Current and former Australian Defence Force veterans along with Australian Public Servants, the Australian Federal Police and other Government agency personnel who served on Operation SLIPPER had their achievements honoured in a commemorative parade on 21 March.
The parade was part of the national commemorative activities held in each state and territory honouring more than 34,500 personnel deployed to the Middle East between 2001 and 2014.
The Perth parade commenced in Hay Street, and snaked throughout the central business district. The salute was received by the Governor of Western Australia – Her Excellency The Hon Kerry Sanderson and the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett.
Approximately 450 Navy, 90 Air Force and 50 Army and 50 ex-service personnel marched together and provided the public with an opportunity to reflect on the service and sacrifice of Australian personnel.
“In what has been Australia’s longest war, we have not only seen great achievements through the training of the Afghan National Army, development of governance, major construction and redevelopment projects, and the ongoing improvement to security, stability and prosperity; but also further surveillance and security in the Middle East maritime environment," Vice Admiral Barrett said.
“We have also felt the deepest sorrow for the 41 Australian soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the hundreds of veterans who continue to live with physical and mental injuries. They will never be forgotten."
Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Angela Bond led the contingent and thanked the city of Perth for their support and remarked on the opportunity to showcase the work of the Australian Defence Forces.
“I am honoured to lead a parade of such outstanding service men and women from a variety of backgrounds. It is important that the Australian Defence Force have the opportunity to show the Australian public our strong commitment to protecting Australia’s interests both here and abroad.”
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate John Hoy served in HMAS Toowoomba and marched on the day.
“One of my highlights was seeing different parts of the world and see how they live and adapt to their customs and culture and respect their way of doing things.
“The parade meant a lot to me, representing Toowoomba and my shipmates that served in her and to support the families that had lost loved ones.”
Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Grant Peck served in HMAS Newcastle on the operation as a member of the boarding team. Their role was to intercepted suspect vessel to see if they were conducting illegal activities such as transporting drugs or contraband.
“I was proud to march in Perth, it was a great crowd that came along to support us and it was great to get the recognition from the public who came along," he said.
Navy currently has HMAS Success deployed as part of Operation MANITOU in the Middle East - continuing a Royal Australian Navy presence felt there since the 1990s.