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New generation of war veterans looks back on sacrifice

Anzac Day had a personal quality for Elmore couple Jason and Jane Worme as they remembered comrades lost in 21st century wars.

ELAINE COONEY April 29, 2014 3:10am

Jason and Jane Worme, with their youngest son Charlie, remembered their friends who died in the recent wars. Photo: Elaine Cooney


When Elmore residents Jason and Jane Worme met at Australian Defence Force Academy in 1998 they never thought a few years later they would both be deployed overseas to serve their country.

They both lost friends in the recent wars and on Anzac Day remembered them.

‘‘Anzac Day is even more relevant to us now,’’ Mrs Worme said.

‘‘It is a time to reflect on our peers and veterans and it’s not a distant memory anymore.’’

Mr Worme escaped serious injury as a rocket flew past his head in Iraq in 2007.

‘‘One of our neighbours in Canberra died in Afghanistan,’’ he said.

‘‘He was driving a helicopter and flew into the side of a hill at night...He left four kids behind.’’

Another stood on a landmine and an associate of his was blown up in his truck when he drove over a roadside bomb.

Mrs Worme helps veterans suffering with post traumatic stress disorder in Puckapunyal.

She said the many of her patients were more affected by cultural shock.

When their first child Xavier was 15 months old, Mr Worme was called to serve in Iraq and after four months was quickly moved to Afghanistan for three months.

 

Due to the secrecy of operations, Mrs Worme was not told her husband was sent to another country until he got there.

Mr Worme said there was a palace on the top of a hill in Kabul which he imagined was one time beautiful, but was now marred with bullet holes and any copper from the building was removed.

He said the city was desolate with beggars on every corner.

One day 40 civilians were killed in an explosion just down the road from the Australian compound.

When leaving Iraq, he was given a souvenir map of the compound which marked the areas hit by 209 200mm rockets.

He was one of 12 Australian soldiers in the British compound which was under constant attack.

Other soldiers died from the rocket attacks and Mr Worme had a near miss.

He saw a rocket coming for him and dived onto the dirt road then crawled towards a ditch and into a trench.

He had been in training for such scenarios for 10 years, so knew what to do.

Mrs Worme was called to serve in the Middle East at the same time as her husband but could not leave her son behind.

She said other women left babies and children with grandparents, but they usually found it difficult.

Before she was a mother, she served in East Timor in 2002 as a commander in the combat service supply team.

She co-ordinated the logistics of getting equipment and food supplies from Australia to Dili.

The main obstacles she faced were communication issues between the Australian soldiers and Timorese wharf staff.

Elaine Cooney

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