Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon today attended a memorial service in Darwin for two 1st Brigade soldiers killed in action while serving in Afghanistan with Mentoring Task Force – Two (MTF-2).
The Minister joined the Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison and soldiers and their families from the 1st Brigade at Robertson Barracks to remember the lives of Corporal Richard Atkinson and Sapper Jamie Larcombe who were killed in action this year.
Members of the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment paid tribute to Corporal Atkinson and Sapper Larcombe before dedicating their names on the unit memorial wall, alongside others from the unit who made the ultimate sacrifice in past wars.
Mr Snowdon offered his deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Corporal Atkinson and Sapper Larcombe.
“I say to them, the sacrifice of these outstanding young men and their death has not been in vain and will never be forgotten.
“I know that those who wear the uniform sacrifice a great deal for us. I know that their families sacrifice for us as well.
“We owe them a debt than can never be repaid,” he said.
The memorial service was an important occasion for those soldiers who were unable to say goodbye to their mates in a formal setting while still on active duty in Afghanistan.
Mr Snowdon said the memorial gave soldiers from MTF-2 an opportunity to share the occasion with their friends’ families for the first time since returning home.
“Services like this allow us to pause and reflect on all 29 Australian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan and remember that families, their comrades and friends all around Australia continue to feel the pain of their loss.”
Mr Snowdon said the Government would also like to thank the 1500 1st Brigade soldiers who recently returned from operations in Afghanistan, East Timor and Iraq.
“The City of Darwin is putting on a Welcome Home Parade tomorrow for these soldiers, which will be a wonderful recognition of their service to the nation. I encourage all in the Top End to get into the city to support this very important event,” Mr Snowdon said.
Alice Plate: Minister Snowdon: 02 6277 7820 or 0400 045 999
Major Haydn Barlow, Defence Public Affairs Officer, 08 8925 2019 or 0427 316 679
Imagery is available on request by calling Major Barlow.