Our Unique Service
Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) Fact Sheet: The Unique Nature of Military Service
Home at Last
Wet, dirty, cold, hungry and quite scared
Surrounded by torn, sightless comrades who no longer dared
His tattered shirt now drenched with wetness of blood and rain
A blurred face above him was shouting again
“You’ll be right, mate, you’re going home”
Home, the Good Samaritan had said; could that be true?
His dream of dreams and there had been more than a few
Despite that angry, howling hate screaming overhead
No matter the burning pain, he thought of sweet home instead
He was going home, the fading face had said
To be in the big brown land with the Southern Cross so bright above
The terror, hate and grief replaced by happiness and love
Family laughter by a warm fire, sheltered from drenching rain
Precious values of simple life to be seen, heard, and tasted again
“He was nearly home”
He heard the familiar creak as he opened the wooden gate
There on the veranda, a scarred cricket bat and roller skates
How he had so often dreamed for this very day
To hug his loved ones once again in a very special way
The front door; one more step and “he would be home”
An excited family running to greet him
Screams of joy and laughter; no more pain and screaming hateful din
His beautiful wife reaching out for his open arms
Fading light as gentle fingers touched his hand; such a peaceful calm
“He was home at last”
George Mansford © July 2018
The Greatest Fraternity in the World
When a serviceman or woman leaves the 'job' and transitions to the next phase of life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others who may have already transitioned, wonder if they really appreciate what they are leaving behind.
We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.
We know in Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up and collect dust at the back of the cupboard.
We know even if they throw them away, they will be on them forever and with every stride and breath that remains in their life.
We also know how the very bearing of the service person speaks of what they were and in their heart, still are.
These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.
Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' not the way of life.
So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.
Written about war and the USMC, but is no less relevant to service in the name of your country and being in the ADF.
"These good men: Friendships Forged From War"
I know now why men who have been to war yearn to reunite.
Not to tell stories or look at old pictures.
Not to laugh or weep on one another's knee.
Comrades gather because they long to be with men who once acted their best,
men who suffered and sacrificed,
who were stripped raw,
right down to their humanity.
I did not pick these men.
They were delivered by fate and the U. S. Marine Corps.
But I know them in a way I know no other men.
I have never since given anyone such trust.
They were willing to guard something more precious than my life.
They would have carried my reputation,
the memory of me.
It was part of the bargain we all made,
the reason we were so willing to die for one another.
I cannot say where we are headed.
Ours are not perfect friendships;
those are the province of legend and myth.
A few of my comrades drift far from me now,
sending back only occasional word.
I know that one day even these could fall to silence.
Some of these men will stay close,
always at hand.
As long as I have memory,
I will think of them all,
I am sure that when I leave this world,
my last thoughts will be of my family ---
and my comrades, such good men.
by Michael Norman.
A veterans amazing experience on the first expedition by The Oasis Townsville to support farmers out western Queensland.
Perhaps it was the banter,
The hugs, the tears and Joy
Or maybe it was the ray of light
I saw shining from them all.
The 8 standing in front of me
May have been strangers at the start,
But that was no longer
For all I could see was hearts.
The paint, the sweat and icypoles
Were staples that’s for sure
And as each day was done
Comradery grew more and more
Perhaps it was the country
The healing turkeys nest
But for the first in the longest time
It was a good nights rest
No matter what it may have been
It cannot be denied
That finding ones self again
Has give the greatest pride
The purpose and connection,
Comradery and drive
Has brought them back to life again
And made them feel alive
And as the cars are rolling home,
One, by one, by one
Each and every one knows
The journeys just begun
So here’s to the journey,
The ones who’ve gone before.
And to the opportunity
For others to make some more
Memories and experiences
Will be our founding stone
Our shining light, our beacon
Guiding our Soldiers home.
by Leith Milton
(Participant in the first volunteer expedition to assist farmers in the Winton area)