DAD’S BACK, WITH A HEAVY PACK
THERE were plenty of hugs and kisses among the applause as Townsville soldiers were reunited with their families after being deployed to Afghanistan for the past six months.
From handpainted signs, balloons and homemade camouflage outfits worn by the children of the returning soldiers, Townsville’s defence community pulled out all the stops to ensure the veterans received the ultimate welcome home.
About 100 Force Protection Element 3 soldiers arrived at Townsville Airport yesterday morning following the successful completion of their operational deployment to Afghanistan.
Since deploying in January 2015, FPE- 3 has provided protection to Australian trainers and advisers during the current assistance mission in Afghanistan in support to Afghan National Security Forces.
Officer commanding FPE- 3, Major Matthew Dirago, said despite the war in Afghanistan coming to an official end on December 31 last year the job had remained dangerous.
“What we’re doing is in a dangerous place,’’ Maj Dirago said.
“It’s hard ( to be away from loved ones), although it’s harder for the families at home.
“But days like today make it all worthwhile where you get to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”
A special Welcome Home Parade will be held at Lavarack Barracks next Friday.
PROUD DAY: Captain Matthew Stevens is welcomed home by baby Lilly and son Jacob, 4, while Emma Evans ( inset) is happy to see boyfriend Private Jesse Forbes back again.