant Colonel McMaster said.
“Everyone was absolutely rapt and if they had their way they wouldn’t have let them go until midnight.”
The cricketers were given an insight in to the lives of our Defence personnel by participating in medical and counter explosive device training and donning body armour worn by Australian Defence Force personnel.
“The Australian Twenty20 Cricket Team has commented that the training at Al Minhad Air Base has provided them with an insight in to how we make decisions under pressure,” Lieutenant Colonel McMaster said.
After a tour of the Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and the AP-3C Orion aircraft, the team enjoyed a friendly game of cricket and a barbecue with the staff at Al Minhad Air Base before presenting a number of signed bats in recognition of the contribution and sacrifice made by the soldiers who lost their lives.
“A message of support for our troops and some of the bats that have been signed by the team today will be taken forward in toAfghanistanand presented to the 3 RAR Task Group and the Special Operations Task Group as a memorial,” Lieutenant Colonel McMaster said.
Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130925
Video footage has been fed to the television networks at the Canberra Press Gallery at Parliament House
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