Home' Army News : July 21st 2011 Contents 22 TRAINING
Army July 21, 2011
STAFF from 1 Bde have sharp-
ened their knowledge of amphibi-
ous operations with a familiarisa-
tion visit to USS Cleveland in
Docked in Darwin Harbour for
resupply during Pacific Partnership,
the USS Cleveland provided an
opportunity for the Army's heavy
brigade to get an early look at a
ship similar in design to the Largs
Bay, soon to enter service.
Brigade major Maj David
McCammon said the familiarisa-
tion visit was an important step for
"It was important to actually
walk through this ship, to see its
features, its strengths and weak-
nesses close up and begin thinking
about how we will operate with our
own new amphibious capabilities in
the coming years," he said.
The Largs Bay, due for delivery
into service next year, will be fol-
lowed by the Canberra Class LHD
amphibious assault ships in 2014,
introducing a range of challenges
and opportunities for amphibious
Commander 1 Bde Brig Gus
McLachlan said the ships would
change the way the Army deployed
the land force by sea.
Heavy brigade gets heads
up on amphibious options
"For one, the well deck in these
ships will now allow us to deploy
the complete combined arms capa-
bility, including armoured vehicles
and medium artillery," he said.
Brig McLachlan said his forma-
tion's experience gained through
the humanitarian missions in Aceh
and Padang bore out the impor-
tance of delivering aid to disaster
areas as quickly and efficiently as
"The Largs Bay and the
Canberra Class ships will improve
our amphibious capability consid-
erably, but those types of opera-
tions are very complex, so the more
we learn now, the better prepared
we will be when it comes time to
mobilise again with the new ships."
Maj McCammon said the ship,
the third oldest in the US Navy's
fleet and a veteran of the Tet
Offensive, was designed primarily
with combat in mind.
"I was very interested in how
its landing craft integrated into the
rest of the ship. It was also a good
chance for 1 Armd Regt to see how
the M1A1 and smaller AFVs could
be employed from the well deck,"
The ultimate terminal test
By WO1 Phil Thamm
WOULD you put your life on the
line to pass an assessment? IET
parachute riggers did just that when
they conducted the pack/jump
phase of their rigger course.
The latest 23-week parachute rig-
ger course finished on July 15 and
trainees learnt to pack and maintain
a multitude of parachutes and aerial
delivery equipment. The course also
involves driver and forklift courses
and, finally, the Basic Parachute
Course (BPC), from which trainees
are awarded their parachute wings.
Since the rigger trade's incep-
tion more than 40 years ago, trainees
packed and jumped their own para-
chutes on their BPC. In recent years
this was discontinued as policy did
not specifically permit it, but with an
addition to the policy, the practice
resumed on the latest IET parachute
The Army School of Ordnance's
Parachute Rigger Platoon Warrant
Officer, WO2 Robert MacLachlan,
ALTC Bandiana, said all trainees were
challenged during the ground training
phase of the BPC.
"It is physically demanding and
there is a lot of stress placed on the
body during the ground training and
landing descents from the flight train-
ers," WO2 MacLachlan said.
"Trainees have a week's train-
ing in packing the Army's T10B-D
parachute and are assessed at ALTC
Bandiana so they are competent
before they begin the BPC at Nowra.
"They were hesitant at first and
showed a lot more attention to detail
packing their parachutes, but with the
instructors' checks, they achieved the
outcome required, which ultimately
led up to them successfully conduct-
ing a parachute descent."
Under the watchful eye of their
instructors, the trainees packed their
own parachutes just before starting
the BPC at the Parachute School in
Nowra. After packing, the parachutes
were carefully stowed away for the
fourth jump of the course.
IET Pte Alexander Law was excit-
ed but tentative going on his BPC, but
said he had faith in the Army para-
chute equipment and in his training.
"It is a great idea for riggers to be
able to jump their own parachutes,"
"The ground training on the BPC
was quite tough and I was nervous on
the parachute tower, as I have a fear of
"I had confidence in my packing
abilities and I found my first jump
quite easy as I was concentrating on
my drills rather than on the fact I was
going to jump out of an aircraft.
"Actually, when it came to my
fourth jump, I forgot that it was my
parachute that I was jumping until
after I landed.
"My confidence has only increased
after jumping my own parachute and
it also gives me great confidence in
packing other people's parachutes."
Pte Benjamin McKenzie has fol-
lowed in the footsteps of his father, a
rigger from the 1980s.
Pte McKenzie said the BPC was
tough but a lot of fun.
"When I came to packing my own
parachute, I was not at all concerned.
"The parachutes are very reliable
and the supervisors conducting stage
checks increases safety.
"In the aircraft, I didn't give it a
thought that I was jumping my own
parachute and just carried out my
drills. After I exited and my parachute
blossomed above my head, only then
did I remember I packed it. What a
The four trainees, Ptes Alexander
Law, Benjamin McKenzie, Chris
Egan and Stephen Cuthbert, were
presented with their coveted airborne
maroon berets and parachute rigger
badges upon graduation.
Parachute rigging offers many opportunities,
including free fall and other advanced para-
chute courses. To learn more, check out the
Stay Army website at http://intranet.defence.
gov.au/armyweb/sites/STAYARMY/ or contact
WO2 Robert MacLachlan by email to
Neatness counts: Instructor Sgt Garth Harvey checks trainee parachute rigger Pte Chris Egan's work during a
Bags packed: Trainee parachute rigger Pte
Alexander Law proudly displays his freshly packed
parachute before the jump.
Go go go: Paratroopers in training exit a Hercules
over HMAS Albatross near Nowra during a basic
parachute course (file photo).
Wet feet: US Navy Leut-Cmdr Frank Lencz, operations officer on
USS Cleveland, explains the well deck capability to 1 Bde staff
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