Student leadership recognised

Published on CPL Aaron Curran (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Location(s): Liverpool, NSW

Topic(s): Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership Awards

Lieutenant Andrew Vergielus of HMAS Albatross (left) and college principle Mohamad Eldana present the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork award to Mohammad Zahab, a Year 12 graduate of the Al Amanah College in Liverpool, NSW. (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
Lieutenant Andrew Vergielus of HMAS Albatross (left) and college principle Mohamad Eldana present the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork award to Mohammad Zahab, a Year 12 graduate of the Al Amanah College in Liverpool, NSW.

A battle fought during the Vietnam War has brought together a Navy member and an Islamic school.

Lieutenant Andrew Vergelius, of HMAS Albatross, attended Al Amanah Islamic College in Liverpool, NSW, on 12 September to present Year 12 student Mohamad Zahab with a certificate and $550 from the Australian Defence Force in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

The presentation was part of the Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork Awards, started in 2006 to recognise students who demonstrate teamwork and leadership within their school and community.

The awards honour the soldiers of D Company, 6RAR, who, in 1966, fought in the Battle of Long Tan, in which Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces outnumbered them 25 to one.

Lieutenant Vergelius said Mohamad achieved scholastic and sporting accomplishments, which earned him recognition as Al Amanah’s outstanding student of the year.

“It was a very positive experience, with a bunch of great kids who didn’t have much exposure to, or experience with, the Australian Defence Force,” he said.

“Mohamad was also appointed as the school captain because he is such an outstanding role model.”

After presenting the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork award, Lieutenant Andrew Vergielus of HMAS Albatross speaks to Year 10 and 12 students at the Al Amanah College in Liverpool, NSW.

After presenting the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork award, Lieutenant Andrew Vergielus of HMAS Albatross speaks to Year 10 and 12 students at the Al Amanah College in Liverpool, NSW.


Lieutenant Vergelius was pleased to represent the Defence at the college’s award ceremony.

“It’s important we in the Australian Defence Force embrace and promote diversity in Australia,” he said.

Lieutenant Vergelius said he received such a wonderful reception from staff and students that he was looking forward to continued engagement with schools to recognise their outstanding achievements.

“I am looking to coordinate visits and excursions to raise greater awareness of the Australian Defence Force and the career options available,” Lieutenant  Vergelius said.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142781.