NATION

Thanksgiving, Farewell Ceremony for Australians

The commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces hosted a thanksgiving dinner and farewell ceremony for members of HMAS Canberra at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Thursday night. RFMF
20 Aug 2016 09:57
Thanksgiving, Farewell Ceremony for Australians
HMAS (Captain) Navy Chris Smith (left), being presented with a tanoa by the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, on Thursday. Photo: RFMF Media Cell

The commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces hosted a thanksgiving dinner and farewell ceremony for members of HMAS Canberra at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Thursday night.

RFMF Force Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class One Ratu Bale stated that the occasion signified Commander RFMF’s heartfelt appreciation of the Australian Defence Forces contribution to Fiji’s recovery following the devastating effects of Cyclone Winston.

“The occasion is organised as a token of appreciation to members of the Australian Defence Force for their invaluable contribution to Fijians recovery from the wrath of Cyclone Winston,” WOI Bale said.

He said the occasion also included the farewell ceremony before HMAS Canberra departed Fiji’s shores.

Commander RFMF, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, told members of the Australian Defence Force present that he was gratified when they returned to Fiji.

“Thank you very much for returning to Fiji. It has provided us an opportunity to show our appreciation since we owe you one,” he said.

He said the Cyclone Winston recovery task was quite huge especially it was new to him since he had just been appointed as Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

“It was your Chief of Defence Force who made the most comforting phone call and offered to provide assistance,” he said.

The RFMF Commander stated that other military forces later offered assistance and also contributed to the recovery.

“It’s amazing to note what military is good at these days, which is gathering their forces not to go to war, but to offer their help,” he said.

“Thank you, thank you so much. Words cannot express our heartfelt appreciation, but the smiling faces of children returning to schools indicate your invaluable effort.”

Australian Senator, the Minister for International Development, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and Australian Ambassador to Fiji Margaret Twomey, accompanied Captain (Navy) Chris Smith and his crew to the thanksgiving and farewell occasion.

Ms Fierravanti-Wells said the Australians would continue to strengthen their operations with Fiji.

“This will include the training of personnel, refitting of RFNS Kula and RFNS Kikau and the supply of two new patrol boats to up strength Fiji’s maritime security,” she said.

Source: RFMF Media Cell

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