Overseas defence force personnel in our thoughts
MORE than 2200 Australian Defence Force personnel, including those from Amberley, will celebrate Christmas away from their families and friends this year.
Chief Joint Operations Vice-Admiral David Johnston thanked personnel deployed across the globe at the end of a high-tempo year.
He said ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and South Sudan were testament to Australia's commitment to regional and global stability and security.
"It is important to recognise the contribution of all men and women of the ADF who have supported operations both domestically and abroad in what has been a busy year," he said.
"I especially want to thank the 2200 personnel who will be serving overseas over Christmas and thank them, their families, and friends for their contribution.
Vice-Admiral Johnston said many personnel could find this time of year tough - especially being so far away from family and friends.
He said all personnel would be in the thoughts of the nation this festive season.
"The Christmas season can be a challenging time when you are away from loved ones," he said.
"It also provides our deployed men and women a unique opportunity to celebrate Christmas with their ADF family."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale also wished the 5000 men and women at Amberley Air Force Base a happy festive season.
He said they all formed a very important part of the Ipswich community and sometimes their efforts and sacrifices went unnoticed.
"I want to wish all our Ipswich defence families a very happy and blessed Christmas," he said.
"I also want to wish those Ipswich personnel who are overseas fighting for our democracy a very Merry Christmas.
"We appreciate the service and sacrifice they make, and what people tend to forget it is a very personal sacrifice."
Cr Pisasale said those personnel serving overseas would be in his thoughts over the coming festive season.
He said he hoped it would not be long until they were once again reunited with their family and friends.
"No doubt this will be a tough time for those Ipswich personnel who are serving overseas in far away and unfamiliar lands," he said.
"But I want them to know that they have the full and unwavering support of our community and on behalf of the city I wish them a very Merry Christmas and a safe return to their loved ones."