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Army December 10, 2009
HAVING been a keen pistol shooter
since RMC in 1998, I was surprised
to hear of the Australian Police and
Services National Pistol Competition,
the Australian Army Sports Pistol
Association and the fact pistol shoot-
ing is an approved sport (Army,
Each year that my colleagues seek
approval to participate in an approved
sport, I check the ADF Sports Council
website to find that pistol shooting
is still not approved and so my civil-
ian pursuit remains unrecognised by
the ADF. A search of the DRN revealed
the Army page lists AASPA, but it has
no details and only broken contact links
to the Army POC.
I have several questions I hope to
Why is shooting not an approved
How can a sport be approved at
Army level (including using Defence
ranges) but not at ADF level?
How does this affect participants in
terms of their "on-duty" status for com-
petitions, compensation and financial
How do we get pistol shooting ele-
vated to ADF-approved status?
Maj Gideon Rann
Land Systems Division
Victoria Barracks, Melbourne
Col Phillip Langworthy, Army repre-
sentative Australian Defence Sports Council,
MAJ Rann has asked some well-
directed questions regarding the sta-
tus of pistol shooting as a sport in
the Army and in the wider Defence
Pistol shooting is one of several
sports with single-service recognition
(AASPA is an Army-recognised asso-
ciation), without having formal status as
an Australian Defence Sports Council
(ADSC)-approved sport. This can occur
for one of two reasons.
First, while a sport is assessed for
recognition against the same criteria
at both Army and Defence level [see
DI(G) Pers 14-2], it is feasible that a
sport might be favourably assessed as
a National Army Sporting Association
(NASA) while not being supported by
the ADSC. This situation would arise
because the ADSC and NASA assess-
ments are independent processes and
might weight factors -- such as partici-
pation rates, safety issues and reputa-
tional risks -- differently.
For example, the CA might be will-
ing to formally recognise a sport that
had close relevance to Army and high
participation rates among soldiers. Yet
it might be reasonable for the ADSC to
reach a different determination from a
Second, a sport which has achieved
single-service recognition and is operat-
ing effectively as a NASA, might elect
not to seek ADSC-approved status.
This is, in fact, the situation with the
AASPA. This scenario does not affect
the on-duty status for competitions,
members' access to compensation or
potential financial support (although the
association will clearly not be consid-
ered for a share of ADSC funding).
I discussed the status of these issues
with Maj Garry Ward from AASPA on
November 19 and was advised that the
AASPA executive committee was review-
ing its plans regarding Defence status.
I WAS somewhat surprised it took
170 hours to paint an Abrams tank
(Army, November 26).
I recall that in the 1950s it took
the driver, gunner and crew com-
mander one day, three 75mm paint
brushes, and about eight litres of
deep-bronze green enamel to paint
the exterior of a Centurion, while the
operator silverfrosted the turret and
hull interior and floor (if he could
stay awake long enough).
Give the driver a leisurely couple
of hours before smoko the next day
and he'd apply the formation sign
decals, paint the unit and tac signs,
the night-driving stripes and the tank
name and number -- about 34 man
hours all up.
We played with cam schemes
early in the 1960s -- odd colours, but
the same quantity of paint, therefore
the same time frame.
Take your pick of conclusions:
seemingly, the Abrams is about five
times larger than the Centurion, or
maybe civvie contractors did the job,
or could it be the longer we tankies
live the better we used to be?
Lt-Col Garth McClay, Project Director
Land 907 -- Tank Replacement, responds:
THERE is a saying that "the good
old days ripen with age" but I
think we're comparing overripe
apples with new-season oranges.
While I appreciate that in the
1950s you could put an operator
inside the tank with a tin of paint
and say paint until the fumes put you
to sleep ... you can't do it these days.
Asking a current tank crew to slap
on a DSTO-designed, infrared reflec-
tive, chemical agent-resistant, two-
pack paint, without flaws, out the
back of the workshop with a 75mm
brush and no protective equipment,
while appealing for simplicity and
low cost, is also not feasible today.
The golden rule of painting is
preparation, preparation, prepara-
tion. The new paint is applied over
a chemical agent-resistant coating,
which means that paint doesn't bond
well, resulting in enormous amounts
of sanding and preparation -- 100-
odd hours in fact, leaving 70 hours
The new colour scheme requires
five coats of paint: primer, two coats
of green then the brown-and-black
camouflage patterns. Five coats
in 70 hours means each coat takes
about 14 hours. Subtract the eight
hours' cooking between each coat
and we are now down to six hours a
coat. Admittedly, there are two das-
tardly civvies on the job so, to com-
pare apples to apples, that puts it at
about 12 man hours per coat versus
your 34. Not too bad by comparison.
And no doubt all old soldiers' recol-
lections of their past performance
sees it improves with age, as I sus-
pect mine will in the future.
Making a meal
of mess fees
IN accordance with a CA directive, all SNCOs and
WOs are required to be members of a sergeants'
mess, which means they must pay mess fees, usually
about $20 a month.
From my time as a member of various messes --
both as an ordinary member and as a treasurer -- one
big problem has been the payment of these fees.
A suggestion to negate this problem is that on pro-
motion to sergeant, members have an automatic debit
created for $20, after which they need to align that
debit to their mess (that is, enter the branch and account
details of the mess, as I assume that nearly all Army
messes now use this technology).
I realise there are times when mess fees do not have
to be paid (for example, when on detachment, course
or deployment), but I imagine it would be possible to
either inform ADF pay of the situation and have the
debits stopped for that period, or to simply let it ride so
they have enough in their account to cover fees.
I also realise a monthly debit of the suggested $20
will not cover additional costs, such as attending func-
tions, but the monthly debit would surely go a long way
towards ensuring any debts are greatly reduced.
I understand that in any triservice or mixed-mess-
type environment this will not capture all. Navy and Air
Force have an option to become a member of the mess
but the majority of mess members will be Army.
I know it's an individual responsibility but, as I'm
still being reminded to pay mess fees (as a lot of us
are), it appears this simple step hasn't happened. It's
a suggestion, and I'm happy to receive feedback or at
least generate interest in possible ways of negating the
need for reminders to pay.
WO1 Wally Meurant
Of time and tanks
Makeover: How many hours does it take to paint an Abrams? It depends on which way you look at it, and
from what distance.
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