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February 9, 2017
Head of Regiment Brig Craig Furini presents the JNCO of the Year award
to Bdr Aaron Bamford, of 20 STA Regt, at Puckapunyal late last year.
Pte Julia Whitwell
and Pte Renee Breeze
MALAYSIAN disaster relief
experts found themselves waist-
deep in the grass on a NSW farm
during a visit to discuss emer-
gency planning strategies.
The outdoor excursion came
as the Australian Civil Military
Centre (ACMC) hosted Malaysian
Armed Forces Lt-Col Mohd Fouzi
bin Sulaiman and Royal Malaysia
Police Dept-Supt Ignatius Francis
in their five-week International
Attached Officers’ Program that fin-
ished in December.
The program, run by
International Policy Division,
focused on humanitarian assistance
and disaster relief (HADR), com-
paring differences between the two
countries’ management systems.
Dept-Supt Ignatius said seeing
more of the landscape highlighted
similarities between the two coun-
tries’ management systems.
“I think that’s fantastic, because
you have the mechanism to help
countries hit by cyclones or disas-
ters or other crises,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to visit
the humanitarian aid and disaster
relief organisations – police, mili-
tary, and civilian agencies.”
Lt-Col Fouzi said he noticed
Australia didn’t have a national dis-
aster coordination centre which he
identified as a challenge.
Pte Renee Breeze
‘LEAD by example’ was a sentiment
shared by junior leaders who were
recognised for their values and lead-
ership in a combined unit parade at
Puckapunyal on Remembrance Day
The inaugural awards ‘Gunner of
the Year’ and ‘JNCO of the Year’ were
presented to Bdr Jacob Aitchison,
of 8/12 Regt RAA, and Bdr Aaron
Bamford, of 20 STA Regt, respectively,
for their leadership and technical skills.
With staff thin on the ground and
preparation for the ready battery exer-
cise at the end of the year, Bdr Bamford
said that 2016 had been the most
intense year of his career.
“It was pretty crazy,” he said.
“I didn’t feel like I was any busier
than the other full-tracks in my troop.
“I enjoy my work though, I think
20 STA Regt operates through two
cycles, ‘readying’ and ‘ready’, so the
unit is constantly training gunners to
step into the next level of their career.
A large part of Bdr Bamford’s role
is mentoring soldiers.
“Some of my goals are orientated
towards helping my diggers out with
their own goals,” he said.
“It motivates me to see them grasp
new concepts and excel.”
Bdr Bamford was bashful about
being publicly recognised and preferred
to keep his head down.
“To be honest, being in the spotlight
is not something I enjoy,” he said.
“I’m honoured to have been put for-
ward for the award.
“A pat on the back and ‘good job
mate’, I’m fairly happy with that.”
Bdr Bamford said mutual and self-
respect was the basis of his leadership
“I’ve had a few great mentors over
the years and I’ve tried to incorporate
what I admired from their leadership
style into mine,” he said.
“I don’t expect anything of my dig-
gers that I’m not displaying myself.
“That’s essentially my belief struc-
Although he’s no longer a gunner,
Bdr Aitchison was on his Subject One
for Cpl course when he heard the news
of his commendation.
“I was rehearsing a theory assign-
ment when the senior instructor said my
RSM wanted to talk to me,” he said.
“He put the CO on, the CO put the
Head of Regiment on and I started to
think, ‘okay, what’s going on.’ ”
“He just said, ‘congratulations’ and
told me I’d got an award.”
Bdr Aitchison was promptly pro-
moted when he returned to his unit and
said despite his new rank, he treated his
diggers with the same respect as previ-
“I try to make sure no one has any
grudges with me throughout the year,”
“I work for the guys I work with.”
Still surprised by his commendation,
Bdr Aitchison said he put his best effort
into his work and focused on positive
“Aside from a few formalities I have
to observe, I work with the team the
same way as before,” he said.
“I do everything to the best of my
“Each state has their own stand-
ard, but there isn’t just one centre
for specialist training, so there’s no
one point of contact,” he said.
ACMC Military Adviser Col Jim
Burns said he thought the program
achieved the desired outcomes.
“The observations that both
Lt-Col Fouzi and Dept-Supt
Ignatius have given us will be very
useful for us to do some introspec-
tive viewing of who we are, what
we do and how we do business,”
Col Burns said.
“The briefings they’ve given us
have been very useful.”
The delegation also toured local
landmarks and properties to get
experience of how they are run.
Col Burns said getting time
outside brought context to their dis-
“The diagram is one thing but
the reality of how these organisa-
tions interact with us, and how
that flows down, is a very different
thing,” he said.
“There’s a human interaction
and you can’t present that in a
“Wandering around on the farm,
getting away from a formal environ-
ment so people can chat is a differ-
ent experience,” he said.
Col Burns said the relationship
“It’s like having two more mem-
bers of the Australian Civil Military
Centre, they’re just in Malaysia,”
Disaster relief talks
Disaster relief experts Dept-Supt Ignatius Francis, Col Jim Burns
and Lt-Col Mohd Fouzi bin Sulaiman undertook HADR training as
part of the International Attached Officers’ Program. Photo: Cpl Max Bree
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