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March 9, 2017
Cpl Mark Doran
SEVEN ADF Nordic Skiing
and Biathlon Association mem-
bers spent Australia Day in the
heart of the Bavarian Alps for
a British military nordic skiing
and biathlon competition.
They competed in Exercise
Rucksack 2017, the British
National, Interservice and
Army Championships, held in
Ruhpolding, Bavaria (German),
at the Cheimgau Arena from
January 20 to February 15.
Exercise Rucksack is the
British military’s pinnacle cham-
pionship in nordic skiing and
biathlon, with top-performing
members being selected to rep-
resent Great Britain at world cup
and Olympic levels.
The biathlon involved cross-
country skiing and competition
shooting in the prone and stand-
The ADF contingent com-
peted against biathletes from the
British Army, Royal Air Force,
Royal Navy, Royal Marines and
a German Army Reserve team, as
well as civilian visitors.
Their aim was to foster good-
will and esprit de corps while
enhancing courage, initiative,
teamwork, fitness and resil-
ience in a challenging alpine
Capt William Miles, of
HQJOC, said it was a highlight
to see the standard of world-class
athletes who were in the process
of being selected to represent
“It was a privilege to represent
Australia and the ADF in an inter-
national biathlon,” he said.
“The military patrol was the
most physically demanding activ-
ity, especially the challenging
water jerry carry on the snow in
“It was great to work as part
of a triservice team, as I had not
worked with Air Force and Navy
in a sport before.
“We gave it all we had and we
did very well in the storyboard
Cpl Mark Doran
THE ninth annual Sgt Matthew
Locke, MG, Charity Match
drew its largest ever crowd at
Bellingen, NSW, on February
Players and spectators hon-
oured the local SASR trooper
who was killed in Afghanistan
in 2007, with the highlight being
the charity league match between
Army Thunder and the Bellingen
The day included local match-
es as well as the Navy Tridents
playing the 2016 Group 2
Premiers South Grafton, while the
Air Force Jets played Macksville.
The local community was
joined by NSW Governor Gen
David Hurley (retd) and Cpl Ben
Roberts-Smith, VC, MG.
Fullback and co-captain Pte
Mahn Darley, of 5CSSB, has
played in the last eight Sgt Locke
charity games and said it was an
“The day was fantastic.
Bellingen puts a show on for us
in Tassie trip
Skiers on target
every year so it was extra special
to have the Navy and Air Force
teams there,” he said.
“We always go with the mind-
set of winning, but everyone just
wants to be here because it’s such
a worthy cause.
“Compared to the games we
play throughout the year, this is
the one for which everyone really
wants to put the Thunder jersey
“It was challenging because
we had 13 debutantes in the team.
We strung together some good
quarters and had a few lulls, but
we ground out the win.
“Matty is deep within our
hearts, as well the other guys who
served and unfortunately lost their
lives – it’s the reason we’re here.”
During the main match the
Magpies trailed 16-0 after only
22 minutes, but once they wrested
back momentum Thunder were
forced to hang on for dear life.
Even when the Army team
extended the lead to 12 points,
and with less than 15 minutes to
play, there was a sense the
storyline of this contest had
another major plot twist in it.
It came when Bellingen put
the Magpies two points down
with a kick to come.
The kick missed, leaving
Thunder relieved to walk away
with a two-point win for the sec-
ond year in a row, 30-28.
In the other ADF matches,
South Grafton Rebels defeated
Navy Tridents, while the Air
Force Jets beat the Macksville
All profits from the successful
day went to Grub Club, Soldier
On, Fernmount Rural Fire Service
and Bellingen Junior Rugby
In memory of fallen soldier
LCpl Christopher O’Shannessy
attempts to brush off a defender
from the Bellingen Magpies during
the league game in memory of
Sgt Matthew Locke, MG.
Photo: LS Tom Gibson
Biathletes head to Europe for British competition
stand, where we were one of the
highest performing teams.”
The ADF has been sending
teams to participate in Exercise
Rucksack for 12 years.
Lead-up training for the 2017
competition was held in Austria
and Italy and comprised 10 days
of skiing and technique develop-
ment sessions in arduous condi-
The team then moved to
Ruhpolding where members
participated in eight races over
21⁄2 weeks, including the sprint
(7.5km) and Olympic (20km)
events, and the team relay.
The competition culminated
with a 30km military patrol race
in which members navigated to
checkpoints carrying military
equipment and rifles.
The ADF Nordic Skiing and
Biathlon Association promotes
cross-country skiing and biath-
lon with the annual two-week
Exercise Coolshot, which is run
by the Army, Navy and Air Force
Nordic biathlon and skiing asso-
ciations at Mount Hotham in the
heart of the Victorian Alps.
For more information, visit http://
Maj Matthew Finnerty
HEALTHY river run-off greeted members of the
Army White Water Association (AWWA) during
Exercise Tasmanian Rivers.
The white-water kayaking activity ran in January
and exposed new members to the discipline and gave
existing members an opportunity to maintain their
With the varying skill levels, water levels and
access to rivers, the activity included training on
the Derwent River near Hobart with a confirma-
tion of skills on the King River near Queenstown on
Tasmania’s west coast.
OIC WO2 Robert Godfrey, of 5 Avn Regt, said
goals for the 16 ADF personnel on the adventurous
training exercise included building resilience and
developing qualities they could use in the military
“It was designed for members of all services with a
range of competency in white water kayaking skills,”
“It was also an excellent tool for the recently quali-
fied unit adventurous training leaders (UATL) to con-
firm skills while exposing novices to the sport.”
The School of Armour’s Tpr Sam Morrison, who
qualified as a UATL in October last year, said his skill-
fade was noticeable, despite being at a high standard
only months earlier.
“White water kayaking is not like disciplines where
the skill is ticking off a checklist or taking actions
broken down by numbers and re-learned on the job,”
“The rapids will catch you out if your skills have
dropped. They won’t slow down or give you time to
remember what you have forgotten.
“I feel more confident I will be able to stay upright
on the river to keep my participants safe.”
The challenge he and other UATLs now face is
finding sufficient opportunities to maintain the instinc-
tive muscle memory and skills needed to do white
water kayaking activities safely.
ADF personnel can join the AWWA for a $12 fee
for two years, with equipment and safety instruction
for the association’s activities provided.
For more information visit the DRN AWWA SharePoint site.
A member of the Army White Water Association
in action during Exercise Tasmanian Rivers.
Above: Capt William
Miles, left, and LAC
Stuart Reed shoot
down range during
at the Cheimgau
Left: ADF biathletes
meet Brig Ian Bell,
of the British Army.
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