Australians Honoured for Kabul Evacuations in Queens Birthday List

Australians Honoured for Kabul Evacuations in Queens Birthday List
Australian citizens and visa holders prepare to board the Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, as Australian Army infantry personnel provide security and assist with cargo, at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 22, 2021. (SGT Glen McCarthy/ Australia's Department of Defence/Handout via Reuters)
AAP
By AAP
6/12/2022
Updated:
6/12/2022

When Afghanistan’s capital city fell back under the control of the Taliban in 2021, Australian forces were among those called on to urgently evacuate its citizens and approve the departure of foreign nationals from the Kabul airport.

Airlifts needed to be coordinated in what was now a hostile territory, and bus convoys were required to reach stranded Australians.

A number of Australian military personnel involved in the evacuation of more than 4,000 people from Afghanistan have now been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defence, Afghanistan evacuees board a flight to Australia from the Australian Defence Force's main operating base in the Middle East region. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/Australian Department of Defence via Getty Images)
In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defence, Afghanistan evacuees board a flight to Australia from the Australian Defence Force's main operating base in the Middle East region. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/Australian Department of Defence via Getty Images)

Six have been awarded a Distinguished Service Medal (DSM), while another eight have been given the Commendation for Distinguished Service.

Among those receiving a DSM was Lieutenant Colonel Scott Holmes, who led the Ready Battle Group to evacuate Australian citizens and approve foreign nationals from the Kabul airport with his “steadfast approach and composure under pressure” cited for his commendation.

Private Ethan Wright, from 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, plays with Afghanistan evacuees at a temporary camp in Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/ADF)
Private Ethan Wright, from 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, plays with Afghanistan evacuees at a temporary camp in Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/ADF)

From the RAAF, Wing Commander Steven Duffy received a DSM after coordinating the airlift operation from the airport.

He was also recognised for his efforts on August 24, 2021, when he led a bus convoy mission through Kabul to rescue 86 Australians.

Two unnamed troopers were given Commendation for Distinguished Service for their work during the evacuation, while Major Matthew Hamill received that same recognition for his leadership.

Private Jess Wills (left), and Private Ken Auld (right), from 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, with Afghanistan evacuees in the mess hall of a temporary camp in Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/ADF)
Private Jess Wills (left), and Private Ken Auld (right), from 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, with Afghanistan evacuees in the mess hall of a temporary camp in Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. (LACW Jacqueline Forrester/ADF)

Another RAAF pilot, Air Commodore Angela Castner, was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the military division.

She was recognised for her service in the logistics workforce, including for the Afghanistan evacuation.

Rear Admiral Michael Rothwell received a Conspicuous Service Cross, having overseen the withdrawal of Australian forces from Afghanistan.

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