The soldiers of rotation two of Operation Kudu touched down on Australian soil in time for Territory Day, greeted by their families and friends at RAAF Base Darwin.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers disembark a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport at RAAF Base Darwin after their deployment to the United Kingdom on Operation Kudu. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Captain Annie Richardson.
They arrived in the south of England in April, joining partner nations for the UK-led and based training program for Ukrainian Armed Forces recruits.
Under the command of Major Sam Hand, the training provided by the soldiers of rotation two played a pivotal role in advancing the capabilities of the Ukrainian military to support their national defence following Russia’s illegal invasion.
“Our soldiers have demonstrated exceptional dedication and skill throughout their deployment in the UK,” Major Hand said.
“Their contributions to Operation Kudu have been instrumental in strengthening and supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine – we are immensely proud of their achievements.”
CAPTION: Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, left, and Corporal Daniel Keighran VC visit Australian Army soldiers deployed on Operation Kudu in the United Kingdom. Photo by Sergeant Andrew Sleeman.
During their deployment, the soldiers were visited by Victoria Cross recipients Corporal Dan Keighran and Corporal Mark Donaldson, who shared their personal stories of bravery and resilience.
“Our encounter with Corporal Keighran VC and Corporal Donaldson VC was incredible,” Major Hand said.
“Their visit provided invaluable motivation and encouragement to the team, and we certainly saw the inspiration reflected in everyone’s spirit – everyone dug a little deeper that day.”
Also greeting the soldiers at Darwin was Commanding Officer of the 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gilmore, who expressed his admiration for the soldiers’ achievements.
“The success of rotation two of Operation Kudu is a testament to the excellent foundation from rotation one, as well as the professionalism and dedication of our troops,” Lieutenant Colonel Gilmore said.
“Our soldiers’ efforts in the UK have contributed to regional security, and will have no doubt a lasting impact on the soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces – we are immensely proud of their accomplishments.”