Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations joined in the birthday celebrations as both the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army celebrated their 113th birthdays.
At the Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, members not required for duty gathered at the Camp Baird All-Ranks Mess to remember the birth of the two military forces and to enjoy specially-prepared birthday cakes.
Major General Craig Orme, Commander Joint Task Force 633, spoke to the troops about the importance of the services’ respective history and what they have accomplished since their formation.
“Both the Australian Navy and Army have deployed on numerous occasions to conflicts including both World Wars, the Vietnam conflict and more recently here to the Middle East where we have worked alongside our coalition partners,” he said.
“At all times, Australian servicemen and women have displayed courage, professionalism and mateship and the willingness to get in and do what is required wherever it is required.
“We should be proud of the service of those that who have come before us and you should also be proud of the service that you are providing now on Operation Slipper.”
Navy Lieutenant Warren Bowring and Army Lieutenant Joseph Carroll then delivered accounts of the history of each service and were followed by the traditional junior service personnel from each service cutting the birthday cakes alongside the most senior ranked member.
Private Madison Galvin, assisted Major General Orme while Able Seaman Kieran Wagner, supplied the first cut of the Navy cake with Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force 633, Commodore Philip Spedding.
Meanwhile at Camp Baker, the Australian Defence Compound at Kandahar Air Field hosted a low key celebration to mark the birthdays.
Members of Force Support Unit 9 were joined by personnel from Joint Movements, the Air Load Team, 205 Corps Coalition Advisory Team and the Force Communications Unit and marked the occasion with photographs and a generous amount of afternoon tea.
Force Support Unit 9’s youngest member, 21-year-old Private Angela Paulo, wielded a ceremonial sword to cut the official Australian Army birthday cake. Angela, who works as a logistics specialist inside Camp Baker’s Q-store, celebrated her own birthday only a week prior to deploying to Afghanistan.
With the ceremony over it was back to work for Australian Defence Force personnel at Camp Baker, who continue to provide vital logistics support to a variety of Australian detachments and embeds in southern Afghanistan.
Press Release, March 19, 2014; Image: Australian Navy