Day 147 to 165 of 365 Days of Gratitude – Black Hawk Anniversary
It’s been 18 days since I last gave gratitude on this blog. I’ve been grateful for many things in those 18 days and most of them deal with my health and being alive. We should have gratitude for every day we wake and live on our beautiful planet Earth. Lots of people have come and gone since I’ve lived, and I ponder why some left this journey early, while others (such as my nana who lived till 94) stay longer than, perhaps, they would have liked. And, mostly why do some die so young?
I am melancholy about this, as during these days the anniversary of The Black Hawk Accident occurred. 18 of our finest men died in that tragic incident June 12th 1996. 15 were SAS soldiers and one of them was Corporal Brett Tombs, a dear school friend. Many Australians will remember when the two Black Hawks collided over Townsville and how we mourned as a nation when we heard of the tragedy.
I think of Brett and his family each year and wish he could still be here with Gaye (who I also went to school with) and their two children, watching them grow up. It’s one of those things that, even twenty years later, you still don’t quiet believe that it happened. It resonates with me further because two of my sons have been in the defence force (one did three tours of duty). The Black Hawk incident shows that even in peacetime, there is always danger of some kind protecting our country. RIP Brett Tombs and all the young men of The Black Hawk.
You can read this tear-jerking account from last year’s Courier Mail, featuring Brett’s daughter Giverny. Brett would have been so proud of her and his son, Josh. I am grateful for something through that, and that is that his children have wonderful uncles (Brett’s brothers) who love his children and do their utmost to fill some of Brett’s void for them. It’s poignant and bittersweet.
So, for these 18 days of gratitude, let’s just say I’m truly grateful that all my family are safe and that we are here.
Reflect on what you were doing on the day of The Black Hawk Accident 21 years ago.
Lest we forget.
Please excuse my indulgence in doing this post. Just like most mums I’m proud of my kids – even the small things they do. Sometimes, however, I’m amazed at the big things they’ve accomplished. How did I help create such special people?
Kris is now a husband and dad, but prior to settling down he was in the Australian Army defending our country. He was deployed three times and proudly wears his medals on Anzac Day. Joel has now followed into his footsteps in the Australian Air Force. Gladly (for me and his dad) he hasn’t been deployed yet but he has defended his country in another way – being selected in the Australian Combined Defense Forces team. He may have put aside dreams of the NRL to defend his country (a good solid job too) but he’s accomplished the dream of wearing an Australian jersey. This is huge for Joel. He’s a personal trainer and has an immense fitness ethic. I like to think I set a good example for him to become so passionate about health and fitness. He certainly sets the bar high. When he’s not working for the Air Force (as an Airfield Defense Guard), he’s doing CrossFit or footy training.
Yesterday he played his first game for Australia against a Sydney Representative side. They haven’t had much training and lost the game but it was more about the pride of being part of such a special team, some who have defended our country many times and not just on the paddock. Joel is so honored to wear the Aussie jersey with pride and the best part is he got to do it will old school mate Jack Blaine. Congratulations to all you honorable young men.
I wrote the following when Joel (Air Force) and Jack (Army) first played against each other and sent it to our local paper. I do not understand why it wasn’t newsworthy at the time. So, I still think it’s newsworthy now. You be the judge.
Two Gold Coasters defend our country and play for it at Suncorp
An interesting angle on State-of-Origin Game 1.
We all know that the first clash of State-of-Origin at Suncorp Stadium on May 28th is mate against mate and state against state, but few know it’s even more so in the curtain raiser. In the true sense of mate verses mate our Australian Air Force take on the Australian Army, but this is no ordinary clash.
The defence forces games have as much history and pride as Queensland verses New South Wales and the team that everyone wants to beat is the Army. For two young Gold Coast men this game means by living a new dream they haven’t lost the old one.
Jack Blaine 23 and Joel Munro 22 both played club football together at Currumbin Eagles JRLC. Joel captained the side the year they won the QRL Foundation Shield, the state champion club for Under 15s in 2007. The side was coached by the current Gold Coast Rugby League Chairman, Peter Daley.
Blaine and Munro both had burgeoning Rugby League careers; junior representation, contracted to the Titans, First Graders, Qld Cup Under 20s; but they put that aside to defend their country.
Blaine joined the army in 2009 and is based in Enoggera, Brisbane. Munro joined the Air Force only last year and though based at Amberley, Ipswich, is currently serving in Darwin. In the year Munro started with the ADF Blaine made the Combined Australian Services Rugby League team. They competed in the Armed Forces World Cup in England and went through that tournament undefeated beating New Zealand 32-22 in the final. It’s a shame more Australian’s, particularly Rugby League fans, don’t know that.
After hearing Jack’s news and being proud of his mate Munro vowed to make the same team in the coming years to play alongside his old club buddy. His time would come sooner than expected and instead of playing with Blaine, the first game was against him.
Air Force had to beat the Navy 32-30 before coming up against Army at Ipswich in March. Munro, due to just completing compulsorily Air Force training, did not try out. When someone was injured in the Air Force team, and he happened to be in Ipswich for the next game, he was lucky enough to be called up to fill the void. He wasn’t playing in his favoured hooker role but as a second rower. He did enough to get noticed, with two tries and solid defence helping Air Force defeated Army for first time in seven years 44-20, during the yearly ADF Appreciation Day at Ipswich Jets. There was a lot of passion and pride in the match up – much like a state-of-origin – a solid rivalry.
Blaine played hooker for the Army but preferred second row or lock but that didn’t matter for him either, as both were then selected for the Combined Australian Services Rugby League team. Both ex-Currumbin boys will come together again in September when they tour, but before that these mates will have to play against each other again.
Neither can believe that they’ll be playing before a State-of-Origin crowd of possibly 200,000. They thought they’d sacrificed their footy dream to build a career in the defence forces, but their footy dream is well and truly still alive. Watch out for the brave young men of both teams, and if you’re going to Suncorp Stadium Wednesday 28th May don’t just be there for the main game – the curtain raiser will have you raising the Australian Flag.