Honouring the bravery of family

Honouring the bravery of family

Family values and respect are an important part of Flying Officer Coomara Munro’s life.

His Air Force service continues his proud family legacy of serving Country.

This National Reconciliation Week (May 27 to June 3), he’s reflecting on the sacrifices of his great uncle Frank’s World War II service and how understanding history helps us move forward.

Aboriginal people have been defending Australia for generations. It’s a storyline that continues to be told through ongoing service.

Flying Officer Munro grew up on lands from South West Rocks through to Armidale and is a proud Gumbaynggirr man.

He joined the RAAF in 2003 as an Airfield Defence Guard and then commissioned to become a Personnel Capability Officer in 2019.

The desire to join was planted in his mind at a very early age. His grandma shared stories of Great Uncle Frank’s service in the war and there were his photographs on the wall.

“I think seeing Great Uncle Frank’s images on the wall and hearing the stories about what he did was a major reason why I joined but also family. I love my family and I am very proud of my culture as well which is why I wanted to join,” Flying Officer Munro.

Private Frank Richard Archibald was born in the Kempsey region and enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1940.

The eldest of 13 children to Frank and Sarah Archibald, he served in the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion of the 16th brigade in the 6th Division and saw conflict in Tobruk, Greece and New Guinea.

Aged just 27, he paid the ultimate sacrifice and was killed in action by an enemy sniper.

Flying Officer Munro is committed to ensure his story lives on through his family.

“Knowing the courage he showed and the sacrifices he made to enlist and serve at a time when he nor his kin were recognised as citizens makes me very proud to carry on that legacy. Not just for family and country but for Air Force and Australia as well,” Flying Officer Munro said.

“Great Uncle Frank was the eldest in his family which comes with special responsibilities in Indigenous culture and made going away an even bigger sacrifice.”

Flying Officer Munro planned to share his Great Uncle Frank’s story during National Reconciliation Week at a Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

This service was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions but Flying Officer Munro and his family still planned to connect through technology and make time for reflection on their family’s history.

“During Reconciliation Week I think that it’s important for people to reflect on past, present and future. What sacrifices people made but also how to understand and appreciate past history so that we can move forward in a more positive way,” Flying Officer Munro said.

“I understand the value of respect and family. I think that resonates with me personally both on a professional level and a cultural level as well.

“I think that’s something that Indigenous members bring to the Air Force in that we really do have an understanding of what it means to respect someone and to honour something for the greater good.”

National Reconciliation Week is about coming together regardless of your cultural identity. This year’s theme is ‘In this together’ and Flying Officer Munro hopes we can all talk about our past and the sacrifices we’ve made so that we can move forward together.


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