Silent hero to feature in NY film premiere

16/10/2009 9:50:00 AM

Corporal Kevin Campbell of Australian Army unit Alpha Company,4RAR,with a local Timorese girl,East
Corporal Kevin Campbell of Australian Army unit Alpha Company,4RAR,with a local Timorese girl,East

Eden ex-soldier, Kevin Campbell features in a documentary that will premiere at the New York International Film Festival from October 22 to 29.

The film, 'Timor Tour of Duty' made by Australian film-maker and former Australian soldier, Sasha Uzunov, is an independent documentary about the East Timor conflict.

Although Mr Campbell isn't in the film, the role he played in a shoot-out that occurred between Australian soldiers from unit Alpha Company, 4RAR, and militia on June 14, 2001 is discussed.

Deliberately shot in hand-held camcorder home video style and interwoven with soldier's actual footage, the documentary focuses on the experiences of two Australian soldiers, Scott Sherwin and 'Pete' who discuss the brave actions of their patrol commander at the time, Corporal Kevin Campbell.

The shoot-out was controversial because the official role of Australian and American forces was one of peacekeeping but when the group came under fire and grenade attack close to the border, there were political ramifications.

There were also suspicions that the attack was carried out by the Indonesian Army's (TNI) Special Forces, Kopassus, dressed up as militia.

Mr Uzunov said: "A United Nations investigation was launched and the members of One-Two-Alpha were forbidden to talk about the incident but were later cleared of any wrongdoing. Mr Campbell was given a UN Commander's Commendation certificate but missed out on an Australian Army bravery medal."

Mr Campbell finds it difficult to talk about his experiences but supported Mr Uzunov's decision to make the film.

"I didn't want to bring up the past, but my two young blokes, my diggers, needed that opportunity to get a few things off their chest, express their feelings and so forth," Mr Campbell said.

"When [the shoot-out] occurred, it was just training and instinct that kicked in for me and my diggers, you just go into this automatic mode."

Mr Campbell is choosing not to view the film.

"Just because, that's a time in my life that I'm letting go," he said.

The fighting left its mark on all three men and in the film, 'Pete' talks about his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the side effects of taking an anti-malaria drug whilst in East Timor.


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