Murwillumbah four meet on ops

With a population of about 8500, what are the odds that no less than four past Murwillumbah residents would find themselves deployed to the Middle East at the same time?

CAPTIONSergeant Ben Stuart, Warrant Officer Class Two Clinton Doedee, Corporal Tayla Kelly and Warrant Officer Class One Jason Hartley in the Middle East. 

And not only are they from the same little NSW town just south of the Queensland border, but three of them knew each other as children – and all four are deployed to Joint Task Force 633 at Australia’s main operating base for Operation Accordion.

Jason Hartley, 42, Clinton Doedee, 39, Ben Stuart, 35, and the youngest member of the group, 23-year-old Tayla Kelly, all grew up in the north-east NSW community, inland from Coolangatta.

Each has a different life story to tell but they started their careers with the same goal – to serve the nation.

In September 2016, Australian Army Warrant Officer Class One Jason Hartley deployed to the Middle East on Operation Accordion.

However, it was not until WO1 Hartley received a phone call from his mother Lynn, asking if he had seen Ben, that he realised two other Murwillumbah locals were in theatre.

“Mum called and said she had spoken to Ben’s dad and that Ben was over here on his deployment,” WO1 Hartley said.

“Ben and I caught up and discovered that Clinton and Tayla were here too.”

Coincidently, Army soldiers Warrant Officer Class Two Clinton Doedee and Corporal Tayla Kelly belong to the same unit in Australia – the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion in Darwin and have deployed with Force Support Element (FSE) Six.

Ben joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2007.

He is now a sergeant with No. 2 Security Force Squadron from Tindal and has deployed as part of the Air Force police element.

While WO1 Hartley is finishing his deployment with FSE5, Sergeant Ben Stuart, Corporal Tayla Kelly and WO2 Doedee are just starting out with FSE6.

Force Support Elements provide logistic and personnel support and in-theatre induction training for Australian Defence Force personnel in the Middle East region.

Some of their tasks include managing and distributing supplies and equipment necessary for the conduct of operations.

WO1 Hartley said he had fond memories of his mother working with WO2 Doedee’s mother as both were nurses at the local hospital on Ewing Street.

“We would often meet at hospital functions when we were just kids having fun,” WO1 Hartley said.

“I knew Ben through rugby, his dad was my coach.”

After discovering they were from the same location, the four caught up for a coffee.

“It was great catching up, we chatted for hours, reminiscing our childhood and catching up on all the gossip,” WO1 Hartley said.

“The four of us are planning on catching up at the surf festival next year.”

There are more than 1700 ADF personnel deployed to the Middle East region.












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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

4 thoughts on “Murwillumbah four meet on ops

  • 04/04/2017 at 11:31 pm

    It’s no secret all you do is copy and paste media releases from the Defence News room or the papers, but if you’re going to copy someone’s story and images, how about you take the time to get the byline off of the images, rather then putting your own name underneath them.

    • 05/04/2017 at 8:25 am

      Tell me who you are (instead of being an anonymous web-site troll – using the oh so clever and respectful email address and I’ll tell you exactly why I didn’t use a by-line on that photo – even after looking for one.
      You can stay anonymous and never know the real reason you didn’t get the byline – our you can tell me who you are and we can discuss it calmly and rationally.
      You might actually be surprised why I didn’t use your by-line.
      You might even be as pissed off as I am – at the right people.
      Or let me guess who you are….
      (thought you were clever using an anomalous email address – didn’t think I could see the IP address of the military server you were routed through:-)
      You are currently deployed in the Middle East
      You are probably the photographer who took the photo – or someone who works with him
      Gee, I guess that’s probably close enough, since there aren’t exactly that many of you over there, hey [real name used in email reply].
      Brian Hartigan
      Managing Editor
      Contact Publishing Pty Ltd

