Home' Army News : October 1st 2009 Contents 50 YEARS OF SERVICE
4 -- ARMY NEWSPAPER, OCTOBER 1, 2009
Decimal pay for Army
FROM February 14, the Army will change over to
the decimal currency system.
A double pay will be made to enable the
huge task of converting Army pay records from
pounds, shillings and pence.
Better punch in hand
A NEW, more efficient hand grenade will be used
by Australian soldiers. It is the US pattern M26,
which replaces the 36M, or Mills Bomb, a famil-
iar friend to Australian troops since World War I.
Task force in Vietnam
1RAR will be replaced in Vietnam with a self-
contained Australian Task Force under Australian
Prime Minister Harold Holt said the decision
would enlarge our contribution to some 4500
men, effectively tripling our military strength
Artillery saves lives
THE commander of the US 2/503rd Battalion
has thanked Australian gunners from 105 Field
Battery for saving the lives of his men dur-
ing Operation Silver City in War Zone D, South
Along with the two batteries from the US
3/319 Battalion, the gunners fired their 105s
almost non-stop for nearly four hours. The
American infantrymen were pinned down on an
extensive Communist tunnel system and were
running short of ammunition.
Blast off from Woomera
AN ARMY launcher crew assisted in the prepara-
tion of the European multistage space vehicle
One soldier operated the communications
console while others manned the flight safety
systems' break-up stations.
The crew is part of the Army Guided Weapons
Trials Unit. The vehicle was launched to test the
British first stage and was aimed at a target in
the Simpson desert, however, the flight was cut
short and it landed just north of Lake Eyre.
SVN awards new medal
THE Queen has given her approval for Australian
and New Zealand Forces engaged in Vietnam
to accept and wear the medal awarded by the
South Vietnamese Government to all the free-
world forces serving there.
Long Tan tributes
TRIBUTES have flowed following the epic Battle
of August 18 [now referred to as the Battle of
Long Tan] in Baria, South Vietnam.
In a message to the Task Force Commander
Brig O.D. Jackson, Prime Minister Harold Holt
said: "Our forces in this engagement have
acquitted themselves with skill, effectiveness and
high courage in the best Australian tradition."
In a message to Mr Holt, US president Lyndon
B. Johnson said: "The engagement evokes the
admiration of all who treasure bravery and the
March-out for Nashos
ALMOST 2000 soldiers from the first National
Serviceman intake on June 30, 1965, will be
discharged from the Army on June 29. Minister
for the Army Mr Malcolm Fraser said it was evi-
dent their integration for two years with ARA
members had been highly successful.
Gone with a bang
ENGINEERS from SME Field Engineering Wing
have destroyed the last link with the town
of Old Jindabyne on the Snowy River. New
Zealand Lt Duncan Maclane, an exchange stu-
dent at SME, lit the fuse after coming up with
the best demolition idea. Four charges of plas-
tic explosive and TNT blew the 270ft bridge
down. The bridge is one of the landmarks
swept away by the Snowy Scheme.
New barracks are tops
THE Army's new $13.5 million Holsworthy
Barracks have been acclaimed as equal to the
most modern troop accommodation of any
army in the world.
The complex of more than 100 steel-framed
brick and concrete buildings was built in only
Named Malaya Lines, the barracks area is
home to the 10th Task Force, including 1RAR,
5RAR and A Sqn, 3 Cav Regt.
First tour for WRAACs
AN ADVANCE party of three Women's
Royal Australian Army Corps will leave on
Wednesday for duty in Singapore. They will be
the first WRAACs to serve overseas.
Settling down at Nui Dat
PICK and shovel have been the lot of 3RAR for
the past few weeks as the men prepare their
new home at Nui Dat, South Vietnam.
The men started work on defences and
accommodation soon after US Chinook heli-
copters lifted the main body of 515 men from
When a squadron of Centurion tanks and
support elements arrive, Australia will have
more than 8000 servicemen in Vietnam, more
than the highest total reached during the
The search for Harold Holt
DESPITE operating with skeleton staff, the
Officer Cadet School at Portsea swung into
action to assist in the search for missing Prime
Minister Harold Holt in the days following his
disappearance in December.
