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The importance of family

Being a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is a unique occupation and belonging to a Defence Force family can be quite different to being part of a civilian one. Dad or Mum could be away for months at a time, leaving their partner to manage the household duties and raise the children.

A career in the ADF involves the whole family. When an ADF member is posted, the whole family is posted. This may include moving states or countries. For the partner, searching for a job, changing schools for the children, leaving friends and family behind, is a major upheaval.

If the ADF member has been deployed there could be difficult times ahead. They don’t or can’t talk about what they have experienced. The family cannot be involved, leaving not only the ADF member feeling alone but the whole family feeling lonely and confused.

When the ADF member returns home from deployment, he/she will have been gone for several months. Sometimes they are not the same person who left. The trauma they have experienced has changed them. This can place a huge amount of stress on the family as they re-adjust to this person. The partner in particular has to deal with their veteran, the children, and the extended family.

We understand that without family involvement in the life of a veteran and his or her community there may be little progress in their ability to cope with the issues they face.

We also believe that without support, the partner’s ability to care for and nurture the family and in particular the veteran may be severely impacted.

Over the past almost 20 years, the support of the family has become more evident with Defence, DVA and the many ex-service organisations offering assistance at almost every level and for every member of the family, both currently serving and past serving.

Serving members have access to the Defence Community Organisation, Defence Families, the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service as well as many organisations available that can help ease the burden for the family.

The internet and social media play a huge role in the life of the younger military families with countless apps available for support and guidance throughout their time in service.

Leaving the ADF should involve both the member and their partner, as a smooth transition back into civilian life involving both parties is crucial. Partners and their veteran should be encouraged to attend courses and seminars about life after the ADF. Through Government initiatives beginning this year, children of the military both past and present will be able to attend camps and gain coping skills associated with living in a military family.

For many of those who are no longer serving, the friendships formed during service endure throughout life, offering support of a different kind.

Throughout our history as a nation, the pillar of strength for our ADF member has been the family. The recognition of this strength is now coming to the fore, in particular the contribution of the partner in overseeing the health and wellbeing of the entire family.

No man is an island and for partners the support of others in a similar situation is essential, as is the nurturing and care of oneself.

Submitted by The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia. Its national help line is 1300 553 835.

Navy Week Victoria

The Naval Commemoration Committee of Victoria (NCCV) with the support of the Navy League of Australia and the Naval Association of Australia have scheduled several events, starting on Saturday, 21 October 2017, to support the Australian Defence Force, and Navy in particular.

This is the 50th anniversary of hoisting the current Australian White Ensign. It is also the 75th anniversary of the loss of many Australian warships during the Second World War.

The most important activity will be the Navy Week Victoria Ball. While there will be a Remembrance aspect, there will be a strong emphasis on the value of the current Australian White Ensign. The Ball is open to all service and ex-servicemen and women, their families and friends. It will be held at the iconic Melbourne Town Hall commencing at 7.00 pm. The cost will be $155 per person and we encourage everyone with any connection to Defence to go to our website or email us at navy.week.victoria@gmail.com for all information such as payment details.

Guest of honour will be Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN, Chief of Navy.

Earlier in the day, we have scheduled a seminar from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Chief of Navy will be the keynote speaker at this event. Again, more information is available on our website, or you can email naval.commemoration.committee@gmail.com for advice and to register.

Sunday, 22 October 2017 will be the Seafarers Church Service, conducted at 10.30 am, St Paul’s Cathedral. This important service for mariners has been conducted since 1907. It would help to advise the organisers by emailing NCCV as mentioned above.

Sporting events will be scheduled during the following week and you can find out about these activities by going to the website.

If you have difficulty in emailing us, you can write to the NCCV Secretary at 316 Nicholas Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. Please provide a telephone number.

Navy Week is an important opportunity for Defence personnel to meet, discuss relevant matters and above all enjoy the camaraderie. With your help we can lift the profile of Defence and Navy in particular in Victoria.

Submitted by The Naval Commemoration Committee of Victoria.

Legacy youth and veterans face an uphill battle

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Campaign. Legacy Australia, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), has launched Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017 (OP LAKC 17) – a youth leadership development activity for Legacy youth aged 16–25 and mentoring initiative for currently serving veterans.

OP LAKC 17 will see 25 Legacy youth, accompanied by 10 serving veterans, walk the Kokoda Trail from 28 August to 7 September to coincide with Legacy Week 2017, Legacy’s national campaign to help raise funds and awareness for the families of those who served their country.

Major General Stuart Smith AO DSC, Legacy Australia Ambassador and former Legacy ward, said that:

Our support of Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017 symbolises our commitment to caring for the dependants of those that have died or become incapacitated following their military service. Defence veterans mentoring Legacy youths reflects the true spirit of Legacy. The 75th anniversary of the Second World War Battle of Kokoda, where so many Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen distinguished themselves, will provide a wonderful inspiration.

Through our interaction with Legacy families, especially our Legacy youth, we do what we can to build resilient young people who make valuable contributions to their local community and the wider Australian public.

Tony Ralph, Chairman Legacy Australia said that, ‘by pairing Legacy youth with a serving ADF member, OP LAKC 17 provides a vehicle in which Legacy can support the ADF in their duty as the Defence family to look after itself by those who have served and returned’.

The responsibility of returning soldiers looking after their mates, the very catalyst for establishing Legacy and the RSL following the First World War, continues today. They are called to the same noble act of caring for the families of defence personnel who gave their life or health in defence of the nation.

We believe OP LAKC 17 will build better awareness of the work of Legacy in the ADF, while providing serving veterans with a unique and rewarding experience.

OP LAKC 17 may be an uphill battle for Legacy youth and serving veterans, yet it stands as an example of collaboration in meeting the needs of contemporary Defence families.

Any questions regarding OP LAKC 17 can be directed to kokoda@legacy.com.au.

Submitted by Legacy Australia.

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