Home' Army News : September 16th 2010 Contents FEATURES 27
Army September 16, 2010
IT WAS a pivotal moment for
the Army Reserve and, as Col
Rowan Martin reads it, the use of
reservists on Operation Anode in
Solomon Islands was a winner.
As a lieutenant colonel he com-
manded CTF 635 when Rotation 11
of Op Anode became the first rotation
of a company-size reserve force from
December 2006 to April 2007.
Platoon-level reserve deployments
had served in Solomon Islands but
Rotation 11 set a new benchmark.
Col Martin said the deployment of the
largely Brisbane-based reservists had
obvious benefits for the ARA, employ-
ers and reservists themselves.
"It was a great honour to take the
task on," Col Martin said. "Personally,
reserve unit to deploy with a fair
chunk of the unit.
"It was a particular and wonderful
challenge to establish a set of proce-
dures and planning documents for my
successor. We accepted the challenge
of breaking new ground."
He said in his two years in the
battalion, more than 70 soldiers trans-
ferred from the ARes to the ARA.
"That's effectively two platoons to
the ARA. Without a doubt, operational
deployment was a very important fac-
tor in them making that decision."
He said the deployment demon-
strated the importance military fami-
lies played in the success of opera-
"When someone joins the ARA
then they can expect to be away from
home and deploy on operations," Col
"But this was a new experience for
the ARes soldiers and the support from
families cannot be underestimated
in the success of Op Anode from the
Targeted mission-specific training
laid the groundwork for success so
Rotation 11 encountered only "what
Col Martin said Op Anode gave
reservists something they could not
experience at domestic camps, exer-
cises or weekend parades.
"They get a taste of the range of
responsibilities of the full-time sol-
dier," he said.
"Being deployed away from home
for a long time has its own sets of
challenges but also rewards not other-
wise available to them.
"Those experiences make them
more rounded soldiers.
"When they return home to their
reserve units, they will be able to share
that experience with others around
them to provide a better context to
their subsequent training."
Col Martin added that employers
were not left out of the equation.
"We briefed them before the opera-
tion. We had a very active campaign in
getting employers onside because we
realised that if they were provided with
the best possible information, they
would be would be more encouraged
to allow their employees to deploy,"
"We had visits by employers to
theatre. Each month we sent home
a DVD of their employees and their
work on operations to show them what
they were doing."
The members of Rotation 11 were
delighted that some World War II vet-
erans, who had served in the Pacific
Setting the standard
The work of Brisbane-based soldiers laid the
foundation for more deployments of reservists
on Operation Anode, Barry Rollings reports.
On patrol: Pte Luke Aimes (interpreter) speaks to one of the village elders in the Solomon Islands during
25/49RQR's history-making deployment as the first company-size reserve force to serve on Op Anode.
Photo by Cpl Rachel Ingram
theatre, presented Op Anode patches to
their modern-day counterparts.
"Our battalion, 25/49RQR, oper-
ated in the Pacific during WWII and
the presentation reminded current
soldiers they were the young genera-
tion of a proud battalion history," Col
During Rotation 11, DSTO was
commissioned to look at findings and
recommendations regarding opera-
tional deployments of reservists. This
independent analysis was intended to
determine the most effective way to
raise, train and sustain an ARes capa-
bility for subsequent deployments.
"It was designed to report on
the unique requirement of a reserve
deployment and we wanted to use it
as a benchmark to ensure what we are
doing and did was always improved
upon; and that subsequent deploy-
ments learnt those lessons," Col
were held throughout
August and into early
September for the
CDF Commission of
Inquiry (COI) into
the death of Pte David
Pte Smith, who was
posted to the School of
Armour, was killed in
a training accident at
Puckapunyal in June
He died as the result
of injuries he sustained
when the APC he was in
rolled during an exercise.
COI President Paul
Willee, QC, is expected
to submit his report to
CDF before the end of
The COI was con-
vened at the direction of
CDF to gather informa-
tion on the facts sur-
rounding the incident
to try to prevent similar
Findings from the
inquiry may be used
to inform decisions on
improving safety, work
practices or procedures.
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