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Remembering a fallen giant

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Honouring the life and sacrifice of a young RAAF doctor

On 6 February 2015, a group of family and friends gathered at the Australian War Memorial for a Last Post ceremony to remember the life and sacrifice of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) medical officer, Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy. Paul died in the Sea King helicopter disaster in 2005 while on a humanitarian mission to Indonesia.

Paul, a 1997 graduate in medicine from the University of Queensland, received undergraduate sponsorship from the RAAF. After completing his residency in Nambour, he undertook officer training at RAAF Base Williams at Point Cook in Victoria, before serving as a senior medical officer at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia. He saw overseas service in Kyrgyzstan and East Timor. In response to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, he was part of the Australian Defence Force medical team in Banda Aceh. After only 3 days back in Australia, he returned to Indonesia on HMAS Kanimbla following the 2005 Sumatra earthquake. While approaching the island of Nias, a mechanical failure caused the helicopter to crash, killing nine servicemen and women, including Paul.

Paul McCarthy with his godson Lachlan Weinrauch.
Reproduced with permission.