Veterans urge the Australian Defense Forces to reconsider the expropriation of awards of valor for entire Special Forces units that have served in Afghanistan.
A petition calling on Australia’s Defense Secretary Angus Campbell not to revoke the Unit of Merit quote awarded to the Working Group on Special Operations in Afghanistan has already been published in less than a week 55. 000 signatures collected as veterans request the same on a case-by-case basis, « Treatment offered to higher levels of the military. ».
Today The Daily Telegraph is launching a campaign, Save Their Medals, to support a call to all veterans, living and dead, to keep their quotes unless they are convicted of a war crime.
Earlier this month, General Campbell said he would write to the Governor General asking him to withdraw the quote given to about 3,000 soldiers after a report on horrific alleged war crimes was released.
But the government has since distanced itself from the recommendation, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said « decisions have not yet been made ». .
The former commander of the 2nd. Command Regiment, Heston Russell, said the decision to strip the unit’s quote was particularly harsh on the families of special forces who died in Afghanistan.
« Where is our moral responsibility for the way these families are exposed to these scars, » he said.
« You hurt so much. What is the moral responsibility of the government to do what is in the best interests of our people, especially those who have already suffered the ultimate sacrifice of one of their family members?. « »
Major Russell said General Campbell must « practice what he preached » when undertaking to evaluate commanders who have received honors and awards « on a case-by-case basis. ». .
Major Russell has jointly launched a petition demanding that the quote not be stripped. They turned 55 in just six days. 000 signatures and 35. 000 comments collected.
Liberal MP Herbert and Afghan veteran Phil Thompson said the families of the nation’s “bravest” who died in Afghanistan should not lose an award.
“They did everything, and they shouldn’t even have to think that something like this was going to happen to their sons in the first place,” Thompson said. He said the decision to individually consider « awards and honors » for « armchair officers » leading the conflict over the relative security of a base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while tarring all units in Afghanistan with the same brush, be « wrong » « ».
« Men and women in supporting roles or in the unit were at high risk of injury or death. They did their job well and are now being punished by the same people who sat in the air conditioner in the United Arab Emirates. » he said. « These chair officers . . . have no idea what it is like to be off the wire, injuring or killing friends, running laps of the head and then finding out that their units are being quoted by them. « »
Labor MP Solomon and East Timorese veteran Luke Gosling said the « overwhelming » majority of special forces in Afghanistan « served with honors ». .
« It is devastating to take it from those who have been mutilated by improvised explosive devices (IED) or killed in action and have nothing to do with these crimes, » he said. « Your victims should not be politicized or denigrated. « »
The MP, who has also worked in security in Afghanistan, said his friend Ray Palmer, who lost his son Scott when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed in 2010, would be devastated if the quote were withdrawn.
« If we don’t handle this really carefully . . . it will be detrimental and even cost morale lives
Former sergeant of the 2RAR platoon, Justin Huggett, who received a medal for gallantry while in Afghanistan, said the decision to strip the meritorious quote created « an incredible amount of tension and division » in the defense community.
« You’d be kidding yourself if you believed this isn’t going to have a terrible mental health impact on veterans and the defense community, » he said. « Afghanistan has cost us enough, people have died and been wounded there, and this conflict is still costing us lives. « »
The Department of Defense did not confirm whether or when the merit quote would be removed if contacted by the telegraph.
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Angus Campbell, Australian Forces, Government
World News – AU – Let Them R. . I. P: Removing medals of valor is an insult to the fallen