Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

 The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat has officially been recognised as a national memorial. It is the first of its kind outside Canberra to be given the honour.

The Minister for Veterans Affairs, Alan Griffin, made the announcement this morning, before a group of about 50 returned servicemen. One of the trustees of the memorial, Les Kennedy, says there are only about 1,200 Australian POWs alive today.

He says at least half of the more than 8,000 who died have no known graves. "This memorial, with all those names engraved onto that wall, the memories of those POWs will never be forgotten," he said. "And I'm sure if a memorial like this hadn't been built somewhere in Australia, the sadness of what those POWs, what they suffered, would possibly be have forgotten."

 

Middle East military HQ

The ADF will embark on a major revamp of its command arrangements and logistical bases in the Middle East next year as the military winds down its involvement in Iraq and gears up for a long campaign in Afghanistan.

The 70-strong headquarters of Australia's Middle East command known as Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633) is expected to move from Baghdad to the Arabian Gulf, leaving the 110-strong security detachment as the core military presence in the Iraqi capital. JTF633 at present commands all army, naval and air elements (just over 2000 personnel) deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The relocated joint taskforce headquarters will be much closer to Australia's main war effort in Afghanistan with the last of combat forces having been withdrawn from Iraq earlier this year. At the same time, Defence wants to consolidate its current support bases dotted along the Arabian Gulf into one key location.

Since the 2003 Gulf War Defence has maintained separate bases in the region for its C-130 Hercules detachment, its AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft, and its main logistical support base in Kuwait. The C-130 Hercules detachment with about 160 personnel is based in Qatar and the AP-3C Orions with 170 personnel are based in the United Arab Emirates.

The aim is to achieve more efficient management and better co-ordination of a complex logistical web by co-locating as many activities as possible.

 

 

AGENT ORANGE ODYSSEY

Dear All,

Some of you have asked for some background on the Agent Orange issue.

Attached is the story through the eyes of a participant in the whole sorry episode which you should find entertaining as well as instructive.

Regards,

Tim McCombe
National President
Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia