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World War II veterans visit ADF troops in Middle East

(L-R) Able Seaman Erik Catada and Warrant Officer Class Two Tom Sullivan present an Australian slouch hat to Army El Alamein veteran Mr Gordon Wallace during his recent visit to Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

Australian World War II veterans have spent time with ADF troops deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations at Al Minhad Air Base on 22 October 2012.

The veterans were on their way back to Australia following commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Michael Crane, thanked the veterans for spending time with the ADF personnel.

"Today’s Defence Force owes a great deal to these veterans for their honour, courage and sacrifice in helping to defend the principles we hold so dear.

“It is a privilege for all Australian Defence Force personnel serving at Al Minhad Air Base to meet some of Australia’s finest soldiers,” Major General Crane said.

The El Alamein veterans toured the base and got a chance to see what Australia’s fighting soldiers look like in 2012.

The veterans were special guests at lunch where they swapped stories with their modern day counterparts.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Repatriation Commissioner, Major General Mark Kelly, said spending time with these famous veterans is something all Task Force members will remember.

“Each serving member can take great pride in knowing they follow in the footsteps of these intrepid men and are upholding the Australian values these men fought so valiantly for 70 years ago,” Major General Kelly said.