    • 05/04/2017 at 9:11 am

      Dear Disgraceful/ (I don’t like calling you these disrespectful names, but that’s what you chose to call yourself, so they will have to do).
      Here’s why you are wrong….
      re copy and pasting media releases from the Defence News room or the papers – wrong and wrong. I copy and paste press releases from the press release emails that Defence sends to my email inbox. I don’t have to assume because I know for a fact that since they are called press releases and since they are sent to the ‘press’ that Defence’s intent is that the ‘press’ publish them. And since so many clever people in Defence went to all the trouble of crafting those press releases, one would imagine that there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) too much reason to edit them. But of course there is – because the clever press release writers and all the clever press release clearance people who meddle with it along the way don’t pick up the myriad spelling, grammar, syntax and other errors that are common in these things – nor do they write in CONTACT’s ‘style’. So you are wrong as to where I copy and paste press releases from – and you are wrong in the implication that I just copy and paste without changing. In fact, even though I did actually copy and paste the story you are upset about from the place you suggest, I also went through that and edited it a fair bit too, if you were bothered to read it and compare (maybe you’d learn some proper English from the changes I made, like the incorrect use of the word ‘then’ (should be ‘than’) in your own email).
      Now, re the byline for the photo – perhaps you would care to explain to me where I might find the byline on this particular photo. Actually, before you do, perhaps you’d care to check how many other photos on the CONTACT web site have no by-lines. You won’t find many, because it is actually my policy to give them. So why didn’t I give a by-line in this instance? Here’s what I did in trying to find it… first, I clicked on the “Image Gallery” link beside the photo in the story. Oops! that didn’t work – Defence error, not CONTACT’s. Then I copied (so I got the spelling right) the word Murwillumbah from the story and went to the Defence Image Library and pasted Murwillumbah into the search bar – and, oops, the photo is not there either. Defence error, not CONTACT. Then I did a generic search for ‘middle east’ and scrolled through hundreds and hundreds of photos, in chronological order, all the way back to 1 January. Still couldn’t find it. Then I right-clicked on the badly pixellated photo in the story, saved it to my hard drive, opened it in Photoshop and checked ‘File Info’ – oops, not there either. Surely you would have to agree, I made every effort to find your by-line? Which, by the way, is not in the story either – nor is there a by-line for the author of the story. So tell me this – why does the photographer deserve a by-line but the story writer doesn’t? And here’s a similar question I keep asking myself and maybe you (being an expert on by-lines) can answer – why do Defence photographers get (and obviously demand and get precious about) by-lines, but videographers don’t. You see it’s my policy to give credit where it’s due, wherever and whenever I can – but Defence doesn’t supply by-lines for ‘homeowners’ or for video clips. Why? I’d use them if provided.
      BTW, you are also wrong about me copy and pasting from papers (unless you’re talking about ARMY News, where it’s allowed/facilitated/invited), because that would be a breach of copyright.
      And finally, I take very serious offence at your false accusation that I put my own name to the story you are talking about – or to any other story I didn’t author. My name appears at the top of the page because I am the admin of this web site – of which I’m very proud – and defensive – especially from anonymous trolls like you.
      Brian Hartigan
      CONTACT Editor

      P.S. Of course, when the photo eventually turns up in the Defence Image Library (where I will now be keenly awaiting its upload), you won’t be anonymous after that. Didn’t think of that, did you Mr 🙂

    • 05/04/2017 at 4:35 pm

      For the benefit of others seeing this comment string…
      The troll came forward (but I won’t name/shame)…

      Brian, The author and photographer didn’t leave that comment on the Murwillumbah 4 post, I did. As I’m sure you understand, we all get a little hot under the collar when we perceive that someone has wronged us or our mates. I should have checked the sources to see if Defence released that story with a byline before jumping to conclusions and having a crack at you, so I apologise for that. I’d appreciate if you didn’t skewer the photographer/author, as they had nothing to do with it.

      No worries mate. I appreciate your honesty and accept your apology. I totally understand and accept that we all sometime get a bit miffed about our work or our mates’ work not being appreciated – and since I truely am on your side, whether you believe it or not, I hope you now appreciate that I feel just as hot under the collar about my work.

      Case closed.


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