Friday, October 26, 2007

Freedom... Isn't Free.

Unfortunately, many in the West, and in this case I mean Australia in particular, take our freedoms, our rights like the vote, and our general security and prosperity very much for granted.

Many, many Australians have served, fought, and sadly, all too often died so that we may enjoy those Rights and Freedoms. And not just for us, our most precious resource - our citizens lives - have been put on the line for others also, in two world wars, and numerous other conflicts in SE Asia and elsewhere. Most recently in the middle east. Australians put on the uniform and serve for many reasons, among them, and most nobly, so that others (in places like Afghanistan, Iraq) can have a chance to live their lives with a chance at a somewhat better future than they currently endure.

Sadly, 2 more diggers have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of those ideals very recently. The most recent just yesterday in Afghanistan.

I would like, here, to do my small part and Give Thanks for the service and sacrifice of all who serve in our defence, but particularly to these 2 men;

Sergeant Matthew Locke, Special Air Service Regiment (SASR).
"..The Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston today paid tribute to Sergeant Matthew Locke who died yesterday whilst on operations in Afghanistan. “Sergeant Matthew Locke was everything you would expect of an Australian soldier. He was courageous, dedicated and very professional. He took great pride in being an Aussie digger, displaying the characteristics of loyalty, mateship and determination for which Australian soldiers are renowned, Air Chief Marshal Houston said. “Sergeant Locke died whilst working with our coalition partners and Afghan forces to drive the Taliban from their sanctuaries and create an enduring security presence in the area. Operation ‘Spin Ghar’ was to target and clear Taliban from the area around Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan Province. “Sergeant Locke had extensive operational experience in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan and was one of the finest soldiers in the Australian Army. “Sergeant Locke will be greatly missed by his brothers in arms. He was admired and respected by all who served with him. His energy, enthusiasm and sense of humour made him a popular figure in the Special Air Service Regiment.’ “In 2006, his courage was recognised with a Medal of Gallantry, one of the ADF’s highest honours. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Locke braved heavy enemy fire to neutralise the Taliban advancing on the Australian position and in doing so saved the lives of his mates. His courage on that day was but one example of the extraordinary valour we have come to expect from the Special Air Service. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Defence organisation are with the family, friends and comrades of Sergeant Locke. We will do everything we can to support them through this difficult time,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.."
[Source: ADF Online Media Room]
"...During his service in the Australian Defence Force, Matthew was awarded the Medal for Gallantry, the Australian Active Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the United Nations Medal with the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor Ribbon, the Iraq Clasp to the Australian Active Service Medal, the International Coalition Against Terrorism Clasp to the Australian Active Service Medal, the Infantry Combat Badge and the Returned from Active Service Badge.
Matthew is survived by his wife and son..."
[Source: ADF Online Media Room]

Trooper David Pearce
"Following agreement with the family, the Australian Defence Force today released the name of the Australian soldier who died as a result of a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan yesterday.
Trooper David Pearce, 41 was posted to the Brisbane-based 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment in October 2006. He was serving with the Reconstruction Task Force when he died. Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, extended their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Pearce. “Though no words can ease their loss and grief at this very sad time, I hope the knowledge that they are in the thoughts and prayers of so many Australians will be a source of comfort for them. “Trooper Pearce was a highly professional, skilled and dedicated soldier. His comrades remember him as a loyal and reliable friend, ever willing to put the needs of others before his own. “He died while serving his nation and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. This loss is felt by all members of the Defence community,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said. Trooper Pearce was born in Liverpool, New South Wales, and enlisted in the Australian Army Reserve in 2002. Following a period of Reserve service he transferred to the Australian Regular Army in July 2006. Trooper Pearce had previous operational experience having deployed to the Solomon Islands with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Queensland Regiment in 2005-2006. Trooper Pearce is survived by his wife and two children who have requested that their privacy be respected at this difficult time."

[Source ADF Online Media]

[Press releases and photographs used courtesy The ADF 'Online Media Room', per the Copyright Act, 1968, S103B(b) ]

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