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Army July 21, 2011
IN OCTOBER 2010 I made an application to re-
enlist in the ARes after a break of four-and-a-half
On the medical form I was asked if I had high blood
pressure (hypertension). I ticked the yes column.
On speaking to a recruiting officer I was informed
that this was a Med 4 classification and that I would not
be medically fit for Army service. This was confirmed in
writing a few weeks later.
I joined the Army in the early 1970s and was diag-
nosed with hypertension in 1984. I served until 2005 for
21 years. There was nothing said that I couldn't continue
to serve my country. What's the difference now?
My hypertension is controlled by medication now as
it was and always has been since diagnosed.
Should I have been medically discharged all those
I also received a letter explaining how tough the train-
ing would be and how physical the living conditions in
the field are. Really?
WO2 James Moore (retd)
Sanctuary Point, NSW
The Director of Army Health, Col Leonard Brennan, responds:
MR MOORE has correctly identified that there are
significant differences between recruiting and serving
The Army necessarily sets its recruiting standards high
and generally any medical condition that requires regular
medication is grounds for rejection.
For serving soldiers, it is recognised that it would
be inefficient to medically discharge soldiers if they fell
below these standards during their service career.
The serving standards allow soldiers with some rela-
tively minor medical condition, controlled by simple med-
ications, to continue to serve with appropriate restrictions.
Army retains the ability to waiver the recruiting stand-
ard for applicants with critical skills if they meet the serv-
ing medical standard.
A soldier's decision to discharge rather than transfer to
the reserve force is therefore an important one.
HAVING served in both the
ARA and ARes for over 30
years, commanded two units
including female officers and
soldiers, and, until 2008, lec-
tured in Engineering Leadership
at post-graduate level, the fol-
lowing comments are
There is no evidence in any
accepted research that bas-
tardisation (that is, gross belit-
tlement of a person) produces
either discipline or a more
The excuse that such measures
as spreading rubbish over a
recruit's room to improve his
personal hygiene constitutes
'training' is counterproductive.
During inspection, finding
non-existent 'faults' or 'dirt'
on an obviously clean weapon
for the purpose of penalising a
soldier breeds resentment, but
substandard weapon handling
demands further training.
Australia's military history
demonstrates certain 'digger'
Respect for others.
Kindness to civilians and
An attitude approaching
chivalry to the enemy,
except where that enemy
has committed atrocities.
Traditional leadership makes
the chain of command account-
able. In recent incidents receiving
media publicity, obvious ques-
tions appear to be omitted:
What was the section com-
mander doing at the time?
How much did the company
In the case of cadets, what
were the senior cadets in adja-
cent rooms doing?
When did the platoon or com-
pany commander conduct his/
her last OC's hour or even talk
informally to the complainant?
Did the platoon commander
keep a platoon notebook and
know the names of all his or
her troops, and their strengths
Lt-Col Claude Palmer (retd)
Runaway Bay, Queensland
Points for leaders
Privilege: The ADF's leaders must remember their responsibilities to those they command, according to Lt-Col Claude Palmer (retd).
Photo by Lauren Black
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