Christmas Around The Globe With Our Aussie Troops

Deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen will celebrate Christmas Day in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Egypt and Sudan, while others will be on duty closer to home in East Timor, Solomon Islands and on border protection duties in Australia’s north.

Santa pays a visit to Patrol Base Wali, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, to wish a Merry Christmas to the soldiers from Mentoring Task Force – Three (L–R): Craftsman Michael Scotman, Lieutenant Phil Durham, Santa, Sapper David Jacobsen and Sapper Ryan Scanlen-Greig.

Although some will work through the Christmas period, many will celebrate Christmas with a traditional Christmas lunch and a game of cricket or beach volley ball giving the day a typically Australian theme.

More than 3000 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed on operations throughout the world this festive season.  It can be a particularly difficult time for those members who are deployed and for their families at home.

“Christmas is a time to remember family and loved ones and those who have passed. It is also a time for optimism, to think about the possibilities the future presents,” Commander of Australian troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan, Major General Angus Campbell said. He plans to spend the Christmas season in Afghanistan and on Christmas Day will be serving lunch to troops in the field.

Members from the Force Communications Unit at Al Minhad Air Base, UAE. (L-R) Sergeant Julian Algaba, Squadron Leader Bill Watson, Sergeant David Wight and Leading Aircraftwoman Julia Anderson.

“Our men and women have been through an intense operational period this year. They have made a significant contribution to security and stability in the region. Many have lost mates who are sadly missed, more so at this time of the year,” Major General Campbell said. “On behalf of the men and women under my command, I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the families and friends of our deployed personnel and more broadly to the people of Australia for their support as we go about our mission in the Middle East and Afghanistan.”

Near Africa and the Gulf of Aden HMAS Parramatta will celebrate with a special Christmas lunch for the approximately 190 crew members on board.

As part of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF), Australian Defence Force personnel in East Timor will host a group of children from a local orphanage to lunch and share in the festive activities at various ISF bases during the day and Australian soldiers serving in the Solomon Islands will enjoy a Christmas lunch with the Australian Federal Police led Participating Police Force.

Australian Defence Force personnel serving in Afghanistan on Operation SLIPPER are enjoying some of the 1350 Lions Christmas cakes generously donated by Lions Australia.
(Left) Lance Corporal Michael Baker (Townsville, Qld) and Corporal Emily Lodge (Townsville, Qld), both from the 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion from Townsville, take a break to enjoy some Lions Christmas cake at the engineering workshops in Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.

Commander of Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant General Ash Power, said: “During this Christmas period, all Australians should spare a thought and be very proud of our deployed men and women who are serving their country with distinction on operations at home and on distant shores. Their unwavering commitment under the most difficult circumstances is commendable.”

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