World War II veterans visit ADF troops in UAE
26 October 2012
Australian World War II veterans have spent time with ADF troops deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) at Al Minhad Air Base on 22 October 2012.
The veterans were on their way back to Australia following commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the North Africa Campaigns and the Battle of El Alamein, Egypt.
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Michael Crane DSC, AM, thanked the veterans for spending time with the ADF personnel.
"Today’s Defence Force owes a great deal to these veterans for their honour, courage and sacrifice in helping to defend the principles we hold so dear.
“It is a privilege for all Australian Defence Force personnel serving at Al Minhad Air Base to meet some of Australia’s finest soldiers,” Major General Crane said.
The El Alamein veterans toured the base and got a chance to see what Australia’s fighting soldiers look like in 2012 and joined with ADF personnel in a short informal commemorative service at the Joint Task Force 633 Memorial.
Each veteran laid a poppy to remember all those young men who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and the MEAO, especially CPL Smith who was killed in action just 24 hours before the veterans visited the base.
The veterans were then special guests at lunch where they swapped stories with their modern day counterparts.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Repatriation Commissioner, Major General Mark Kelly AO, DSC, said spending time with these famous veterans was something all Task Force members would remember.
“Each serving member can take great pride in knowing they follow in the footsteps of these intrepid men and are upholding the Australian values these men fought so valiantly for 70 years ago,” Major General Kelly said.
“Spending time with the men and women of Joint Task Force 633 was a highlight for all the veterans and certainly one of the highlights of the commemorative mission.”
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12131490
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999