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Mateship amidst chaos

Chaplain Alamoti Lavaki. Photo courtesy of the Australian Department of Defence
IN AUGUST Army Chaplain, Rev Alamoti Lavaki, was awarded the Silver Commendation for his work with grief stricken soldiers in Afghanistan.

“It was a very difficult deployment where so many Australians were killed in action,” he said.

“I was awarded the Silver Commendation for just doing my job by refocusing the soldiers to get on and finish the job in the midst of sadness and trouble.”

Mr Lavaki said that in the nine months he was in Afghanistan 10 soldiers had died and more then sixty-five were wounded in action.

“When one of your mates dies, everyone is affected,” he said.

“I encouraged them not to allow the sacrifice of their mates to go down in vain.”

He emphasised that the Army mateship and sense of family and friendship was what kept him going during difficult circumstances.

“As a chaplain, you cry with them and laugh with them.

We are there as one big family and fighting for each other,” he said.

Mr Lavaki experienced the dangers of living in Afghanistan when he visited patrol bases to support the soldiers.

“It was very difficult because there is no place in Afghanistan that is safe,” he said.

“Whether I went by helicopter or by vehicle on the road, you just don’t know what is out there because there is danger everywhere.

“I had a few near misses but you just have to go and do your job.

Thankfully I knew that there were lots of people who were praying for me.”

Mr Lavaki described the importance of Army chaplaincy as “a channel of Christ’s love and hope to the soldiers”.

“The only sad thing about this job is you are away from home many times, either being deployed overseas or on bush
exercises nearly every month.

“Thankfully I have a very supportive family and I salute them".

Photo : Chaplain Alamoti Lavaki. Photo courtesy of the Australian Department of Defence