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NewsSADFA remembers the fallen

SADFA remembers the fallen
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SADFA held their monthly breakfast at Garden Terrace on Saturday and a parade in remembrance of their fallen comrades.

The SADFA monthly breakfast is open to all military veterans and offers an opportunity to reminisce and remember the past services.

It is also a time to be updated on SADFA plans and projects

This Saturday was different though.

The yearly Pro Patria Parade was also held but at Makumbura Shellhole (Moths)

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This parade is held every year on the second Saturday of February to honour those who died in the Border War, but also the fallen soldiers involved in all wars.

sadfa
Gerhard Claasen and Kevin Oliver

Here is a little background on the Medal:

The Pro Patria medal was also referred to as the haemorrhoid medal because every serviceman got one, but in reality, its meaning is much more.

“Pro Patria” is Latin and it means “for one`s country”, “vir jou land”.  The Pro Patria medal was awarded to all members of the South African Defense Force that was Engaged in preventing or combating terrorism.

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Pro Patria medal

It is primarily viewed as “the border war” medal, for active service in South West Africa (Namibia)   It was awarded between 1975 and 1991.   The award criteria were that it may be awarded to a person who, while serving in the defence of the Republic, or for the prevention or suppression of terrorism # Was involved in combat or skirmish or in a combat situation with the enemy

# Participated in a specific operation that shall be acknowledged by order of the minister by means of the medal and clasp indicating the name of the operation concerned

# Rendered such service for a continuous period of at least 60 days in an operational area designated for that purpose by the minister. This ruling made the Pro Patria medal a combat award

One gets many Pro Patria medals on eBay or on a bid or buy for about R400. That’s the average price for a medal, but it’s worth a lot more, and each medal has its own story.

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Is R400 enough to compensate for all the final light preparations, being ready at all times and walking patrol with a kit that weighs approximately your body mass?

Can compensate for all the flies on Oshivello, the 2.4`s, pole-pt, tire-flip, push-ups and more.

Can R400 reimburse the men who did not return or parts of some that stayed behind?

Also read: Heritage Day celebrated by SADFA

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How much does it cost for the ops medic’s thoughts that had to try and compose a body of their mates’ body parts before he could send them back in a body bag to the States (South Africa)?

Or where they had to crawl into burned-out wrecks to find something to send home.

R400 for the troop hit by a rifle grenade, where his palate was pressed vertically in his mouth so that his teeth rotated 90°. Or that someone that stepped on a “Black Widow” and lost his foot.


Is R400 worth remembering the heat when you walk out at the “Flossie” on Ondangwa, or when you at last light Take your tb (temporary base) for the night, or the anticipation and adrenaline rush when you lie in ambush at night? Either the cattle of uncle willie’s road or a buffalo driving between Ondangwa and Eenhana.

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Lockheed Hercules C130: “Flossie”

Who knows, for R400 you might get a story that everyone knows or maybe even one that no one knows about.

Maybe the story of the troop that was “casevac” (casualty evacuated), and asked where his hand was, everyone said his hand was OK because the truth would have sent him into shock. His hand stayed behind at Mpacha in the woods.

Or for the guy who got shrapnel through his back, and they had to remove it through his stomach, where he screamed of the pain, while he could only receive morphine every 4 hours.

Those Pro Patria medals were bought with blood and tears and are worth much more than a mere R400.

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Think of the team of doctors who removed a live rifle grenade stuck in the ribcage of the troop of 32 battalion. What a story.

Oliveira Martin Gomes was struck by a M-60 anti-personnel rifle grenade that lodged in his chest

Others’ memories come with animals, such as the troop of the mounted unit who just wanted to fire and move, but fell every time. He tried but couldn’t understand why he fell until he realized his leg was no longer there. It was way back with his horse, left behind when they stepped on a landmine. Did that horse not also deserve a medal?

Or maybe the story of rifleman Schonefield who died while trying to save his dog “Rinty” who was shot in an ambush with about 40 Swapo soldiers. Both Schonefield and Rinty died in the skirmish.

Even the medic, Louw, was wounded in the shoulder when he wanted to go help Schonefield.

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Read the story here

Others did not get a Pro Patria, such as Sister Wilna Gouws, a civvie (civilian) who jumped on a partner’s bed and sat wide-legged on top of him as she tried to get his heart going again. All in vain! Thank you for your service, Sister!

To get. In vain. Thank you for your service sister.

Every Pro Patria medal has a story.

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For some, it was nothing, for others it was all because there will always be a part of him left behind, somewhere between Namibia and Angola.

Maybe it can be explained, but most will not understand

To all who have received it, bear it with pride.

I salute you and thank you for your service.

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SADFA remembers the fallen

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