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#711 Analyse, Decide, Execute - Matina Jewell

At 23, Captain Matina Jewell found herself at sea in charge of one thousand (mostly male) soldiers, when her senior officer (a Major) took ill and two weeks after setting for on the ship foot the first time (and just having been promoted to Captain from Lieutenant), she was elevated to ‘acting Major’ (a role she never relinquished). Major Jewell was the first female in the Army to complete the physically demanding Navy Diver course, the only Australian (and only female) at the dangerous ‘PB Khiam’ UN patrol base at the border junction of Israel, Syria and Lebanon, she received nine military service medals, was a star graduate from the Australian Army’s prestigious Royal Military College Duntroon and had a distinguished military career, culminating with a coveted posting to serve as part the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Middle East. After full-scale war erupted between Israel and Lebanon, she was seriously injured (five fractured and crushed vertebrae plus nerve damage and other internal injuries) while commanding a UN convoy through war-torn Lebanon and had to be evacuated. Her injuries ended her military career and tragically, most of Matina’s colleagues – her ‘brothers’ – were tragically killed. Matina wrote about her experiences in her memoir ‘Caught in the Crossfire’, a frighteningly dramatic first-hand account of what really happens in modern warfare and the high price our soldiers pay for their country. Her story was featured in a two-part ABC Australian Story documentary. This woman is amazing. Enjoy.