The Kokoda Trek has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Finally after many years of research, reflection and contemplation, I have booked and in June 2016 will be on my way to experiencing the true Spirit of Kokoda.
My Grandfather was with the 2/9 Battalion and was deployed to the Milne Bay area in 1942 (after returning from the battle fields of Tobruk). It is here he fought in the Battle of Milne Bay, Cape Endaiadere, Buna and Sanananda. He was awarded the MID (Mention in Dispatches) at the battle for the Buna Air Field and during this battle advanced in rank from Corporal to Lieutenant in the period of 24 hours due to casualties sustained to his Battalion.
Ironically on the 8th of September 1942 his Battalion was part of the first defeat of the Japanese Army and that same day was when the Japanese Army attacked Brigade Hill on the Kokoda Trail.
I see myself as one of the lucky ones, who had the luxury of learning from my Grandfather small snippets of his time serving our Country. However I also saw snippets of the impacts that this service has on returned Service Men & Women, their families, relationship struggles, communication breakdowns and the ripple effect on their career and future prospects once active service is complete.
With the prospect of a new generation of family members keen to take a career serving our Armed Forces, it is with eagerness that I dedicate my Kokoda Trek experience, to the support of our future, current and ex-service men and women by raising vital funds for “Soldier On”.
My goal is to raise $100 for every kilometer spent on the Kokoda Trek (96km), and to kick this off I personally have donated $10/km ($960) to my “Trek for Troops” campaign.