Anzac Day on duty

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

 (photo: )

This Anzac Day will be the fifth for Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Kea Spafford in uniform.

The 21-year old hailing from the small town of Marrawah in northwest Tasmania describes them all with a delicate balance of pride and humility.

“I spent my first Anzac Day marching at an AFL game in Western Australia,” she said.
“That was pretty big.”
 
“Last year I was at sea conducting an Operation RESOLUTE patrol, somewhere in the vicinity of Ashmore Island.”
 
She described the tiny Western Indian Ocean atoll as a solitary place.
 
"It’s a long way from home, it’s quiet and I often think about my family when I’m at sea.
 
"My brother served with the Australian Army as part of the International Force for East Timor (INTRFET) and again in Operation CATALYST in Iraq.”
 
“It’s been hard for him and whenever I’m on operations or exercises at sea I think about that.
 
“Anzac Day has a special meaning, it’s a good time to catch up with your mates but we shouldn’t forget how hard it was for our diggers now and our diggers 100 years ago.
 
"I think about what’s changed, and how we’ve made it so far.”
 
On the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli, up to 500 Australian Defence Force personnel will be deployed in the air, on land and at sea as part of the Joint Task Force 639 in the conduct of Operation RESOLUTE.
 
Royal Australian Navy Armidale Class Patrol Boats; together with RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Army’s regional force surveillance units, and joint staff at the Headquarters Northern Command in Darwin will provide the surveillance and response capability to counter eight distinct maritime threats, ensuring safety and security in Australia’s remote northern waters.