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Jeffery Yoelu
Clan: Samu Augadhalaig
Totem: Cassowary
Sergeant
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Australian Regular Army

Medals and Awards
Australian Active Service Medal with clasps ICAT and Iraq 2003
International Force East Timor Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal
United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor Medal
Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF
Infantry Combat Badge
Return from Active Service Badge

 

My name is Jeffery Yoelu, and I am a proud descendant of the Samu Clan of Saibai Island, in the Torres Straits. When I was a child growing up in Cairns, in the sleepy suburb of Machans Beach, my friends and I would run around playing Army soldiers in the bushland around our home. I remember my Athe (Grandfather) buying me an Army uniform from the disposal shop, and I would wear it all the time, pretending I was Rambo. 

I’m proud to say my Athe Mapea, along with his siblings, was a member of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion – the only Indigenous Battalion raised in Australia’s military history during wartime. Fast-forward a few years. At the age of nineteen, my Army games in the backyard would become a reality; I joined the Australian Regular Army on June 3, 1997. I still remember stepping off the bus at Wagga Wagga at the Recruit Training Battalion, a long way from the North Queensland warmth of home, to start my life as a soldier… and what a life it’s been.

I have experienced postings across Australia, including operational deployments to East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan, along with training exercises in Malaysia, Thailand, and Germany. I reached the rank of Sergeant and during my time, I held many jobs, such as Section Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Mobile Fire Controller, Reserve Depot Commander, and Sergeant Instructor at the Warrant Officer & Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.  I served my country for fifteen years. 

Now, over a decade after leaving the Army, I have been serving my country in another way… I am currently the Manager of Land Use Management at the Northern Land Council, consulting Traditional Owners regarding third-party interest in Aboriginal land. I am proud to be still serving my country and helping our own countrymen on the ground in the Northern Territory.