RSL donates musical instruments to ADF troops in the Middle East
19 October 2015
The RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund (AFOF) donated more than $9000 worth of instruments and equipment for lovers of music deployed to the Middle East Region.
Guitars, cymbals, microphones and a new mixer were just some of the items flown from Australia to the main support base and delivered to ecstatic musicians on October 1st.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Robinson, the Commanding Officer for Forces Entertainment, is closely involved with the RSL AFOF system.
He said he happily helped prepare the packages and assisted with the purchase of the welfare items for deployed personnel.
"When I visited the base last year I found a group of guys with basic instruments and band equipment," he said.
"They asked if they could get some more, and I was given a list which I took to the RSL who were happy to help.
Lieutenant Colonel Robinson said music is a powerful tool for the sustainment of moral among deployed troops.
"The entertainment I deliver with Australian musicians and comedians is well received and is part of a force enabler through morale and welfare," he said.
"However, Forces Entertainment Tours only occur periodically.
"The donated equipment allows those soldiers, sailors and airmen who have an interest in music to unwind and briefly escape the hardships of their deployment by playing with good equipment in a dedicated band rehearsal room.
"It's even allowed the troops to form their own bands and play gigs for Australian, British, New Zealand and US troops."
Brigadier Nagy Sorial, Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 633, said the impact of the musical equipment for the people on the base was significant.
"Not only does it allow for bands to be formed, we also have some very talented individuals who come through here on a regular basis," he said.
"For the guys who already know how to play music it allows them to provide entertainment for their mates and for others it is an opportunity to learn an instrument, which is a great way to use their down-time and gives them a break from their day-to-day work.
"The donation is a magnificent display of generosity from the RSL AFOF and adds to the more than $400,000 worth of equipment that has been donated over the last few years by the organisation and their supporters."
The RSL AFOF provides care packages to Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police Personnel serving overseas.
The AFOF relies on volunteers including 39th Personnel Support Battalion, Directorate of Personnel Support Amenities, Department of Veterans' Affairs, NSW RSL State Branch, Malabar RSL Sub-Branch, RSL National Headquarters and the many friends of AFOF who assist in the preparation of packages.