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Russell Libbis - Sussex Inlet

Servicing aircraft in the Middle East is a far cry from the Shoalhaven beaches for the Sussex Inlet-born Russell Libbis.

The 33-years-old Royal Australian Air Force Corporal (CPL), now posted to Canberra as a member of the Australia’s Federation Guard, spent four months working as an Aircraft Technician as part of Operation SLIPPER.

"My role was to ensure the equipment remained operationally ready. It was a 24/7 role as the RAAF aircraft played a key role throughout Operation SLIPPER," CPL Libbis said.

CPL Libbis confessed that being away four months from wife Samantha and parents Debbie and Neil wasn’t easy, however his sense of satisfaction from serving his country was enormous.

"The surreal sense of pride I felt each day, as one of the approximate 30,000 individuals serving our country helped me through any tough times," he said.

"I loved being part of the team and servicing the aircraft to aid the people in the countries we were assisting."

CPL Libbis' commitment to the Air Force and to his country was recognised with several service medals, including the Australian Active Service Medal.

The end of 2014 marked the end of Operation SLIPPER, Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

On Saturday, 21 March the achievements of more than 34,500 Australian Defence Force personnel, Australian Government civilians and Australian Federal Police who deployed on Operation SLIPPER will be recognised at commemorative events around the country.

In Canberra, CPL Russell Libbis and other locally-based Australian Defence Force members will march along Anzac Parade to the Australian War Memorial, where a memorial service will follow.

Canberrans and visitors are invited to stand alongside CPL Libbis’s proud family to reflect on the service and sacrifice of our personnel.