Monday, November 10, 2008

Operation Flashpoint - Blackhawk Down, Blackhawk Down - Part 7

In late 2006, a foreign power set in motion a chain of events that would have culminated in the invasion of Fiji.

Codenamed Operation Flashpoint, the ADF deployed its sea-borne and air assets to positions inside Fiji waters within striking distance of the capital Suva.

Additionally, elite Special Forces infiltrated the country with communications equipment and weapons.

How close did we come to being invaded? Who among us who encouraged this act of aggression against their own country?

This is a fictional account of what may have happened in the days leading up to one of the most dramatic chapters in our history

Two days after our arrival we were summoned back from a training run where we were testing our SOFLAM's outside Suva Harbour not far from a massive rubbish dump. I couldn't think of a worse place to situate a rubbish dump, right next to the sea and the route most people travel into and out of Suva.

We were met by an agitated military liaison officer who told us that the Australian High Commissioner had received a political directive that we were to based at the High Commission in Reservoir Road and that it was likely that we were being watched.

The FMF had gotten wind of our arrival and they were not happy. I can respect that. I mean if I was told that Indonesian Kopassus were running around Sydney or Perth preparing for a possible sea and air borne incursion, would I be happy? Of course not. Soldiers think alike and I knew exactly where they coming from.

So we went off to hurriedly organised accommodation at the High Commission. We learnt that Chief of the Australian Defence Force Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston had called the FMF to "claim our existence".

We had to remain within the compound as the FMF had assumed an aggressive posture and was threatening to confront us. The Naval deployment proceeded as planned and we maintained contact throughout.

Some time later our operation was called off.

We split into 2 groups. We bought some souvenirs from one of the many Indian shops in town and pretending to be rugby league players returning home after an end of season holiday, flew back to Sydney through Auckland.

It was here that we received the tragic news on the night of November 29 that our brothers training on board the Kanimbla had been killed when the Black Hawk they had been in tipped over into the Sea.

Private Corporal Joshua Porter had died.

We held a moment of silence in his honour.

The invasion of Fiji had been put off.


Lisa said...

Great read.

Not sure about the "fictional" tag though.

Matt said...

Loved reading the series. More LF More