Home' Army News : October 29th 2009 Contents OF SERVICE
the Vietnam era of the 1970s and a return to high operational tempo in the
modern Army. New artillery replaced World War II-era guns, women joined male
with the Defence Force Discipline Act and the Army took its first digital steps.
Final Balcombe graduation
LAST year's graduation parade at Balcombe attracted
its largest crowd ever, gathered not only to watch 225
graduating apprentices march out, but to bid farewell
to Balcombe, the home of the Army Apprentice School
Air crash hero
AN ARMY officer has been awarded the Star of
Courage for his actions after a helicopter crash during
Exercise Kangaroo 81. Capt Wayne Bowen, HQ 3 Bde,
was one of three men who became the first servicemen
to receive this award since its inception in early 1975.
Quest for small-arms replacement
THE Army proposes to introduce a new family of
Australian-manufactured 5.56mm small arms by 1990.
The Department of Defence Support has called for ten-
ders worldwide to provide for evaluation of individual
and section weapons for Australia to fire the new
$6m missile system
THE Army is to get a new anti-tank guided-missile sys-
tem from Europe at a cost of about $6 million. Defence
Minister Gordon Scholes said the weapon system,
called Milan, was a lightweight, man-portable launcher
and guided missile capable of engaging modern, heav-
ily armoured tanks to a range of 2000m.
Vietnam battle honours
RAR, 3 Cav Regt and 1 Armd Regt have been awarded
Battle and Theatre Honours for Vietnam. Theatre Honours,
"Vietnam 1965-1972", were awarded to 3 Cav Regt and
the RAR; and "Vietnam 1968-1972" to 1 Armd Regt.
Call for calm on ARes pay
THE budget decision to tax Army Reserve pay has
stunned ARes troops, but the Chief of the Army
Reserve, Maj-Gen Kevin Murray, has asked them to
ANOTHER weapon, the ENTAC wire-guided missile has
been "retired" after many years of faithful service to
the Army -- and RAAC soldiers at the Armoured Centre
held a wake to mark its demise.
Parachuters' last drop
AIRBORNE soldiers of Delta Company, 6RAR, made
their final parachute jumps as member of an airborne
company. From December 1, the Holsworthy-based
3RAR assumes the parachute role for the Army and the
6RAR Diggers revert to the normal infantry role.
Nurses' first RSM appointed
ARMY nurses now have a Corps RSM, their first since
the RAANC was formed in February 1951. The new
RSM is WO1 Judith Wallace, who enlisted in 1965 and
won the 1970 Alice Appleford Memorial Award for the
Army's top nurse.
Lucky landing after 20m fall
AN AUSTRALIAN soldier escaped death but suffered
multiple injuries when he was swept over a 20m-high
waterfall in Malaysia. Cpl "Doc" Howells, a medic with
B Coy 3RAR, was flown back to Australia with a broken
arm, leg and jaw, cuts to the face, and minus a few
teeth, after being carried out of the jungle by his mates
on a stretcher rigged up from poles and a mattress.
Observers patrol on UN duty
THE Middle East city of Beirut is seldom out of the
news these days and three Australian Army officers
are gaining first hand experience working with the UN
Treaty Security Organisation Observer Group Beirut.
Responsible for monitoring the changing situation in
and around Beirut, the unarmed observers patrol the
city in two-man teams 24 hours a day in vehicles and
Combat rations to taste
THERE'S good news for bush-bashing diggers who
don't fancy breakfast food for their midday meal
-- individual meal combat rations are on their way. They
will spearhead the next phase in developments to keep
"sharp-end" troops well fed under combat conditions.
Alongside the new era packs will be two additional
menus of one-man patrol rations, and another 10-man
ration pack menu.
Mobile memorial to former RACT driver
A FORMER private soldier recently joined the ranks
of a handful of distinguished retired officers. She
was Pte Joy O'Berne, who served with the RACT until
she died of leukaemia in April this year, aged 26. Her
parents unveiled an unusual memorial to their daugh-
ter, a LARC-V with her name inscribed on the bows.
Amphibians are normally named after retired senior
officers but the decision was made to break with tradi-
tion to honour the popular soldier.
Course targets biker toll
THE Directorate of Army Safety has initiated a national
program of defensive motorcycle-riding courses in
an attempt to stem the flow of soldiers' blood on
Australian roads. Figures show motorcycle accidents
are killing about 12 soldiers every year. Hundreds more
are crippled or receive other serious injuries.
Fire bravery recognised
AN AWARD recognising bravery and devotion to duty
has been made to an Army fireman who rescued a fel-
low soldier from a burning building. Cpl Phillip Kane,
DSU Brisbane, pulled the unconscious soldier from a
building at Enoggera Barracks while he was a member
of the Barrack's fire-fighting crew.
Women march in
FEMALE soldiering in the Australian Army has taken
an historic step with the first intake of female recruits
enlisting at the 2nd Army Recruiting Unit. The platoon
comprises 48 women, selected through normal enlist-
ment procedures from throughout Australia.
Steyr to make its mark
THE Steyr AUG-A1, the Austrian weapon designed
in co-operation with the Australian Army, will cause
sweeping changes throughout the Defence Force
-- especially the Army. It will replace a wide range of
weapons, including the SLR, M16 and F1.
Sgt Dave Morley talks to Eric
Combe, who made the transition
from admin sergeant to sub-editor.
WHILE some budding reporters have struggled
long and hard to secure a posting to Army, one
soldier was reluctantly pushed into the job.
Sgt Eric Combe was halfway through a post-
ing as admin sergeant at the paper when the editor told him
to sit a trade test for a reporter's position.
When Eric said he wasn't interested the editor said, "Eric,
I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. And you're such a pig-
headed so-and so you won't deliberately fail the exam."
Eric said his corps then told him they were going to post
him to the only place in Australia he didn't want to go.
"Reporters got pay level 6 and clerks got pay level 3, so the
choice was relatively easy," he said.
He said the biggest story he worked on was the Kangaroo
'89 exercise in Darwin.
"At that time the paper only had three staff and two of us
had to go to Darwin," he said.
"Then someone thought it would be a good idea to produce
a fortnightly K89 paper as well as Army."
When Eric arrived at the newspaper in 1983, its office con-
tained second-hand furniture and second-hand typewriters.
He said the transition to computers happened by accident.
When the office assets were being checked in 1987 the
typewriters were found to have been written off three years
"We were given word processors which were very slow and
we got our first computer in 1990 or 1991," he said.
Eric did most of the book reviews for the newspaper.
"Whenever I met Army people they wouldn't talk to me
about the news stories, they'd talk to me about the book
reviews," he said.
He discharged from the Army in 1997 after having served
as a national serviceman, a reservist and a regular soldier.
He served in Vietnam with 6RAR in 1969-70.
He came back to Australia for a month and returned to
Vietnam for a six-month tour with 7RAR.
As a reservist he served with 6RVR and 4/19PWLHR in
After rejoining the ARA and going through Kapooka at
the age of 29, he was posted to 1 Armd Regt and later 12/16
HRL before posting in to Army.
Then and now: Former sub-editor Eric Combe checks out
a recent edition of Army. The 1980s saw a revolution from
manual typewriters and carbon paper to computers.
Photo by WO2 Graham McBean
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