Australian Patrol Bases : Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. (F09580)

Australian War Memorial
Published on Jun 16, 2014

Australian Patrol Bases : Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. (F09580) A seventeen minute piece featuring the inhabitants and surrounds of Patrol Base Samad, one of the newer base in the Baluchi Valley of Uruzgan, and insight into Australian operations at Patrol Base Mirwais. It is a short flight on a Chinook resupply helicopter from the main Australian base in Tarin Kot to Patrol Base Samad. But when you arrive in the arid expanse around the base, you quickly get a sense of the isolation and remoteness of this small outpost. In this, the second of three commissioned documentaries produced by John Martinkus for the Memorial., John observes the arrival of new Australian troops to the remote Patrol Base Samad. With assistance from the Sergeant assigned to act as his contact officer, John clearly outlines the difficult living conditions, including physical hardships and threat of Taliban attacks, under which Australian troops worked whilst mentoring Afghan National Army troops in this remote Afghanistan base during 2011. Samad presents a strong visual contrast with Patrol Base Mirwais, which overlooks a green zone. John interviews several Australian personnel stationed there who provide frank insight into their experiences including close contacts with Taliban forces, while patrolling in the green zone. (Whilst here John also interviewed David Savage, a well-known Ausaid worker, who six months after filming was severely injured in a child suicide bomber attack .See Chris Masters' interview with David Savage on our YouTube channel.) This documentary was made from some of the twenty seven hours of footage shot by him during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 as the Memorial's official cinematographer. The film opens with a Chinook helicopter arriving at Patrol Base Samad, bringing personnel reinforcement, fuel for the generators, and a box of fruit for this remote base where all supplies arrive by helicopter or the occasional convoy. Moving to forward operating base Mirwais, a discussion is had with a returning Australian patrol about their activities and a recent ANA and Taliban contact. The image of a memorial to Australian serviceman, displaying the names of those who were killed in action while serving at the base, closes the piece.