Tears as Nate returns home
THE family of fallen soldier Private Nathan Bewes were finally able to see their loved one return to Australian soil yesterday.
With the mournful note of a piper and the muffled beat of the drum, Pte Bewes’ flag-draped coffin was carried from the C-17 Globemaster aircraft by a bearing party made up of his 6RAR mates.
His casket was carried past an honour guard and presented to his waiting family in a moving ceremony at the RAAF Amberley Airbase.
His father Gary, mother Kay, sister Stephanie and fiancee Alice Walsh heard the 23-year-old rifleman was “a warrior with a true heart”.
Pte Bewes, from Murwillumbah but based out of Brisbane, was killed by a roadside bomb on July 9 and was the 17th Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Commander of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Paul McLachlan, promised his family and comrades his sacrifice would not be forgotten.
“Nathan Bewes was a warrior with a true heart and a sense of humour,” he said.
“He was a lead scout in his section. The scout leads the way for the rest of the patrol; he selects the path forward; he is the spear tip that protects the main body of the section.
“He takes more risks on behalf of those who follow behind him so they may remain safe. We only put our best out front. It takes courage, talent and experience, and more importantly, it takes the trust of the rest of your mates that you can do the job for them.
“Nathan Bewes had all these characteristics in spades – he knew how dangerous his job was and yet he continued to go outside the wire day after day with a smile on his face because he was looking after his mates and he knew no one could do it as well as he could.”
Brig McLachlan said that in an era when the quality of Gen Y was often questioned, the sacrifice of Pte Bewes showed the quality of young Australians.
“He deserves a place alongside his Anzac forebears for his courage, his selflessness and his commitment,” Brig McLachlan said. Defence Minister John Faulkner, Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and Acting Chief of Army Major General Paul Symon also attended.
A memorial service will be held at Enoggera today but details of the funeral for Pte Bewes have not yet been announced.
“He deserves a place alongside his Anzac forebears for his courage, his selflessness and his commitment.”