Navy Recruits from the Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP) have again been proud ambassadors for Navy, this time at the inaugural Remembrance Day service in the Yungaburra’s Afghanistan Avenue of Honour.
The service, held approximately one and a half hours south-west of Cairns, was attended by senior Defence members, war veterans and other community guests.
The memorial lists the 41 Australian soldiers who have lost their lives during the conflict in Afghanistan and represents all men and women who serve, or have served in the Australian Defence Force.
Former Commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan, Major General John Cantwell (Retd) delivered the commemorative address and later unveiled ‘The Hidden Wounds of War’ memorial plaque with Afghanistan Avenue of Honour President, Mr Ray Byrnes.
Pride in their uniform, their indigenous heritage and their nation’s wartime service was a common sentiment expressed by the recruits after taking part in the ceremony.
Recruit Chantelle Stenner said that it was an honour to be able to pay her respects to those who lost their lives defending Australia.
“This is really motivating me to join the Navy after graduation as I feel I would like to be a part of a team that is valued and looked at with respect.
“This is thanks to those who have helped pave the way. Reading the plaques along the Avenue of Honour only encourages us more,” she said.
Recruit Michael Banu said the experience taught him some history about the two world wars and he had greater appreciation to those who had fought for and defended Australia.
“This experience has inspired me to have a career as a Boatswains Mate in the Navy," he said.
This is the second intake for the Defence Indigenous Development Program - Navy this year with total of 20 recruits who will graduate on 18 December at HMAS Cairns.
Since enlisting in August, the recruits have attended TAFE to complete a Certificate II in Maths and English and Certificate I in Maritime Operations as well as building up their Navy knowledge and drills, fitness and life skills and general cultural education.
The first intake of 2014 involved 23 recruits, of which 19 were accepted for further enlistment into the Navy.
For more information about the Defence Indigenous Development Program visit http://www.defence.gov.au/code/indigenous/career/adf/didp.asp.