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Honour the Fallen - Killed-In-Service

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Words from the Killed-In-Service Campaign Founder

Medals are the official record of an ADF member's military service. They're supposed to tell the story of their service and sacrifice. But, did you know that Australia does not officially record 'sacrifice' on ADF medals? If an ADF member is Killed-In-Service, nowhere is that sacrifice formalised on their medal set. 

Neither does Australia officially recognise the sacrifices of ADF families,

as a consequence of their loved one Killed-In-Service.


The overwhelming majority of individuals and groups that contributed submissions to the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal in 2022 regard this as a major flaw in the current scheme of recognition. Unfortunately, individuals within the Veteran community argued to expand the criteria to include a broad range of service-related conditions. Whilst I don't disagree with the concept, I strongly advised against taking the focus off the Killed-In-Service as I feared it would scuttle the entire campaign, and it did. Government decision makers have decided to shelve the entire concept of individual commemoration. 

I encourage everyone to consider the importance of uniting in support of a single objective,

to honour our fallen-- KILLED-IN-SERVICE. 


 

--Warrant Officer Class One (Retd) Kerry Danes CSM

Founder of the Killed-In-Service Campaign that he began after 15 of his SASR colleagues (and others)

perished in the Blackhawk Accident in Townsville in 1996. 

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We invite you to write to the Minister to express your support for the Killed-In-Service (KIS Clasp).  

The Clasp can be put on the medal best representing the ADF member's story of sacrifice. 

The Hon. Matt Keogh MP
Minister of Veteran Affairs
Email: Matt.Keogh.MP@aph.gov.au

Dear Minister 

I thank the Australian Government for recognising the sacrifices made by our ADF members and their families on the Australian War Memorial and other State Memorial Honour Rolls. I ask you to support formal, individual medallic recognition for the "KIS Clasp" to be awarded to ADF members who have been Killed-In-Service.

 

*Be sure to sign your name, address, contact number, email address, date.

LATEST UPDATE ON THE CAMPAIGN  

 

28 Feb 2024, The Hon Barnaby Joyce, Shadow Minister for Veteran Affairs has asked questions on notice in the Australian Parliament. Link to questions.

06 May 2023: A letter was sent Minister Matt Keogh to follow up on his response (17 Nov 2022). No decision has been made and all Labor MPs continue to say "the matters are being considered." 

Senator Ross Cadell also asked "Questions on Notice" to Defence on 28 June 2023

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READ THE HISTORICAL TRIBUNAL REPORT ON THIS CAMPAIGN

2022 Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal recommendations:

The Accepted recommendations: 

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1. Memorial Clasp and accompanying scroll – to recognise the service-related death of a veteran;

 

​​2. Gratitude Clasp, a lapel pin and accompanying scroll – to recognise serious wounding or injury suffered, or serious disease contracted or aggravated, by a veteran in or as a result of service;

3. Memorial Star and accompanying scroll – to recognise the sacrifice of the family of a veteran whose death was service-related; and

4. Gratitude Star and accompanying scroll – to recognise the sacrifice of a family of a veteran who suffered a serious wound or injury or contracted or aggravated a serious disease in or as a result of service.

Click on the Images below to read their story of sacrifice.

HISTORICAL BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT

A Short History of the Killed-In-Service Campaign

1996-2023

TIMELINE:

On 12 June 1996,  two Black Hawk helicopters collided during a terrorism night-time exercise near Townsville, Queensland. The accident caused the death of 18 soldiers from 1 Squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and 5th Aviation Regiment combined.  Following the accident, 14 personnel received varying awards for actions at the accident site, including several who were injured. However, in the absence of a formal process, no one received any form of recognition for being injured or killed-in-service. At the time, a then SASR Sergeant Major, Kerry Danes, was among those tasked by the SASR Commanding Officer to rebuild the 1 SAS Squadron. With the loss of his colleagues weighing on his mind and the belief that ultimate sacrifice should be recorded on the member’s medal set to conclude their record of service, Kerry Danes initiated a campaign to recognise ADF personnel killed-in-service on war-like, non-war like and/or hazardous service. That campaign evolved over the last 25 years to inspire over 200 submissions from Veteran Organisations. It became the catalyst a Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal Inquiry (Above).

Kerry Danes’ sole focus was to recognise Killed-In-Service but others in the Veteran community wanted to expand commemoration to include other service-related conditions (Injured, Wounded and PTSD conditions). Whilst support was given to these conditions, it has prevented the Minister from making a clear cut decision to honour the fallen. 

In 2006, the Defence Service Medal (DSM) was introduced and issued retrospectively (3 September 1945).


