Festive cheer but duty calls for deployed ADF personnel
24 December 2013
While many more Australian Defence Force (ADF) members will be able to share Christmas with family and friends in Australia this year, around 2200 ADF personnel remain deployed on operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Egypt, South Sudan and on border protection operations to Australia's north.
Commander of Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant General Ash Power, said despite the end of Australia's mission in Uruzgan province, approximately 1300 ADF personnel continue to serve in the Middle East. Around 500 remain in Afghanistan contributing to national programs that are supporting the Afghan National Security Forces including training and military advisers.
“This will be the first Christmas in a long time that we have no ADF personnel in Uruzgan, but it is important to remember that ADF personnel will still be spending Christmas in Afghanistan, across the Middle East and in the oceans of that region and in the waters north of Australia,” Lieutenant General Power said.
“Our operations and our commitments in the Middle East continue, but wherever possible our people will pause and celebrate Christmas, enjoy a traditional meal and ring home to catch up with their families.”
Duty calls, even on Christmas Day, but for many deployed personnel there will be time for some festive cheer with Christmas lunch, carols, cricket and gifts added to the daily routine.
Commander Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East and Afghanistan, Major General Craig Orme and other senior officers will spend Christmas Day visiting troops in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“Christmas on operations is a hard time – the work continues and the absence from family and friends is reinforced. But our personnel deployed across the Middle East Area of Operations, will make time to mark the occasion with their deployed family,” Major General Orme said.
“On behalf of all members of Joint Task Force 633, I would like to take this opportunity to wish our family and friends at home the best of the season and thank them for their ongoing support, without which our jobs would be so much harder,” he said.
At approximately 10:00am tomorrow (Thursday, 26 December 2013) broadcast quality video will be fed to the Press Gallery at Parliament House, Canberra. Regional television networks can obtain footage from their national affiliates.
When available stills images will be available through the Defence Image Library at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132644
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999