ADF Members Killed-In-Service
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ADF Members Killed-In-Service
The story of service and sacrifice is told through the medals of Australian Defence members. Their medals tell the story of where they served (campaign medal), if they served in combat or were recognised for specific service (commendation clasp/medal). Even their longevity is recognised (long service clasps and rosettes). Nothing signifies the conclusion of their service when Killed-In-Service and THAT is significant. Our ADF and First Responders (Police, Fire and Ambulance) Killed-In-Service should have their story properly recorded in our Nation's history! This campaign seeks to rectify that oversight.
The mandate for the commemoration of service of Australian Defence Force members lies with the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA): "To support those who serve or have served in the defence of our nation and commemorate their service and sacrifice." While Australian War Memorials importantly commemorate that 100,000+ Defence Members have been killed in War.... Only a Defence Member's Medals can tell their individual story of personal sacrifice.
Please support this campaign.
Please write to the Minister to express your support and include a return address for a response.
The Hon. Michael McCormack
Minister of Veteran Affairs
Andrew Laming MP
Senator Jim Molan AO, DSC
Why is recognition so important?
'The greatest gift someone can give is their life and acknowledging the ultimate sacrifice is the right thing to do' - the Hon. Luke Gosling, OAM and Member of Parliament.
Any symbolic gesture to recognise the ultimate sacrifice of a Defence member that is not directly linked to their service medals does not officially complete their military service history.
What about the family?
In 2015, the Australian government introduced a Next of Kin bereavement pin as a tribute to the families of fallen soldiers. This recognition was initiated by Kerry Danes who indicated to Andrew Laming, MP in 2008 that the policy to recognise sacrifice should be revisited. The Next of Kin pin is one part of the overall strategy to Honour the Fallen.
When a family member wears their loved one’s medals on commemorative occasions like ANZAC Day, there is no distinction between the medal sets of a Defence member who has been Killed-In-Service or those who have simply passed away with old age as civilians. Both equally important but distinctly different.
Consider the story of Australia's Victoria Cross recipient, Cameron Baird. The Victoria Cross tells the story that Cameron was decorated as "a person who in the presence of the enemy, performed acts of the most conspicuous gallantry, or daring or pre-eminent acts of valour or self-sacrifice or display extreme devotion to duty." It does not reflect that he was actually Killed-In-Service.
Ray Palmer is the father of Scott Palmer killed along with two other commandos, Private Timothy Aplin and Private Benjamin Chuck, in Afghanistan in 2010. Ray Palmer is frequently asked ‘Are those your father’s medals?’ or ‘Why are you wearing them?’ or ‘What are you doing with them?’ There is no distinction on Scott Palmer’s medal set to reflect that he was Killed-In-Service.
Are we creating a hierarchy in death?
It is critical that we avoid any perception that the death of one ADF service member is more important than another, due to the particular circumstances of the death. The Australian government and Australian society however has already established a hierarchy of death in State Funerals, held to honour people of national significance and are already a distinctive element of military tradition: Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey and the Unknown Soldier. This campaign is simply about honouring those who willingly and selflessly gave their life in service to their nation and were Killed-In-Service. Their story is one of personal sacrifice.
Why the Wattle?
The wattle is our national floral emblem linked to the Australian Bravery Association, the Order of Australia awards system and the highest office of the land - our Governor General, so it holds an appropriately prestigious place in the life of our nation.
What about Cost?
Pledges have been tentatively made to help support associated costs.
*This concept is the initiative of WO1 Kerry Danes in honour of his fallen comrades and all ADF who have been Killed-In-Action.
**Consideration might also be given to adapt this concept as a National campaign to recognise ADF members and all First Responders (Police, Fire, Ambulance).
*** Originally the campaign was Killed-In-Action but the Australian Government would not recognise this status and an alternative was requested, hence the change of focus. The motive remains true however to recognise those who have been Killed-In-Service.
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