He disappeared nine days after the school's
graduation parade, however, remaining staff
combined with cooks and other personnel from
HQ Southern Command to help feed the every-
growing army of police, ambulance, fire bri-
gade and civil defence personnel involved in
the search for the Prime Minister.
The OCS barracks also became home to
eight search helicopters and the international
press contingent covering the story.
Time to fly
AN ARMY Aviation Corps will be formed from
serving Army pilots from July 1 this year. In the
past, Army pilots have been drawn from other
corps for specific tours of duty.
Medal design approved
THE Queen has approved the Royal Warrant
and design for the Vietnam Medal. The circular
medal will have the Queen's portrait on the
obverse. The reverse has the word "Vietnam"
inscribed above the figure of a man keeping
apart two spheres of influence.
Echo of Long Tan
MORE than 2500 people saw Prime Minister
John Gorton present the US Presidential Unit
Citation to D Coy, 6RAR, at a ceremony at
Lavarack Barracks on August 18.
Mr Gorton said the award had special
significance. "[It is] something different from
the awards which we, in the traditions of the
British and Australian Armies, give for service
in the field. It is not an award to an individual
but one to a unit who, together, supporting
each other, won the right to obtain it."
Fresh pack on backs
FIELD Force soldiers will soon start to receive the new
Army backpack that will replace the 37 Pattern pack
that has been in use for the last 20 years. Work began in
1964 on developing a new pack, featuring quick-release
straps, separate upper and lower compartments, and
side pockets. It also needed to be light and comfortable
On hand for rail disaster
ARMY helicopters and troops from Puckapunyal have
helped in the aftermath of a deadly train crash.
Nine people were killed when the Southern Aurora
collided head-on with a goods train at Violet Town, 105
miles from Melbourne, on February 7.
Two Army Sioux helicopters, returning from an exer-
cise in Portsea, flew medical teams to Mooroopna Base
Hospital, where the most severely injured passengers
had been taken.
RAEME and RAE soldiers used four wrecker vehicles
and a bridging crane to clear the wreck and reopen the
main southern line, while medical, provost and commu-
nications detachments helped at the scene.
AUSTRALIA'S 95th Victoria Cross has been awarded to
WO2 Rayene Stewart Simpson DCM. Prime Minister
John Gorton said WO2 Simpson displayed outstanding
heroism on two occasions during an operation with a
mobile strike force in Kontum province in May this year.
Brisbane hails VC hero
THE people of Brisbane opened their hearts to a city
hero last month -- the first Queenslander to win the
Victoria Cross since World War II.
WO2 Keith Payne, quiet and unassuming, was wel-
comed home by Brisbane Lord Mayor Clem Jones in a
brief but moving ceremony outside the city hall.
Fighting on the flu front
ARMY men and equipment have rushed to combat the
influenza epidemic in PNG.
Army aircraft from the 183rd (Independent) Recce
Flight, based at Lae, were used by health officials on
reconnaissance and injection tasks.
RAAF Caribous flew in vehicles and 16 Army medics,
while two companies flew from 1PIR to Mendi, along
with company stores, rations and 375lb of serum.
Small patrols will move through the countryside
carrying injections for the sick and reporting back on
conditions in each area.
gratitude of all who prize the just cause for
which we fight in Vietnam... When you were
here, I said, 'When a fight comes looking for
you it is good to have Australians standing and
fighting by your side.' The Viet Cong know today,
better than before, what I meant."
Giving them curry (with no rice)
AS AUSTRALIAN soldiers sweep areas clear of VC
domination they are also amassing big hauls of
the enemy's food reserve.
In five months the Australians have
unearthed 144 tonnes of rice during operations
in the Phouc Tuy Province.
These caches have been found in under-
ground caves, fortified huts and on raised plat-
forms covered with black plastic to hide them
from air reconnaissance flights.
Small quantities of dried fish and 11 tonnes
of salt have also been discovered.
VC recipients: WO2 Ray Simpson (above) and
WO2 Keith Payne (below).
Honoured: A Long Tan commemorative service in 1969.
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