Despite a war in Iraq Christmas soldiers on


THERE was no Christmas homecoming for Lismore airman Adam Jux.

Instead, the 29-year-old British Air Force Flight Lieutenant grabbed a quick Christmas dinner with a friend in Wales before returning to action in Iraq.

In Casino, Able Seaman Trent Shaw, who served on the HMAS Anzac last year and is now stationed in Perth, spent yesterday enjoying a game of golf with his father Andy.

"This is the first time in a long time that we've done this," Mr Shaw said, while sharing a beer with his son.

Part of Mr Shaw and wife Barbara's excitement at having Trent back for the holidays was getting to meet his five-month-old child.

On the other side of the region, in Ballina, two families are welcoming home daughters who formed a long-overdue friendship.

Corporal Sarah Longshaw and Corporal Gina Bond shared a room together while stationed in Iraq, and discovered they shared friends as well as a hometown.

Corporal Longshaw returned from Iraq recently with honours, having been awarded the Nursing Service Cross for providing medical aid to Iraqi soldiers and foreign civilians who were seriously injured in northern Iraq.

Both soldiers are now relaxing with their families, but said they hoped to catch up for a beer over the holidays at the Shaws Bay pub.

Returning home a little late this year will be Lieutenant Commander Tim Watson, who has served at sea since finishing a stint at Coalition Headquarters in Iraq early this year.

Mother Annette said Commander Watson would return to Lismore this week to share the rest of the holiday season with his family.

Cheryl Jux, mother of airman Adam Jux, said she spoke to her son by telephone on Christmas Day and, although she would prefer to have him home, could not begrudge him doing work he loved.

"I do worry, but he says: 'Mother, I have been trained for this. I know what I'm doing and it's my job'," Mrs Jux said.

"I say 'That's okay, so long as you are looking after yourself'.

"I like to know he's well and happy. It's good. Even though we are far apart, every couple of weeks he will call. He just sent me a box of perfume from Paris. Aren't you jealous?"

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