Home' Army News : November 12th 2009 Contents OF SERVICE
from an insider
Wayne Cooper's hand, he took up the 'privileged' role of
w soldiers on subjects he could relate to.
Grim picture on Sarajevo
AUSTRALIA'S senior UN military representative in war-
torn Bosnia Herzegovina sees little chance of peace in
the near future. Col John Wilson, chief military advi-
sor to the UN Protection Force in Yugoslavia, said the
opposing forces had enough munitions to continue
fighting for some time.
Digger's past unearthed
AN ARMY dog tag found in a field in Vietnam led to
a gravely ill Long Tan veteran from Brisbane receiving
unclaimed medals and being reunited with soldiers he
had not seen since 1967. Soldiers from 6RAR present-
ed Phillip Dickson, a former national serviceman, with
the Vietnam Medal, the Vietnamese Campaign Medal,
the Infantry Combat Badge and the US Presidential
Aussies head for Somalia
AUSTRALIAN soldiers will be at the forefront of the
humanitarian UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM)
later this year. Minister for Defence Senator Robert
Ray, said the ADF would contribute 30 personnel to the
UN mission, including 14 Army movement control and
Flying workhorse bids farewell
AFTER 24 years as a reconnaissance, general-purpose
and medical-evacuation aircraft, the Pilatus Porters of
173 General Support Squadron are to be retired at the
end of November. Two Porters will go to the Museum
of Army flying and a third will go to the Australian War
900 diggers to offer solace
MORE than 900 soldiers, Australia's largest deploy-
ment in two decades, have arrived in Somalia to pro-
tect humanitarian convoys from bandits. Soldiers from
3 Bde joined to form the Somalia-bound 1RAR Group,
commanded by Lt-Col David Hurley.
UN support lifted
AUSTRALIA'S support to UNTAC in Cambodia was
boosted earlier this month with the arrival of six Black
Hawk helicopters and 100 additional soldiers.They
have been deployed to provide additional UN air trans-
port during the Cambodian election. The ADF already
has about 500 personnel in Cambodia.
Final respects for a caring soldier
MAJ Susan Felsche, the first Australian woman to die
on an overseas military operation since World War II,
has been buried with full military honours in Brisbane.
She was serving as a medical officer in Western Sahara
when she was killed in an aircraft accident.
Flying start for pilot course
ARMY aviators made history recently when the first
intake of pilots to be trained at the British Aerospace/
Ansett Flying College graduated at Tamworth, NSW.
Seventeen officers and officer cadets had been under
fixed-wing training for 21 weeks at the college.
300,000 safe landings
STAFF from PTS Nowra recently supervised the unit's
300,000th parachute descent conducted without any
Tigers mourn loss
SOLDIERS from 5/7RAR have laid to rest in military
funeral five comrades who died in Malaysia on
September 23. The 5/7 RAR soldiers were involved in
an accident between the military truck and a civil-
ian bus during field training. Killed were Sgt Ian
Rutherford, Cpls Christopher Burnett, Darren Murphy
and Paul Wiffen, and LCpl Darryn O'Rourke.
Unknown Soldier returns home
THE remains of an unknown Australian soldier from
World War I were interred in a vault in the floor of the
Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial on
Remembrance Day. The soldier had lain in the Adelaide
War cemetery, near Villers-Bretonneux in France, for 75
years. He represents all Australia's war dead.
NSW firestorm aid
MORE than 700 ADF personnel, as well as 30 helicop-
ters, Hercules and Caribou aircraft and numerous items
of plant equipment, have battled the worst fires in
NSW in more than 50 years. It was the first time since
1988 the ADF has been called in by civilian agencies to
help fight a bushfire emergency, and is believed to be
the largest Defence participation in a natural disaster
since Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974.
BHP'S Port Kembla furnaces will destroy an Army vet-
eran following the decision to retire the 9mm F1 sub-
machine gun. The long-serving weapon is nearing the
end of its service life, having been superceded by the
Steyr and Minimi. The guns cannot be sold on the civil-
ian market as they are automatic weapons.
Diggers head for Rwanda
AUSTRALIAN soldiers will join the mercy effort to end
the carnage that has ravaged Rwanda. Commanded
by Col Wayne Ramsey, the 300-strong Operation Tamar
will comprise a medical team, a rifle company from
2/4RAR, engineers, transport and logistic support.
AUSTRALIA will end two years' involvement with
UNOSOM as the security environment worsens in
Somalia.The Government will not replace the 67 ADF
personnel in Mogadishu, who are due home in mid-
October and mid-November. Foreign Affairs Minister
Gareth Evans and Defence Minister Robert Ray said
in a joint statement the security had "deteriorated
significantly". "Recent incidents have indicated that
UNOSOM personnel are increasingly being targeted by
local militia," they said.
Focus still north
THE new defence blueprint contains few surprises as
the Government looks to self-reliance and regional
security to defend the country. The new policy contin-
ues the move north of major Australian units such as 2
Cav Regt and 5/7RAR.
1RTB goes co-ed
MALE and female soldiers will train and instruct in the
same platoons at 1RTB, Kapooka.The main benefit of
the new training system is that women can enter train-
ing without having to wait for an all-female platoon to
be raised and filled.
Diggers in UK drama
A BRITISH television drama series, Soldier, Soldier, is
filming three episodes with the assistance of soldiers
from 5/7RAR. In the episodes the fictitious King's Own
Fusiliers have travelled to Australia for exercises in
Alice Springs and Katherine Hill Bay.
Medics earns salute
AUSTRALIAN medics have been applauded for
their efforts under "circumstances compared with
Auschwitz" during the Kibeho massacre in Rwanda on
April 22 . Defence artist George Gittoes said he had
"never seen such flawless teamwork in all my life".
Orange forces test allies
THE ADF is nearing the end of Exercise Kangaroo 95,
the greatest peacetime test of its capabilities. More
than 17,000 personnel, and a dozen ships and 110
aircraft, are taking part in the exercise. Joining to fight
the "Orangeland forces" have been troops from the
US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
THE Army's test project to equip the soldier as a
combat system has had its maiden hands-on run at
Singleton. Soldiers from 3RAR trialled equipment such
as a commander's hand-held data terminal, intra-pla-
toon and intra-section communications, and night-
be one in
ects of the
y to real-
that I was
a and the
world while doing it was a privilege. And
I have many fond memories of my time as
Standing on the pebbles of Anzac Cove
and photographing the sun rising over the
new memorial on the 85th anniversary of
the landing not least among them.
Interviewing the chief of Pok Pok
Island on the merits of Op Bel Isi as we
hunted for crayfish, waist deep in warm
water on a reef off Bougainville, was
But the work I am most proud of was
on Ambon, Indonesia.
I was assigned to travel with a group of
former POWs who where returning to the
island for Anzac Day in 1998.
Needless to say, it was a traumatic
experience for the diggers, and there was
a reticence to talk in any detail to the
small group of journos reporting on their
I gained the trust of a few of diggers,
though, and, once they opened up, I was
told remarkable stories of courage, defeat
I was aware of the trust they were plac-
ing in me to tell their stories truthfully and
I sent a draft of the article to the digger
around whose anecdotes I had built my
Ambon story. I was terrified he would not
But he replied with a short, succinct
note: "Dear Corporal Cooper, thank you
for the opportunity to read your Ambon
article. Well done on a nicely written
It doesn't get better than that.
Thanks: Private Jason
Gerhadt, 1RAR, help
carry out food drops in
Somalia in 1993.
Photo by Gary Ramage
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