Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert has paid tribute to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force during a visit to the Middle East region on the 100th anniversary of Anzac.
“It is always a privilege to spend time with Australian military personnel on operations, and even more so on this solemn occasion as we mark the 100th anniversary of Anzac,” Mr Robert said.
“To stand with Australia’s deployed men and women in the cold pre-dawn air, remembering the original Anzacs who landed at Gallipoli 100 years earlier, was a truly moving experience.
“As we paid our respects to the more than 102,000 Australians who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country, it was clear their legacy lived on in the deeds of our current soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, who continue to shape our national character.”
Mr Robert observed the Dawn Service in Baghdad with Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) personnel deployed as part of Operation OKRA, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the international effort to combat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq.
Mr Robert then joined SOTG personnel for an Anzac Day breakfast before departing for meetings with Defence and Embassy staff to discuss Australia’s contribution in Iraq.
Members of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East region were later joined by Mr Robert to observe a sunset service in memory of those who have fallen in Australia’s recent military campaigns.
“This year’s Anzac Day commemorations are about honouring our past but they are also a testament to our present and our future,” Mr Robert said.
“We as a nation should be very proud of the contribution our Defence Force is making in the region and I thank all those families and loved ones in Australia for the support you provide our serving personnel.
“The Anzac spirit is just as evident today as it was 100 years ago on the beaches of Gallipoli, in the way our Defence Force works together with our coalition partners, works as a team to complete its mission.”
Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20151142 and vision will be fed to the Parliament House Gallery.
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s office) 0477 391 174
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999