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The Australian Defence Force has awarded 51 commendations to the men and women who helped rescue, treat and evacuate those injured in an explosion onboard suspected irregular entry vessel 36 (SIEV 36) on the 16th of April, 2009.

Chief of the Defence Force Commendations were awarded to Lieutenant Commander Barry Learoyd, Lieutenant Commander Brett Westcott and Corporal Sharon Jager. An ADF Gold (Chief of Joint Operations) Commendation was awarded to Chief Petty Officer Rachelle Burnett. An ADF Silver (Deputy Chief of Joint Operations) Commendation was awarded to Petty Officer Cheryl McCabe. An ADF Bronze (Deputy Chief of Joint Operations) Commendation was awarded to Petty Officer Rachele Karmiste. ADF Gold (Chief of Joint Operations) Group Commendations have been awarded to the Patrol Boat crews ARDENT FOUR and ASSAIL TWO.

The Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans said the commendations were awarded for the outstanding service, courage, drive, dedication and compassion shown by those involved in the rescue, treatment and evacuation of people involved in the SIEV 36 incident.

“Our people worked professionally and with empathy under severe pressure to ensure those involved in the SIEV 36 incident were rescued, treated and evacuated quickly," LTGEN Evans said.

“Superior levels of teamwork and cohesion were shown in developing pragmatic solutions to extraordinarily complex and challenging problems.

“Special mention also needs to be made of the exemplary performance of the Headquarters Northern Command staff in Darwin who provided coordination and support during the rescue and evacuation of the critically injured and seriously ill. The Augmented Operations Branch provided support to the rescue and evacuation operation that was highly complex.

“Importantly, all the rescued casualties survived which, given the extent of many of the injuries, was a most notable achievement.”