Tarin Kot Ramp Ceremony for Five Fallen Australian Soldiers
2 September 2012
Five Australian soldiers killed on operations this week, are on their way home after being farewelled by their comrades in Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.
The moving ceremony was also attended by senior Australian Defence Force, ISAF and Afghan National Security Force Commanders.
Lance Corporal Stjepan ‘Rick’ Milosevic, Sapper James Martin and Private Robert Poate from the 3 RAR Task Group were killed and two of their comrades wounded following an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan on the evening of 29 August 2012.
In a separate and unrelated incident, Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher from the Special Operations Task Group died when an ISAF helicopter crashed in Helmand Province in the early hours of 30 August 2012.
The poignant refrain of a lone piper playing a lament for the fallen set the solemn tone as many of those assembled were moved to tears.
At the ceremony, commanders paid homage and soldiers remembered fallen mates with heartfelt words.
Paying his respects, Commanding Officer of 3 RAR Task Group, Lieutenant Colonel Trent Scott reached out to family and friends in their time of loss.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, loved ones and mates of these three professional and committed soldiers who tragically died doing the job that they loved,” Lieutenant Colonel Scott said.
“We will honour our fallen mates through quiet professionalism and commitment to our mission here in Afghanistan and we will mourn them in the traditional Australian way when we get home,” he said.
Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Task Group, Lieutenant Colonel I, praised his fallen.
“For these men, their contribution will live on in the memory of our lives, their spirit and achievements always in our hearts and minds.”
“Tell others - tell them what these men did. History will not remember what we say here today. History will remember however, what these men did.”
Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, Major General Stuart Smith said the loss was deeply felt by all ranks in theatre.
“Today we farewelled our five brave soldiers who were killed in action while conducting security operations in Afghanistan,” Major General Smith said.
“This ramp ceremony has been our dignified salute to their service,” he said.
“We grieve as a Defence family, but we now place aside our pain to offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of each of these men.”
Australian soldiers and their coalition partners lined the route and saluted as a slow moving convoy of five Long Range Patrol Vehicles carried the soldiers to the Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules for their final journey home.
Imagery is available at the following link: http://images.defence.gov.au/12130839
Vision will be fed to the Parliament House Press Gallery shortly.
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999