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Army February 4, 2010
THE EAST COAST
By Maj Al Green
IF TEAMWORK among the Cowboys
looks a little slicker, the reason might
lie in a patch of jungle just west of
The Army and the Cowboys NRL
club came together in December in a
preseason three-day training camp from
hell.The jungles of Tully arguably present
one of the toughest military training
environments in the world.
The footballers had their private pos-
sessions confiscated before being issued
military kit as a prelude to a 5km march
deep into the rainforest.
It was testing from the start with a
midnight "kick off" and a PT session
that lasted until first light.
For Carl Webb, not knowing what to
expect added to the challenge.
"It was tough but we all got through
it together and had fun with it," he said.
Practical lessons covering fieldcraft,
radio procedures, first aid and field
hygiene were held to equip the 'recruits'
with the basics for jungle survival.
When darkness fell it became pitch
black under the jungle canopy. Those
expecting a peaceful sleep were disap-
pointed; sharp-toothed creatures, not
all of them friendly, foraged around the
camp and the players had to maintain a
watch throughout the night.
If the Cowboys weren't strong on
teamwork at the start they certainly were
by the end of day two.
First came a 5km stretcher carry
through difficult terrain and Jarra Creek
-- chest deep in places.
Just when they thought it couldn't
get harder the players found a trailer in
their path that needed to be relocated to
a site two hours away along a steep and
Then ropes were used to haul stores
up and down ravines on yet another
By nightfall the hungry footballers
had earned the remainder of their ration
pack but seemed a little disappointed at
the meagre portions after all that hard
According to Shannon Gallant the
experience was tough but worthwhile as
the team united.
"We're fitter and better for it, but I'll
have blisters through to the new year,"
Capt Sebastian Aleksandrowicz
who helped coordinate the training said
the benefit for the participants was the
level of mental and physical toughness,
beyond sheer athleticism, required to
build teams in challenging environ-
"It's also about developing leader-
ship skills and building respect for one
another -- not that those are lacking here
-- but we can certainly help to enhance
those qualities," Capt Aleksandrowicz
said.Coach Neil Henry agreed it was
great to get the players out of their com-
Cowboys tackle the jungle
Trousers khaki heavyweight
are available from clothing
stores for purchase.
Skirts khaki heavyweight are
available from clothing stores
To report a defect against a
clothing item, a RODUM is
to be submitted in addition to
any unit promulgated instruc-
tions. A user guide can be
accessed at http://vbmweb.
Direct clothing entitlement enquir-
ies to WO2 Anthony Romkes on
(03) 9282 6602 or email anthony.
SEPARATE studies of East Timor and
Bougainville veterans found that health lev-
els compared favourably with soldiers who
did not deploy to the operations.
The studies found mortality and cancer
rates for the Bougainville and East Timor vet-
erans were no different to the rates of person-
nel who did not deploy.
They also found that there were no sig-
nificant differences in symptoms of post-trau-
matic stress for East Timor and Bougainville
veterans compared to non-veterans.
Overall rates of high-risk drinking behav-
iours were also low among veterans of both
Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science
Minister Greg Combet said the studies helped
Defence understand the unique physical, men-
tal and emotional impacts of deployments.
The tough get going: The Cowboys NRL team with their mentors on a pack march. Photos by LCpl Mark Doran
good health CLOTHING UPDATE
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