The partners and children of sailors from patrol boat crew Assail Six have been presented the Navy Commemorative Pin and Australian Military Family Medallion in a special ceremony in Darwin.
Standing side by side with their Navy partners; mums and dads, the families were presented their pins and unofficial medallions by Air Commodore Ken Watson, Commander, Northern Command.
The presentation coincided with the awarding of the Operational Service Medal (OSM - Border Protection) to 17 crew members of Assail Six (LCDR Rob Cucchi).
Air Commodore Ken Watson said it was a small but significant occasion.
“Patrol boat sailors are very hard working folk and they deploy frequently, sometimes for long periods and often at short notice,” he said.
“This puts an extra demand on the families who need to deal with the effects of a high tempo operation on their loved ones.
“The husbands, wives; sons and daughters that are here today do a remarkable job supporting the Navy on the home front and it is my honour to acknowledge them”, he said.
Karen Katsoolis received the Navy Commemorative Pin while her husband Leading Seaman Brent Katsoolis, the Ship’s Coxswain in Assail Six, received the OSM, and seven year old daughter Cristalynn received the Military Family Medallion.
“I’m very proud of Brent whenever he receives a medal or award,” she said.
“Cristalynn is also very proud and she tells her teachers and school friends when Brent is going to sea or coming home.
“Of course she is always more excited when he’s coming home.
“It’s meaningful for her to receive something to acknowledge her dad’s contribution to the operation.
“She’ll wear the medallion to school once but probably not after that because she always loses things!” she said.
The Navy Commemorative Pin was first presented to families aboard HMAS Darwin in November last year by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The Australian Military Family Medallion is a self funded initiative by Jody Ghirardi and Martina Ladbrook, both wives of Australian soldiers. The concept was introduced in October 2012 to provide Medallions for children of defence persons, past and present. All profits from the sale of medallions go to the Soldier On charity.
More information can be found at http://www.ausmilfam.com.