torika bolatagici

Soldier honours his fathers memory

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2008 at 9:07 pm
Friday, February 29, 2008

A Fijian man who has been awarded the Military Cross during a tour of duty with the British Army in Iraq has dedicated his award to his late dad and namesake.

Private Jokini Sivoinauca, 26, of Wailevu in Kadavu is based in Edinburgh. He is one of the few Fijian soldiers to have received the medal.

Private Sivoinauca received the Military Cross from Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on December 14 last year.

Speaking from his home in Nadera yesterday, the Kadavu man had no difficulties relating the experience that almost cost him his life but earned him a medal for bravery.

“I’m glad to be alive and I thank God for his loving hands. I dedicate this award to my late dad and I know he would be proud of me if he was still alive,” said Private Sivoinauca.

According to a report in a Scottish newspaper last year, Private Sivoinauca and three others were trying to occupy an isolated check-point at a police station in Basra, Iraq, when he spotted insurgents with rocket propelled grenades.

As they fired at him he held them back to enable the rest of his battalion to reach safety.

“I wouldn’t say it’s because of me, it’s because of everyone,” he said.

“Everyone did their part in the job, that’s why we suffered less casualties than the insurgents and I think it’s very important to all the operations in Iraq.

“I’m a British soldier so we expect nothing less than perfect.”

He told the newspaper that the whole village was out there that day and they were heavily outnumbered.

Private Sivoinauca said he did not consider his own safety during the attack because there lives were in danger. He was shot in the chest but was saved by his belt.

His father died in 1999 but Private Sivoinauca was glad his mother, Unaisi Tuvou from Talaulia in Nabukelevu, Kadavu was at Buckingham Palace to see him receive his the medal from the Queen.

“Seeing my mum there to witness the occasion was a real great joy for me.”

Private Sivonauca was educated at Delainamasi Government School in Nasinu and later, at Queen Victoria School from 1993 to1998.

He represented the Fiji Under-19 rugby league team which played in the Cook Islands.

Private Sivoinauca joined the British Army in 2000 and has served on overseas missions in Cyprus, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Falklands, Northern Ireland and twice in Iraq.

The only other known recipients of the medal were six senior Fijian officers including the late Lieutenant Livai Nasilivata for various acts of bravery during the Malayan campaign from 1952 to 1956.

The Military Cross is the third highest medal of gallantry in the British Army awarded to servicemen in the line of duty.

The highest is the Victoria Cross which is usually awarded to people who have been killed (posthumously) but had shown bravery in the line of duty. Fiji’s only recipient was the late Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu.

Private Sivoinauca returns to his Scotland Base next Monday.


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