Army Reservist's emotional return to deadly Kangaroo Island fireground

Army Reservist Kynan Lang shares Kangaroo Island's bushfire loss after relatives die

National News
Reservist Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang pays respect to his uncle Dick and cousin Clary at the spot where they died on January 3, returning from fire fighting.

Reservist Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang pays respect to his uncle Dick and cousin Clary at the spot where they died on January 3, returning from fire fighting.

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Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang is the nephew of Dick Lang and cousin of Clary Lang.

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One of the Army heroes here helping Kangaroo Island through its bushfire crisis lost two of his own family in the disaster.

Reservist Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang, from 9th Combat Service Support Battalion, is the nephew of Dick Lang and cousin of Clary Lang.

The two men died on the Playford Highway at Gosse while heading back to their property on Friday, January 3, after helping to fight the fire like so many other valiant farm firefighting units.

Lieutenant Lang and his army colleagues on Tuesday visited the site to pay their respects and erect a monument to the two fallen. The memorial was constructed by members of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME).

The family burial will take place in Adelaide on Friday and a service will also be held simultaneously on KI. Lieutenant Lang is currently deployed as part of Operation Bushfire Assist.

Lt. Lang said Operation Bushfire Assist was a part of the Army's effort to come here and help locals.

"I have had an opportunity to attend and come along to the island to be a part of that. My connection to the island is through my surname," he said.

"I live in the Adelaide Hills and my family are Adelaideians. My family came on the HMS Buffalo, which is part of the Glenelg History. I'm a 6th generation South Australian. We are pretty proud local South Australians.

"My father Daryl is one of four. And his elder brother is Richard. Better known as Dick Lang. He has four sons. Clayton Lang was his youngest.

Reservist Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang and his Army colleagues pay respect to his uncle Dick and cousin Clary at Gosse.

Reservist Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kynan Lang and his Army colleagues pay respect to his uncle Dick and cousin Clary at Gosse.

"We acknowledge that as a family and we want to carry on doing what they wanted to do.

"Uncle Rich and Clary were here because they love Kangaroo Island. This was their passion and they have a hobby farm here. They love coming here and being a part of the island.

"On the day that the fires flared up they were here helping local families with their farm vehicle and their trailer on the back. They were helping put out fires. It was at the time that they were driving toward Gosse that it appears they were having trouble with their vehicle and they were overcome by the fire.

"Yes, Clary and Dick were trying to help the local community and they were doing everything they could to do that. When they had been caught out by the fire and sadly died, I feel that being a part of the Lang family, if I could go there and pick up that baton and carry on with their ability to help the community do anything help do that in my best efforts.

"The Army reserve have given me that opportunity to be involved and I at the earliest time I could said I'd like to come and be a part of this.

"In context, when it all began. I live in the Adelaide Hills and was at a market place with my family supporting the local area there. We had a news advice come on my phone that the fires in KI had become quite serious. There was a headline that two people had been killed. I felt that was tragic and sad and recognised the fires were more than people could handle.

"When I got home, my father Daryl had rang me with the tragic news that his brother had been killed and my cousin had died trying to help him. It was pretty hard and it made it quite a real thing when you see the media and you see people loose their lives. It's tragic. But when it's your own blood, that makes it hard."

"As an Army reservist, we wear this uniform with pride. I certainty wear my families name on my right breast with pride. And it wasn't until I'm dealing with the memories with the members of the community on KI that my name just shown through. I didn't have to say anything.

"One of the hardest ones was when I was at the airport and Dick Lang, my uncle was a mad pilot. He took anyone anywhere. There was a man at the airport, he didn't have to say anything. He came up to me and saw my name. He extended his hand and we shook hands.

"Without a word spoken we looked at each other, nodded our heads and we had to walk away. It was amazing. He later came and we had a moment to talk. He and my uncle were good mates. He extended his condolences and I've passed on to the family.

"We are happy to be here and helping the community. If there is anything they ask us to do we'll give it a damn good go. Op Bushfire Assist has given me the opportunity to bring the training that I've spent years doing into reality.

"My role in this operation is organizing people to go from A to B, or goods or food or anything. We've had hay on the back of Army trucks. We've sadly buried those livestock that have been burned in the fire. And we've continued to feed and water the local community.

"I feel that I've been involved because I've been able to organize that in a timely and efficient manner and make it as quick as I can. And certainly with the request coming through we urge anyone to come forward and to ask of us what they need."

The story Army Reservist's emotional return to deadly Kangaroo Island fireground first appeared on The Islander.

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