In 2009, Kerry Danes submitted a proposal through Federal MP Andrew Laming and an Army Next of Kin Pin (deployment pin) was subsequently introduced by Parliament to recognise the families as they support their loved one deployed on military service overseas. 

In 2015, a Remembrance Pin was introduced for the families of Army members who died while in service, both domestically and on operations. Again, this was the initiative of Kerry Danes, who canvassed the support of the Defence and Veteran community to drive this initiative forward. (Click here) The family of Cameron Baird VC were among the first to receive this award. 

In 2018, Kerry Danes secured bipartisan support from both sides of Federal Government to honour the fallen. Special thanks to Andrew Laming MP (LNP) and Luke Gosling MP (ALP) standing firmly in support of this campaign. A television feature with Ray Palmer and others presented a compelling argument for medallic recognition of sacrifice.  See this segment on 'The Project' @ Ch10 TV (click here)

In 2019, Minister Darren Chester (LNP) tasked a Defence Council of Women and Defence Families to consider our submission and give feedback to him.

 

On 06 May 2021, we formally presented our submission to the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, along with over 200 other submissions from the Defence and Veteran community.

 

October 2021, the official report was released. (Click here)

The Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal has recommended the institution of four new forms of recognition: 

 

1. Memorial Clasp and accompanying scroll – to recognise the service-related death of a veteran;

2. Gratitude Clasp, a lapel pin and accompanying scroll – to recognise serious wounding or injury suffered, or serious disease contracted or aggravated, by a veteran in or as a result of service;

3. Memorial Star and accompanying scroll – to recognise the sacrifice of the family of a veteran whose death was service-related; and

4. Gratitude Star and accompanying scroll – to recognise the sacrifice of a family of a veteran who suffered a serious wound or injury or contracted or aggravated a serious disease in or as a result of service.

 

February 2022, Kerry and Kay Danes were acknowledged in Parliament House by Andrew Laming MP (LNP), Luke Gosling MP (ALP) and Shayne Neumann MP (ALP) for their efforts in both initiating and campaigning for over 25 years to have the Australian Government formally honour the service and sacrifice of ADF members killed, injured and wounded, and their families. 
 

2024 and the matters are still being "Considered." Barnaby Joyce MP is one of the campaign's strongest advocates. 

April 2024, Kerry Danes has shifted the focus back to the Killed-In-Service Campaign and has asked everyone to unite in support of this single focus. 

​It’s their Service, and their Sacrifice!

"Throughout my 47-year military career, I've served alongside some of our Nation's bravest individuals. They served with honour and integrity and paid the ultimate sacrifice or were injured and/or wounded in service.  I believe we owe them and their families a debt of gratitude. To do that, we must officially record their sacrifice through medallic recognition because it is the ADF member's medals that tell the story of their service!" WO1 (Retd) Kerry Danes, CSM.

Why a CLASP and not a new medal? 
 

The CLASP is the most versatile, cost effective and inclusive way of accurately reflecting the service and sacrifice of individuals. The CLASP is the concept of Kerry Danes but the artwork was produced by Mr. Ben Doyle Cox, CEO/Director of Platypus Outdoors Group Pty Ltd. His support is greatly appreciated. 

The medallic clasp acknowledges the sacrifices of ALL the fallen — 102,911 Australians who have served in Australian units.  The issue of a medallic clasp is a standard process in the ADF and prevents commentators from using cost as a justification to prohibit its introduction, or limit the number of ADF members eligible to receive recognition. It is a more logical approach than striking a ‘new medal’ that would require extensive marketing, exuberant cost, and gazetting into policy around honours and awards. Cost is important to this conversation as the cost savings could be better used to support other Defence and Veteran related causes.

Our Numbers are growing

 

Change.org Petition: 15,745 (15 May 2021)

https://www.change.org/p/australian-defence-members-first-responders-killed-in-service


Our original petition at Causes.com had over 31,543 supporters until the website that was hosting our campaign was bought by an American company that changed the focus of the site to suit an American audience. We were not informed of the change and lost all links to those supporters.

https://www.causes.com/causes/204480-australian-national-campaign-recognising-defence-members-first-responders-killed-in-service

Prior to that, we had a combined total of close to 50,000 people supporting the campaign (as at 22/04/18).

Honour their Service

The original intent of the Killed-In-Service Campaign was a simple endeavour -- to honour those ADF personnel killed as a result of military service. 

Unfortunately, Ex-Service Organisations wanted to expand the criteria, against advice we gave, and to include a range of other categories. This has created a real mess for government decision makers who have now decided to shelve the entire concept of individual commemoration. 

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