Brisbane warmly welcomes Australian men and women who served in the Middle East
Brisbane gave a warm welcome to their local heroes, more than 1000 troops from the local 7th Combat Brigade, who returned from training Iraqi forces in the fight against IS.
Australian personnel deployed on various operations in the Middle East Region during 2015 and 2016 were officially welcomed home at a ceremonial parade through the Brisbane CBD.
Many people of Brisbane lined the streets to welcome home the veterans. The parade was reviewed by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC.
Corporal Tim McAllister from the 2/14 Light Horse Brigade was one of the returned veterans participating in the parade and said “It feels fantastic to be back home in Australia and with the family.” Corporal McAllister spent seven months training local security forces in Iraq, away from his wife Olivia and 2-year-old son Hamish.
It was Corporal McAllister’s second deployment after Afghanistan, and while he was glad to be back on home soil and with his family, he said he would be keen to go back to either country if required, according to Brisbane Times.
Also at the King George Square was Anna Loughton with her children Harry, 5, and Milly, 8, for husband and father, 8/9 Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hammett. Lt Col Hammett had served more than 27 years in the Army with overseas deployments including Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Timor, she told ABC News.
“This time he was away for seven months. It’s a hard time for us all but great to have them home safe and sound,” Ms Loughton said.
The Commander of the 7th Combat Brigade, Brigadier Anthony Rawlins said that the Welcome Home parade was as much an acknowledgement of the families as it was of the personnel who deployed.
“It was wonderful to see the pride in the families as they watched their loved ones participating in the parade.”
“Our people did a great job in the Middle East, no matter where they were deployed or what role they were in, and it is great to see that commitment acknowledged today,” Brigadier Rawlins said.
Recounting the challenges faced by troops in Middle East, Brigadier Rawlins added: “It wasn’t easy for them, and it wasn’t easy for their families at home who provided an immense amount of support and comfort to their partners, fathers, husbands and wives who were away for periods up to six months, generally serving in quite austere and dangerous environments.”
At the conclusion of the parade in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, the veterans and their families were joined by other Defence families for a Family Fun Day hosted by the Queensland RSL.
The predominantly Army personnel were all members of Force Element units mounted by Brisbane’s own 7th Combat Brigade who served in the Middle East Region on various operations during 2015 and 2016. Those operations were:
- Operation Okra – Iraq – Task Group Taji 1 and 2
- Operation Highroad – Afghanistan
- Operation Accordion – Middle East region
Courtesy: BT, ABC