BOOK REVIEW by Paul Copeland

Modern Military Heroes, written by Narelle Biedermann, is a history of Australian Defence Force members who have shown extraordinary acts of selfless courage in dangerous circumstances. Biedermann illustrates this history with background factual data and personal stories from those men and women who detail individual accounts of their bravery.

Biedermann articulates the stories well, to give the reader an insight into each member's ordeal. Of note is the bravery of those who served in Kibeho, Rwanda, the first ever recipients of the Medal for Gallantry, including Australia's first female soldier, Major Carol Vaughan-Evans, MG. Carol is the only Australian woman to be awarded a Gallantry Decoration. Corporal Andrew Miller, MG, Section 2IC was the first ever soldier to be awarded a Gallantry Decoration since the Vietnam War. Indeed, the Australian Contingent to the Medical Support Force to the Second United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR II) rightly deserves special recognition.

Stories include acts of bravery in helicopter crashes in 1981, including the Blackhawk crash that took 18 fine Australian lives in June 1996. The latter of whom some of those killed were Peacekeeping veterans who had served in Somalia, Rwanda, and Western Sahara. The unselfish action of Corporal Dominic Boyle, SC, himself injured from the crash is an insight to the determination of those with the overwhelming adrenalin rush to save their mates.

Whether serving at home, or overseas, Biedermann records the deeds of our brave men and women of the Australian Defence Force in arduous, dangerous and life-threatening situations.