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Army June 9, 2011
Sigs turn up the heat
By LCpl Mark Doran
CHALLENGED by freezing tem-
peratures, almost 100 reserv-
ists from 8 Sig Regt took part in
Exercise Mercury Rage from May
13-16 at the Majura Training Area
The enthusiastic reservists from
depots in Adamstown, Canberra,
Dundas, Holsworthy and Randwick
committed themselves to the four-day
activity to practise their trade and core
Ex Mercury Rage was part of
8 Sig Regt’s preparation for coming
exercises, including Exercise Talisman
Sabre, to be held from July 1 to August
7, as well as coming rehearsal exercises
for Operations Anode and Astute.
The signallers controlled DSN and
DRN terminals, managed satellite
communications, laid lines, conduct-
ed radio reconnaissance and clearing
patrols and rehearsed infantry minor
CO 8 Sig Regt Lt-Col Darrin Glen
said the unit had deliberately targeted
commercial communication experts
to be enlisted in RASigs and his part-
time soldiers were professionals in
their fields. “The 2 Div signallers are
becoming a significant capability for
Army,” he said.
“We’re sending individuals and
capability to Op Anode and Op Astute
and last year a number of reservists
also deployed to Op Slipper.
“I take my hat off to how these sol-
diers can turn up every Tuesday night
and every training weekend because
they also have full-time family, social
and work commitments – their dedi-
cation and professionalism has been
LCpl Susan Hutchinson, who
outside of her ARes role works for
Defence in Future Joint Concepts, was
responsible for internal telecommuni-
cations during Ex Mercury Rage and
said she was looking forward to Ex
“Talisman Sabre is a great way to
consolidate everything in our trade
in an environment which is well pre-
pared and supported and I am look-
ing forward to advancing my trade
skills and supporting the ARA,” LCpl
“I have always considered my work
in reserves as a parallel career and I
find because of my training I have a
range of skills and insights I can now
apply in the workplace.
“There are always challenges as we
only come together for training on the
weekends, so it is essentially a new
team every time we deploy, but we
have a great group and we have had a
“The regiment is fortunate because
we have so many people with a wide
range of skills.”
Cpl Andrew O’Brien also works for
Defence in his civilian career and was
part of the satellite bearer detachment,
which maintained the DSN, DRN
and voice communication during the
He said the exercise had been chal-
lenging and at times stressful because
of the extra tasks, such as conducting
perimeter defence while trying to main-
“My ARes work has put me in good
stead for civilian employment as some
of the challenges I face in the field help
me in my job by allowing me to think
outside the box,” Cpl O’Brien said.
Loud and clear: Cpl Andrew O’Brien conducts a comms check during Ex Mercury Rage at Majura Range. Inset, LCpl Susan Hutchinson puts her
fieldcraft abilities to the test as the signallers practise core soldier skills.
Photos by LCpl Mark Doran
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