Soldiers commemorate the 25th anniversary of Australia’s Somalia Mission
In a bush setting at Lone Park Barracks soldiers gathered on May 14 to mark the 25th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in what was known as the Somalia Mission.
Delivering the address to mark the commemoration was the School of Infantry’s Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1), Adrian Hodges who served in the Somalia Mission as a member of the 1 RAR Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel David Hurley.
REFLECTION: Regimental Sergeant Major WO1 Adrian Hodges speaks about Australia’s involvement in the Somalia Mission at a service at Lone Pine Barracks.
WO1 Hodges told the assembled soldiers that Australia provided 990 personnel for the Mission that concluded on May 13, 1993.
At the time the soldiers were sent into Somalia, the country had descended into virtual anarchy, with violent gangs operating at will preventing international aid being delivered to the population at a time of famine. “The food shortage became a famine in which about 300,000 people died,” said WO1 Hodges.
The Australians were part of the United Nations – Unified Task Force – Somalia who were given a mandate to use all necessary means to enable aid agencies to distribute humanitarian relief and they achieved this aim.
“The experience of being exposed to the waste of human life, murder of innocents, the lack of water and sewerage facilities and the total decay of human values was a shock to many, it was however an experience most will never forget. To this day Somalia remains a failed state,” said WO1 Hodges.