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Address on the occasion of the march-out parade of 22 and 23 Platoon, Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka.

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14 MARCH 2003

Soldiers of 22 and 23 Platoons; Distinguished Guests; Families and Friends; Ladies and Gentlemen

We are here today to celebrate the march out from recruit training of the Army's newest soldiers.

This is a very important occasion.

For the Army, a continuous flow of well-trained and highly motivated soldiers is their very life blood, and today it is being renewed.

For the soldiers who are marching out, it marks an important first step in their military careers, because today they actually become soldiers - more about that in a moment.

First, let me extend a warm welcome to the relatives and friends of those who are about to march out.

I know many of you have travelled significant distances to be here today.

Your support has played a vital role in getting these young men and women this far, and I urge you to continue to encourage and support them as they leave Kapooka and go on to the next phase of their training.

Now, to the soldiers on parade: You have come a long way in a very short period of time.

You arrived here 45 days ago, uncertain of what lay ahead, apprehensive, and probably concerned about your ability to cope with recruit training and the rigours of Army life.

For many of you, some sacrifices were necessary to commence your training here at Kapooka.

You left your family and friends and stepped out in a new direction, to a new life.

You were told that at the outset the transition from civilian to soldier would not be easy, but that it was achievable - and here you are today, marching out from the 'Home of the Soldier'.

I congratulate you on your achievement, especially on your dress and bearing today and an excellent overall parade standard. Well done.

You leave here today changed by the past six and a half weeks of training.

You have been introduced to many of the essential military skills that you will require for service in the Army.

You have been taught basic combat skills such as how to live in the field, how to shoot straight, how to navigate and how to work as a team.

I am sure you would all agree that your personal fitness has also improved markedly.

Perhaps more importantly though, you have started to develop those soldierly qualities that will make you an asset to your country throughout your service and beyond.

Qualities such as courage, confidence, mateship and teamwork; loyalty, integrity, mental and physical toughness, self-discipline and the will to see the task through to the end.

These are qualities that were evident in the original Anzacs, and which generations of other Australian soldiers have displayed.

It is appropriate to reflect on the service that Australian soldiers are giving at this very moment in East Timor, Bougainville, the Middle East, Afghanistan and in many other places around the world.

Remember that their training also began here, at the ‘Home of the Soldier’.

It is now up to you to take up the challenge, and make yourselves worthy to follow in their footsteps.

On your behalf I would like to acknowledge the efforts and achievements of your platoon staff.

I know the training they have given to you has been of the highest standard.

Your success is a direct reflection of their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism.

I would also like to acknowledge the support staff of the units of the Army Recruit Training Centre and the Kapooka Military Area.

Their efforts behind the scenes make your training possible and of course, on this special day, I would like to single out for thanks the Australian Army Band - Kapooka.

Their contribution has helped to make this a memorable occasion.

In closing, I wish families and friends a safe trip home, and graduating soldiers a safe and speedy transition to your next unit.

Although this parade marks the end of your recruit training, it also marks the beginning of your careers in the Australian Army.

To you, the Army’s newest soldiers, I simply say, welcome to the profession of arms, good luck, good soldiering and may God bless you all.