Joseph West
Murrawarri Man
Lieutenant Colonel
Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps
Australian Army

Australian Active Service Medal
Afghanistan Medal
Australian Service Medal
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal
Non Article 5 NATO Medal


I joined the Army as a soldier in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals when I was 18. I was fortunate to later complete the Army year 12 course, and subsequently was accepted into the Royal Military College, Duntroon, where I graduated as a Lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineers. I was fortunate to be later accepted into a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I served for 21 years in the Regular Army and continue to serve in the Army Reserves. My Pop’s brother, Private Harold West, and his cousin, Private George Leonard, both served and died in Kokoda. Their sacrifice, like many other Indigenous soldiers, was not properly recognised. Of the many things I have done in the Army, I am proud to have led the Honouring Warrior Spirits program, where we recognised fallen Indigenous soldiers at Gallipoli in 2015 and returned soil from Gallipoli to the Australian War Memorial. These soldiers served at a time when Indigenous Australians were not allowed to join the Army, and as a result, their service was never fully recognised.