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WORLD NEWS 17
Army December 10, 2009
By WO2 Graham McBean
GOING from doctor to digger and
back again is no drama for Pte
Frederick Lee, who is serving on
The anaesthetic registrar joined
the ARes midway through his uni-
versity studies but has continued on
at 2/17RNSWR after four years as
What began as a mission to find
a physical challenge to balance his
heavy academic workload soon
developed into a passion for his unit,
his mates and the military.
Pte Lee is also a case study in
the effectiveness of good leadership.
He said apart from the mateship and
camaraderie of the Army the NCOs
at the depot were responsible for its
sense of purpose.
"The backbone of the Army is its
NCOs and we have a good crop of
NCOs at my unit," Pte Lee said.
Doctor happy to take orders
Aiming high: Pte Frederick Lee
supervises a visiting employer's
at the shooting range.
Photo by WO2 Graham McBean
By WO2 Graham McBean
AS ROTATION 19 of Op Anode arrives
home for Christmas at the end of its
deployment, the new year will see a con-
tinued evolution in ARes's prime opera-
tional responsibility in Solomon Islands.
Australia has approved funding for the
Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon
Islands (RAMSI) for the coming four years.
With an election in Solomon Islands next
year, ARes will continue its vital contribution
to RAMSI's support to Solomon Islands.
Rotation 20, fresh from its pre-deploy-
ment training in Canungra, will have a solid
foundation on which to build when it takes
the reins from Rotation 19.
The deepening integration with the
Participating Police Force (PPF) has been a
hallmark of this rotation's achievements.
Operational planning with the PPF in
support of Royal Solomon Islands Police
Force has included the military from the
Platoon commander Lt Chris McGlashan
said the better integration of the police and
military was "making interoperability much
more than just a term".
Combined Task Force 635, including the
military headquarters and platoon-size con-
tributions from New Zealand and Tonga or
PNG, has also received praise for its com-
mitment to the broader RAMSI role.
RAMSI Special Co-ordinator Graeme
Wilson highlighted the important role the
CTF played in dealing with destabilising ele-
ments in Solomon Islands.
"There is a lot of respect for the 'green'
here and people appreciate the deterrent role
the CTF has played, particularly on the oper-
ational side with the PPF through patrolling
here in Honiara and in the provinces," Mr
He was also impressed with some of the
"niche capabilities" of the CTF, such as com-
munity liaison and clinic work.
Maintaining this professionalism and
community involvement would be particular-
ly important with the elections approaching.
"We are certainly not expecting a repeat
of the aftermath of the 2006 elections," Mr
Wilson said. "But there is no doubt it is an
unpredictable environment here and we need
to be mindful of this underlying fragility.
"That said, we are optimistic that the
elections will be peaceful, free and fair and
that RAMSI will be able to work effectively
and constructively with whichever govern-
ment comes into office."
Mr Wilson underlined the co-operation
between RAMSI and the Solomon Islands
Government. He said the Partnership
Framework finalised earlier this year was a
The framework, a "strategic work plan"
listing the areas in which RAMSI will
work closely with the Solomon Islands
Government, contains indicative time frames
for the progressive drawing down of RAMSI
as Solomon Islands' own capacity grows.
Mr Wilson said he felt RAMSI was still
valued by the local people. "There is a tan-
gible feeling that people are getting on with
their lives with a sense of confidence and
that has been brought about in large measure
by a 'whole of RAMSI' effort."
Respect for the green
RAMSI's achievements include:
An estimated 90 per cent of public
support for RAMSI.
Restoration of law and order.
30 per cent increase in national rev-
enue per year since arrival of RAMSI.
30 per cent reduction of debt in six
Economic reform, including in tel-
Remand times reduced from 16 to
Huge backlog of national and provin-
cial audits cleared.
Partners in peace: A member of Combined Task Force 635 on patrol in Solomon Islands (above)
and RAMSI Special Co-ordinator Graeme Wilson (right). Photos by Cpl Guy Young and WO2 Graham McBean
"They provide the sense of conti-
nuity and belonging and that is prob-
ably why I stay in."
He downplayed any importance
on being a doctor in the platoon.
"You realise everyone is unique and
brilliant at their job in their own
way," he said.
His take on being a digger is he
can always apply for commission
but at present he is happy to learn
his military trade as an infantryman.
"I wanted to experience what it
was like to be the smallest fish in the
pond and I wanted to learn all the
basic soldier skills and hone them
to a really high standard," he said.
"That way if I ever have the oppor-
tunity to command I will know how
to do it properly and be prepared."
He said his deployment to
Solomon Islands with Rotation 19 of
Op Anode highlighted the strength
of the reserve to bring together a
diversity of skills.
In the close-knit family of the
infantry soldier on deployment, he
said "you come to appreciate dif-
ferent points of view" and enjoy the
mateship of a diverse bunch of peo-
ple brought together by the military.
Pte Lee will revert to Dr Lee when
he returns to Australia this month.
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