PRIVATE Nathan Bewes’ final journey home to Murwillumbah began with a moving service at Tarin Kowt overnight Monday.
The 23-year-old, who was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device on July 9, was farewelled by his mates from the 1st Mentoring Task Force, including Australians and representatives from other nations at the base.
Task force Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings told the troops Pte Bewes was a soldier who displayed absolute courage and commitment to his job.
“Nate embodied all of what we seek in an Australian soldier,” Lieutenant Colonel Jennings said.
“He had the moral courage to go out almost every day into harm’s way and the self-discipline to continue doing so despite the dangers that he faced – this ethos is the mark of the Australian soldier.
“Nate was well known throughout the battalion and was highly regarded by all who knew him.”
The Australian flag-draped casket was moved through an honour guard before being placed in an Australian C-130J Hercules to commence the final flight home.
The body of Pte Bewes will make its way home to Murwillumbah in coming days. A funeral date has not yet been set.
Lieutenant Colonel Jennings spoke of the impact on the family of Private Bewes, including dad Gary, mum Kay and sister Stephanie.
“We cannot forget the grief of his loved ones who anxiously await his return and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
He said the Task Force must not let the sacrifice of Private Bewes be forgotten.
“Our grief at his loss is a mark of respect for a true mate who has never faltered in his endeavours and has laid down his life for a noble cause.
“We will continue this difficult but worthy mission with a sense of purpose born from sacrifice and we will not falter in our endeavours.”