Home' Army News : December 10th 2009 Contents 50 YEARS O
2 -- ARMY NEWSPAPER, DECEMBER 10, 2009
CURIOSITY may kill the cat but it has kept Army pho-
tographer Bill Cunneen going for nearly 60 years.
Billy is one of Army newspaper's longest-serving
contributors with a career spanning the Korean War, the
Malayan Emergency snf the Vietnam War to the present.
These days he is still chasing soldiers through obstacle courses
in Singleton with the same gusto he had 43 years ago as he fol-
lowed soldiers into battle in Vietnam.
He joined the Army in 1950 as an infantryman with 1RAR,
which soon after deployed to Korea.
Billy had to remain in Australia until he turned 19 and deployed
to Korea in 1951 with 3RAR. He was shot in the arm less than six
months into his tour.
After Korea, he was posted to Hiro in Japan, where he started
taking his first photos. His photos soon became noticed and Army
Public Relations Corps asked him to join.
Billy was deployed to Malaya, Borneo and was sent to Vietnam
in 1965. In Vietnam he followed the rifle companies deep into the
jungles with two large cameras dangling around his neck. After the
soldiers got to know him he was allowed to travel behind the pla-
toon commander's signaller.
"It's a good place to be because when it happened, it happened
very quickly," he says.
"There's a lot of noise and drama, but someone always told the
signaller what was going on."
Bill photographed the aftermath of the Battle of Long Tan. He
recalls a feeling of uncertainty as he entered the battle site with a
"I wouldn't say it was fear but we were very cautious. We didn't
know what was out there. It could have been Genghis Khan and the
hordes," he says.
During his long career Bill has had many ups and downs. The
worst moments have been when he has felt fear -- something every-
one who goes to war has experienced. "The great things were when
you see yourself published and published well," Billy says.
Billy retired from the Army as a WO2 and works as a contribu-
tor to Army.
He says the newspaper is more important than people think.
"Soldiers do read it -- they just don't tell you."
Cpl Corinne Boer talks to Bill Cunneen,
for whom every passing year is a chance
to photograph more soldiers.
Age shall not
Colourful career: Bill Cunneen's photo of the 50th anniversary
parading of the RAR's Queens and Regimental Colours at the
Australian War Memorial in 1998.
Capturing history: Bill's work -- such as this shot from
Vietnam in 1966 -- will ensure that the sacrifices of Australian
soldiers will be remembered
What is left to say about long-term Army photog-
rapher, Gary Ramage, that hasn't already been
said? 'Ramo' corps transferred from infantry to
AAPRS in 1990 and rose to warrant officer class
two and corps SM before leaving the Army in
2005. Gary now shoots for News Limited and con-
tinues to photograph Australian soldiers in action.
Desperate: Gary Ramage's shot of a food riot in
Somalia (above) captures the desperation of a
country in turmoil.
Tragedy: Current 'phot' Cpl Bernie Pearson's photo
of Gen Peter Cosgrove (left) evokes a dreamlike
sadness in the aftermath of the Banda Aceh tsunami.
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