First and foremost I want to recognise you all for a job well done at home and on operations. Whether you have been on patrol in Uruzgan, instructing at Kapooka (or even if you were a recruit), maintaining our equipment, training to deploy, working in the office or the mess, or getting stuck into the basics, every one of you has contributed.
We should also reflect on those we have lost and those wounded on operations and injured serving our country at home. I said this last year and I think it is worth saying again – on Christmas day we should raise a glass to those deployed and on duty, for next year they may raise one for us.
This year my wife Jenny and I will be lucky to have our family with us on Christmas Day. I know that many of you will not be able to say the same.
On Christmas Day, I will take some time to think of you all and for those without their loved ones and friends with them. I will also think of those deployed and on duty. I have been in your shoes and I know how it feels, but you will be with them soon.
Keep safe over Christmas and the New Year, keep fit and enjoy in moderation. You have earned some rest (don’t be a hero – clear some leave) – make sure you enjoy it and return next year refreshed and ready for the challenges of 2013.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all and your families. I will see you all in the New Year.