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New Face Of Australia’s Veterans

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Guest speaker Trudi Lines, who was deployed twice to Afghanistan, proudly shows the gold medal she won with the wheelchair rugby team at the Invictus Games in Sydney … she is being applauded by South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, Cherbourg Mayor Arnold Murray and Murgon RSL Sub-Branch president Trevor Williamson OAM

April 27, 2019

The guest speaker at Murgon’s Anzac Day commemoration shared how she came under fire while deployed in Afghanistan, even though she was not in a combat role.

Trudi Lines told the crowd that nine mortar shells landed nearby, thankfully “they were atrocious with their accuracy”.

A new generation of war veterans are appearing at military commemorations throughout Queensland … men and women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and on dangerous “peace-keeping” missions in places as far apart as East Timor, Bougainville and Rwanda.

To emphasise this, two veterans from Afghanistan carried the flags at the head of the Murgon parade.

Trudi – possibly the first women to be invited as a guest speaker at the Murgon service – said she had been deployed twice to Afghanistan in an RAAF logistics role.

She comes from a military family. Her grandfather was a RAAF bomber pilot during WWII and her grandmother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

One of her proudest moments was to have marched with her grandfather in an Anzac Day Parade, and then sharing a beer afterwards.

Trudi was responsible for cargo loading and unloading in the RAAF, including the “ramp” ceremonies for deceased soldiers.

It was while dealing with cargo that she came under fire, with the shells landing behind the aircraft.

She was deployed to Afghanistan again in 2010, but by this time she had “become a different person”.

In 2011, Trudi transferred to the role of electrician and was the first female in the RAAF to be trained in that role.

“I was proud to be part of a defence force that recognised the abilities of women,” she said.

She worked in humanitarian missions to Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Thailand and East Timor.

Trudi received a medical discharge in 2017 after being diagnosed with physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Since then, sport had helped her mental and physical health.

Last year she took part in the Invictus Games in Sydney in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby, and won a gold medal!

Three veterans led the Murgon parade and then stood at the foot of the Monument

Josephine Kemp sang the NZ anthem, “God Defend New Zealand”

Emily Kinsella sang the Australian anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”

The Murgon State High School band played the musical accompaniment to the National Anthems and hymns

Richie O’Neill compered the Murgon commemoration

Pastor Glenn Vonhoff performed the scripture reading

Soldiers from the 26th Transport Squadron at Amberley provided the catafalque party for both the Cherbourg and Murgon Anzac Day commemorations

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More Photos From Murgon

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Anzac Day can be a deeply emotional time for Australia’s veterans and their families and some may find this time of year difficult.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has advised there are specialised counselling services and resources available.

  • Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling Service (formerly VVCS) provides free and confidential counselling and support for current and former ADF members and their families. They can be reached 24/7 on 1800-011-046. Visit the Open Arms website for more information.
  • DVA also provides help and treatment for any mental health condition. Phone 1800-555-254 or visit the DVA website

Veterans, their families and health care professionals can also visit the At-Ease Online portal for information about support available and online self-help tools, including:

  • High Res – An eToolbox with resources to help serving and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families to manage stress and build resilience.
  • PTSD Coach – Strategies to assist self-management of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and treatment schedules.
  • On Track with the Right Mix – Strategies for finding the right balance of diet, alcohol and exercise.
  • Operation Life – information and resources on how to assist those at risk of suicide.

[UPDATED with correction]

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