Celebrating Christmas on deployment
This Christmas, there will be more than 3300 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed on operations around the world and away from their families and loved ones.
They will get a small taste of home by marking the occasion with traditional lunches and games of cricket and other activities in the spirit of the season.
In Afghanistan, 7 Royal Australian Regiment Task Group will enjoy a Christmas lunch served by the Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs), and a Boxing Day cricket match against their Afghan colleagues.
At Al-Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, there will be a choir singing carols, lunch, and a fun run around the base.
The crew of HMAS Anzac will have their Christmas lunch at sea in the waters off the east coast of Africa.
Closer to home, ADF personnel in East Timor hosted some children from a local orphanage for lunch and festivities on 8 December and will have a special dinner on Christmas Day.
And our personnel in the Solomon Islands will be lunching with their Australian Federal Police partners, enjoying a Christmas dinner served by their Officers and Senior NCOs, and playing cricket on Boxing Day.
Navy personnel embarked in Armidale Class Patrols Boats on border security operations will enjoy traditional Christmas lunches on station between Cairns and Christmas Island and at least one Air Force P-3 Orion crew will spend Christmas Day on maritime patrol in the skies above Northern Australian waters.
Ground crews and colleagues supporting the flights will celebrate Christmas with an all-ranks luncheon at RAAF Darwin.
We thank the men and women of the ADF for their contribution to our national security and their families for their support.
The holidays can be a particularly tough time to be away from home but some traditional Aussie Christmas cheer can make it a little easier.