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Army September 3, 2009
By WO2 Graham McBean
WORK has started on a documentary that
will chart the journey of an infantry battal-
ion as it prepares to deploy to Afghanistan
The documentary will focus on the mental
and emotional dynamics of soldiers and their
families within 6RAR as the battalion prepares
for the 2010 operational cycle.
Reservist Maj Denny Neave, XO
4/3RNSWR, is a television producer and
author in civilian life and said it was a life-
long desire to produce a documentary on the
"Unfortunately, the reality is that the per-
ception of our diggers is what is normally seen
on the six o'clock news," Maj Neave said.
"I wanted to show the Australian public
that soldiers are brothers, sisters, fathers, sons
and daughters and that the guys and girls are
like you and me."
He said the completion of his 2008 book
Aussie Soldier: Up Close and Personal and his
recent book Aussie Soldier: Prisoners of War
had rekindled his desire to produce the docu-
mentary. "I want to remove the armoured exte-
rior that soldiers tend to stay behind and show
the more personal side of who the soldier is."
The opportunity to go forward with the
project came when OC D Coy 6RAR Maj
Garrath Williams approached Maj Neave (who
also edits Australian Infantry Magazine) for
Maj Williams had independently organised
a battlefield tour for 20 of his soldiers to Long
Tan for the 40th anniversary of the raising of
the Long Tan Cross.
The tour was self-funded but D Coy was
conducting its own fundraising to reduce the
costs for the soldiers selected, either through
their Champion Section competition or the old
faithful name drawn from a hat.
Maj Neave said the battlefield tour pro-
vided the perfect starting point for his docu-
"Straight away, I thought it was just such a
fantastic story in itself," Maj Neave said.
"The picture formed in my head then and
there and I hit [Maj Williams] up and said 'I
can't help with sponsorship, but I can produce
a documentary -- what do you think'?
"I was inspired by one OC who wanted to
do the right thing by the guys."
While Maj Neave and his film crew joined
the Long Tan tour, he also intends to broaden
the range of the documentary to include a
cross-section of the battalion's people.
"I want to focus on the whole fam-
ily dynamics because it is not just the soldiers
affected when they get deployed.
"There is a whole stream of people within
the soldiers' immediate surrounds that all go
through various states of preparedness them-
selves and I want to capture that."
DCO is partly sponsoring the project
because of the important welfare messages in
Maj Neave intends to market the documen-
tary to cable and free-to-air networks to garner
"I want to show the public that we send
one person overseas but there are a whole lot
of other people around the soldier that are also
doing their bit in the defence of the country."
cast long shadow
More to soldiers than meets the eye
Pausing to remember: The 6RAR colour party
gets ready to march out of St John's Cathedral in
Photo by Tpr Michael Franchi
Sign of respect: CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie lays a
wreath at the Vietnam memorial in Canberra.
Photo by LS Paul McCallum
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