SEQ Navy vets receive Somalia citation at HMAS Moreton

Six Navy veterans have received the Meritorious Unit Citation, for sustained outstanding service in warlike operation.

CAPTIONMichael Apperley, left, and Paul Longley, right, meet after many years at their unit citation ceremony in HMAS Moreton. Story by Lieutenant Rebecca Williamson. Photos by Leading Seaman Iggy Roberts.

The award was recently announced for service in Somalia between 17 October 1992 and 23 November 1994, where ADF personnel performed extraordinary work in challenging conditions.

At the time, the service in Somalia represented the ADF’s largest land and sea operation since Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and included Australian Service Contingents (ASC) I-IV; 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Battalion Group; and HMAS Tobruk.

The award ceremony was held at HMAS Moreton and attended by the recipients, their families and friends.

Executive Officer Moreton Lieutenant Commander Amy Brauns opened the ceremony by acknowledging the honour of presenting such an award on behalf of the ADF to the six personnel, who now live in south-east Queensland.

Luke Hardin, John Kricker, Lisa Bates and Gavin Dean received the award for their service on Tobruk.

Michael Apperley and Paul Longley, who served with the Australian Service Contingents, received the award for their service as a part of the Joint Movement Control Group in Mogadishu.

Mr Longley said he was both humbled and honoured.

“Receiving this award is a great honour, but really it is not just about those of us who served but our partners and families back home who wear our absences,” he said.

After the reading of citations, Commanding Officer Moreton Commander Rose Apikotoa closed the ceremony by echoing Mr Longley’s sentiment.

“While we as military personnel are able to wear our medals and honours and our recognitions, our families are the ones who wear our departures and absences,” Commander Apikotoa said.

“You are the ones who see your loved ones depart and come back, often away for extensive periods of time.

“We couldn’t do it without your support and without your service to our personnel that serve.

“Thank you for your service, to the recipients, but also to the families and friends for your service in supporting our military.

“We have a saying in the Navy that always rings true: ‘Once Navy, always Navy’.”


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