Home' Army News : April 2010 Contents 2 NEWS
Army April 1, 2010
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The Soldiers' Newspaper
Face of Army
Checklist: Sgt Haydn Penola, B Sqn
3/4 Cav Regt, at Camp Holland, Tarin
Kowt, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
By Sgt Brian Hartigan
TAPPING into the Army's culture
of training, discipline and looking
after mates, 1 Bde is tackling the
problem of drink driving head
on with a pre-Easter blitz and a
The three measures are:
Partnering with high-profile
Northern Territory institu-
tions such as NT Police and
the National Trauma Centre to
develop hard-hitting education
programs that will be delivered
by 1 Bde COs and RSMs.
New deterrence measures that
build on existing commanders'
rights and responsibilities to pro-
vide a safe working environment
Practical support in the form
of free transport to and from
Brigade commander Brig Gus
McLachlan said he fully supported
the CA's stance on alcohol abuse
and was determined to do all he
could to reduce alcohol-related
issues among his soldiers.
"We are putting these three
pieces in place that I think will
tackle the problem head on and
will hopefully assist our soldiers to
make right and sensible decisions,
particularly in regard to the use of
motor vehicles when drinking alco-
hol," Brig McLachlan said.
"The military is not unique in
that under-25-year-old males and,
increasingly, females are signifi-
cantly higher represented in motor
vehicle accident statistics. But,
in the Army, we have the abil-
ity through our training and disci-
pline systems to try and reduce the
impact of this wider problem on
our young men and women."
He said the Army had "a very
important job to do and we want
these young people to be here to
help us do that job".
He said the brigade was "look-
ing at ways to deter inappropriate
behaviour by, for example, breath-
testing individuals driving cars on
SEVEN Mentoring Task Force
1 (MTF 1) soldiers have been
wounded during two separate
improvised explosive device
attacks while on patrol in
Oruzgan province in southern
And in another incident, a
Bushmaster had to be destroyed
by an air strike after being severely
damaged by an IED.
In the attack that caused the
most casualties, an IED struck a
Bushmaster during an MTF 1 patrol
in the Chora Valley area on March
16. Six soldiers were wounded,
Commander Joint Task Force
633 Maj-Gen John Cantwell said
the wounded soldiers received
immediate care from their mates
before being evacuated to the
Tarin Kowt International Security
Assistance Force medical facility.
"The patrol moved quickly to
secure the scene and provide quality
first-aid treatment to their wounded
mates," Maj-Gen Cantwell said.
"They were quickly evacuated
from the scene and were transport-
ed to medical facilities in less than
an hour after striking the IED."
One of the wounded soldiers
waited until he had completed the
mission and was safely back at
Tarin Kowt before seeking help.
Maj-Gen Cantwell said he was
continually amazed by the determi-
nation of those involved in serious
incidents to stay and finish the job.
"In this case, we have a young
bloke who has toughed it out for 48
hours because he didn't want to let
his mates down.
"To ensure he gets the appropri-
ate rest and treatment we will move
him back to our medical facility in
the United Arab Emirates," he said.
A Bushmaster also received sig-
nificant damage in an IED strike on
The vehicle was not recovera-
ble, and was deliberately destroyed
by coalition precision air munitions
to deny the insurgents access to it.
An interpreter assisting the
patrol was wounded, and two
Afghan soldiers suffered superficial
In a separate incident, an MTF 1
soldier patrolling in the Mirabad
Valley region was seriously wound-
ed in an IED blast on March 23.
The patrol was moving through
A MENTORING Task Force 1
patrol recently uncovered three
improvised explosive devices in
a single day on a major civilian
crossing point in the Mirabad
Valley region of Oruzgan province.
An explosive detection dog
alerted the morning security patrol
to the presence of explosives as
it approached the major crossing
point for a local village.
MTF 1 CO Lt-Col Jason Blain
said the soldiers immediately
worked to protect the nearby vil-
lagers and themselves.
"Once we had secured the site,
our explosive ordnance disposal
specialists were brought in to pre-
vent any villagers from acciden-
tally triggering the device," Lt-Col
"The engineers safely dealt
with the device and recovered the
components for later analysis."
As the patrol continued, a
soldier discovered a second explo-
sive device near the bridge.
The EOD specialists moved to
deal with the home-made bomb,
and while carefully approaching it,
spotted a third device nearby.
Lt-Col Blain said the special-
ists used explosives to destroy the
"These three devices, all found
in the space of a few hours and
within a couple of hundred metres
of one another, posed an extreme-
ly high risk to the villagers nearby
who use the bridge to access their
crops and a nearby bazaar," he
IEDs wound seven
the area as part of a wider oper-
ation to increase security in key
locations. Maj-Gen Cantwell said
the soldier suffered blast and frag-
mentation wounds when the device
"His mates immediately set
about providing first aid and calling
for a casualty evacuation helicopter
to ensure that he received high-
quality care as soon as possible,"
Maj-Gen Cantwell said.
"That quick reaction had him
at the Tarin Kowt medical facility
being prepared for surgery within
Initial surgery at the medical
facility stabilised the soldier and
he has been given a good prognosis
"His body armour, helmet and
ballistic eyewear have all prevented
life-threatening injuries," Maj-Gen
"Good basic patrolling disci-
pline such as maintaining spacing
has certainly prevented what could
have been a more catastrophic
event for the patrol."
The soldier will require a period
of rest and rehabilitation.
The number of Australians
wounded this year has risen to 15.
To date, 115 personnel have been
wounded during Operation Slipper.
Vigilant: LCpl Jason Matheson and his patrol survey the Mirabad Valley green zone.Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
1 Bde's drink-driving campaign
Three bombs uncovered
"At the end of the day, as the
commander, I have a responsibil-
ity to make sure that our work
places are safe for everybody and,
by extension, I believe that also
includes the roads on my base," he
Brig McLachlan said because
Robertson Barracks was so far out
of Darwin -- about a $50 taxi ride
-- it "clearly could be a factor when
people decide to get into their own
car when they really shouldn't".
"We have already started a trial,
with 2 Cav Regt doing that for us,
using existing resources and unit
guards," he said.
"It isn't a taxi service -- there'll
be set times and so on -- but, one
thing I particularly like about this
scheme is that it builds on the sol-
with the unit duty NCO there to
make sure they behave and the duty
driver to drive them home."
He acknowledged similar trials
had occurred in the past but the
soldiers' support for it seemed to
ebb and flow.
"They are enthusiastic for a
while, but then we hear it isn't late
enough for them or they want to
come home at different times or
whatever," he said.
"So we are trying to massage
it this time using smaller vehicles
or targeting it to individual unit
requirements and so on.
"At the end of the day, this is a
challenging one, but we are deter-
mined to give the soldiers options
that don't involve them making bad
choices about using their cars."
Number of soldiers across the Army
caught drink-driving in 2010
Feb: 15 Mar: 20
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