Please indulge me while I give myself a quick pat on the back but today is kind of a special day for me……
On the giant island down in the Southern Hemisphere, today (26th January) is known as Australia Day. If you’re from this great country you’ll need no further explanation on what its all about. If you’re from other parts of the global community, Australia Day is our national day and is pretty much a giant celebration.
Australia Day is also when the Governor-General (The Commonwealth Queen’s representative – its kind of complicated!) announces the official National honours and awards to recognise Australian citizens “for excellence, achievement or meritorious service.”
Today I had the great privilege of receiving a Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) as part of the Australian Day Honours 2011.
The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded for “leadership in action.” If you’re interested you can read the official fact sheet on the Distinguished Service Medal.
Specifically I was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for leadership in action during my nine month deployment as an infantry officer with the Australian Army in Afghanistan in 2009/10 where my team and I lived with, mentored and worked alongside an Afghan National Army Infantry Battalion.
While it is great to receive an individual award I feel that this is deserved recognition of my entire team of exceptional officers and soldiers who worked with me and achieved so much as a collective group. If any of my team are reading this, I sincerely thank you for your support and friendship throughout the deployment. This is just as much recognition for all of your hard work, achievements and sacrifices.
Thanks must also go to my wife and children as well as my extended family for their love and support not just whilst I was in Afghanistan, but also throughout my entire military career.
I also pause for a moment to remember all the Coalition and Afghan soldiers who have paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan and also those seriously injured (both mentally and physically) who will bear their scars and challenges for the rest of their lives. My thoughts are with you and your families as you progress through your recovery.