Home' Army News : September 17th 2009 Contents 2 NEWS
Army September 17, 2009
The Soldiers' Newspaper
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of Defence, Canberra ACT 2600
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Defence or Army.
By Michael Brooke
WHEN then Cpl Darrin Gibson
retired from the Army after 19
years of distinguished service, he
moved his family to Kinglake in
Victoria, where his dream of a new
life was engulfed by the flames of
the Black Saturday bushfire.
Mr Gibson lost everything he val-
ued in the fire -- most tragically, his
wife and three children, as well as
all their possessions.
But he has slowly started to
recover thanks to help from mem-
bers of his extended Army family,
who have added new meaning to the
The former Army radio operator
was the special guest at a recent 17
Sig Regt dining-in night, where he
was made an honorary unit member
and given a new Toyota Hilux and
other gifts to help him get his life
back on track.
CO 17 Sig Regt Lt-Col Susan
Coyle told Mr Gibson he would
always have 17 Sig Regt as members
of his extended Army family.
"We hope that with all the raf-
By Michael Brooke
17 SIG Regt marked its third anni-
versary in grand style by unveil-
ing its newest recruit -- a 240kg
African male lion.
The lion is the regiment's new
mascot and has been inducted into
the Army as Sig Mercury.
Sig Mercury, service number
MA481, met the members of his
new extended Army family at
17 Sig Regt's anniversary parade at
Holsworthy Barracks on August 28.
He roared with pride when he
was introduced to the soldiers and
their gobsmacked families.
He demonstrated the discipline
expected of soldiers, showing great
restraint not to bite the hand of Lt-
Col Susan Coyle, CO 17 Sig Regt,
when she fed him chunks of beef.
She said the unit worked hard to
obtain Sig Mercury and thus resur-
rect the tradition of having a lion as
its mascot. Sig Mercury is the sec-
ond lion mascot for the unit, whose
emblem is a roaring lion's head.
"The lion's head directly links
17 Sig Regt with a predecessor unit,
2 Sig Regt, which had a lion -- Sig
Mercury Anne -- as its mascot," Lt-
Col Coyle said.
Members of 17 Sig Regt said
Army mateship rises from the ashes
Part of the family: Bushfire survivor Darrin Gibson shows off the Toyota Hilux
provided by his former colleagues at 17 Sig Regt.
Photo by Bill Cunneen
Sig makes it as
new mane man
LEGISLATION was introduced on
September 9 to put in place an interim
military justice system after the
Australian Military Court (AMC) was
invalidated by the High Court last month.
The Government has reintroduced
the former system of trials by court
martial and Defence Force magistrates
to ensure ADF members are treated
"The interim legislation will give
effect to punishments -- other than
imprisonment -- and orders that were
imposed by the former AMC," Defence
Minister John Faulkner said.
OUT OF THE FIRE
An account, In Trust Fund for
Darrin Gibson, has been set up
with Defcredit for donations.
Account name: Susan Coyle
BSB: 803 205
Member number: (for Defcredit
members only): 16773
Account number: 207 807 57
fles, auctions and other fundraisers,
we have helped you to recover in
some small way from such a trag-
edy," she said.
"But, perhaps most important of
all, is that you know we will be here
for you the rest of your life."
Mr Gibson said the generosity
of his Army mates was overwhelm-
ing. "This is just fantastic as it really
speaks volumes about the generosity
and sincerity of Army mateship."
Miss World Australia 2007,
Carolyn Pembroke, presented Mr
Gibson with the keys of his new
Hilux. He then treated her to a quick
test drive around 17 Sig Regt.
Mr Gibson showed his apprecia-
tion for the support he has received
by presenting a large flat-screen
television to the All Ranks club at
17 Sig Regt.
Lt-Col Coyle said the regi-
ment had teamed up with T-bone
Productions and Sydney City Toyota
to help out the bushfire survivor,
who personified the Army values of
"courage, initiative and teamwork".
Fundraising activities included an
online auction of dinner with Miss
World Australia 2007, a helicopter
ride over Sydney and signed sports
memorabilia, as well as unit raffles
and lucky draws.
Mr Gibson joined the Army in
1990 as a gunner in RAA and corps
transferred to the RASigs as a radio
operator in 1997.
His deployments included
Cambodia, Bougainville, Solomon
Islands and Iraq. He received the
Soldiers Medallion for Exemplary
Service while working as an instruc-
tor at ARTC Kapooka.
Mr Gibson discharged from the
Army in May 2008, when he and his
wife, Leslie, settled in Kinglake.
they were proud to have Sig
Mercury as their mascot, not just
because he was king of the beasts
but because he could literally eat
any other Army mascot alive.
When not parading at 17 Sig
Regt, where RAEME soldiers have
built him a cage as his barracks, Sig
Mercury resides at the Mogo Zoo
outside Bateman's Bay, where he
goes by the civilian name of Mac.
Under the arrangement with
Mogo Zoo, Sig Mercury will parade
at every unit anniversary and unit
members will visit him throughout
The parade's reviewing offic-
er, Commander 17 CSS Bde Brig
David Creagh, welcomed Sig
Mercury into the Army fold.
"Sig Mercury is quite a signifi-
cant, if not intimidating, addition to
the manning of this unit," he said.
"Sig Mercury is a welcome
addition to 17 Sig Regt, which over
the past three years has worked tire-
lessly to establish itself as a centre
for excellence in communications
and logistics support.
"Most significantly, I consider
17 Sig Regt as the glue that binds
this brigade together."
17 Sig Regt was formed when
130 and 145 Sig Sqns were merged
in 2006 and a support squadron was
raised. In 2008, 130 Sig Sqn was
replaced by 110 Sig Sqn, which rep-
resented a step forward in capability
and a new level of interoperability.
17 Sig Regt provides critical
communications support to units
on operations at home and abroad.
Personnel are deployed in the
Middle East, Solomon Islands and
Southeast Asia. In its various forms,
it has provided communications
support since World War II.
Roaring success: Sig Mercury (aka Mac) settles in his barracks
(above) and 17 Sig Regt welcomes its new mascot (left) at its
Photo by Bill Cunneen
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