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Memorial dedication for recent fallen

Sailors, soldiers, airmen and Defence civilians reflect at the Stone of Remembrance at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates during the plaque dedication ceremony for the six Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan between August and October 2012.

Plaques commemorating six Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan in late 2012 have been dedicated in a ceremony at the Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB) in the United Arab Emirates.

During the ceremony, attended by AMAB-based Australian Defence Force members, bronze plaques were dedicated to Sapper James Martin, Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, Private Robert Poate, Private Nathanael Galagher, Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Corporal Scott Smith.

The plaques are installed on a black granite memorial commemorating those who have died in the Middle East Area of Operations since 2002.

Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 633 Commodore Martin Brooker said the plaques served as a permanent reminder of the six men who lost their lives while contributing to the same cause that each member of the Joint Task Force 633 was there to support.

“Our challenge is to honour their sacrifice by remaining focused on the mission and watching over each other,” Commodore Brooker said.

“Particularly at this time of Christmas, we are reminded that for the families of these men that it will be a most difficult time without their loved ones.”

The Ode was read after the blessing by Chaplain Peter Hayes before members returned to duty.

Thirty-nine Australians have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of operations in 2002. The memorial at Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 in the United Arab Emirates also bears the names of two Australians killed during Operation CATALYST in Iraq and the Middle East.