Recognition for Australian IEDD 'Bomb Disposal' Operations 1971-1994

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Throughout the period of 1971 to 1994, Australian ARMY Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) or 'bomb disposal' personnel undertook operational actions upon the Australian mainland. During the 23-year operational period around 200 IEDD actions were completed by these highly specialised and skilled personnel.

Many operational actions involved significant danger to the assigned personnel and whilst casualties were expected, it was by virtue of good luck and professional conduct that we did not lose any personnel. Furthermore, during each and every IEDD incident we were approved to apply all force necessary to defeat all suspect IED and any associated belligerents. This could have also seen significant collateral damage to civilian property. Whilst all of these factors meet the ADF's key planning considerations for warlike operations, the Government continues to refuse our requests for full WARLIKE recognition.

Our Operation, whilst established by Defence following Government direction and funding, is now being ignored for full ACTIVE or WARLIKE operational service. Had our Operation been undertaken offshore in some far off land, it clearly would have gained the full operational recognition we are seeking. Only because our actions were undertaken on the Australian mainland does the Government continue to refuse full and appropriate recognition (under the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986). 

Many of us now feel alienated and ostracised at not being considered "fully recognised" veterans. Even worse, many of us now suffer from significant injuries; such as PTSD, that have been directly attributed to our participation in the 1971-1994 IEDD Operational campaign. In fact our PTSD occurrence rate of 46% is well above the 30% rate encountered by veterans of more recent operations. Surely this has to be add to our claim.

We are not after any recognition not normally assigned to a "normal" ADF operation and just want 'fair & just' recognition to our real WARLIKE actions.

The first step towards this is for the Minister for Defence to give us a fair hearing and opportunity to present and discuss our claim.

All we are after is a fair hearing.

 


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