The good neighbour

Australian Defence Force personnel have not only deployed on UN peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, they have also been deployed at home and abroad on humanitarian operations, providing disaster relief teams to areas that have suffered natural disasters.

The enduring memory of recent times was the disaster relief teams sent to Aceh, Indonesia following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami which devastated the region and killed over 170,000 people in Aceh alone, but Australia has been assisting nations in the Pacific and in the wider region since 1918.

An episode from the 1983 documentary series ‘Sentinel’ called ‘A fighting chance’ provided an insight into the wide variety of services the Royal Australian Air Force’s aeromedical evacuation teams have played in saving Australian lives. From medical emergencies in remote Australian locations, to the battlefields of Vietnam and later Cyclone Tracy, this documentary provides an interesting insight into the evolution of the RAAF’s aeromedical evacuation operations which still continue to the current day.

Steven Bullard examines the role Australian service personnel have played and continue to play in making Australia a ‘good neighbour.’ To read more about Australia’s humanitarian commitments, purchase a copy of Issue 88 here.