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Army September 15, 2011
A NEW program for families to complement the
BattleSMART psychological resilience program for
soldiers was announced on August 23.
FamilySMART will provide a suite of five face-
to-face programs available to ADF members and their
partners, delivered in small groups.
The program is designed to empower Defence fam-
ilies to build their wellbeing and psychological health.
Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren
Snowdon said FamilySMART was developed to foster
resilience among Defence families.
"We know Defence families face many difficult
circumstances as a result of their loved ones commit-
ting to the ADF," Mr Snowdon said.
"Deployment, postings and long absences from
home combine to disrupt partners' careers and chil-
The programs have been developed by the Defence
Community Organisation (DCO) in consultation with
Defence's Mental Health Branch.
They will be delivered by 26 Defence social work-
ers across Australia.
The first stage of the scheme will start this month
and involve programs in Darwin, Townsville, Cairns
and Brisbane. It will be expanded to other locations in
The one-hour 'FamilySMART: Reintegration' pres-
entation begins at Robertson Barracks in Darwin dur-
ing the week of October 10 and is aimed at members
recently returned from deployment and their partners.
People can register with DCO Darwin for one of
the three presentations, including a daytime presenta-
tion in the week of October 10 and evening presenta-
tions in the weeks of October 17 and 24.
For more information or to register your interest, contact your
local DCO office or visit www.defence.gov.au/dco
gets a smart
Paws to rem ember
By Cfn Max Bree
SPR Rueben Griggs discovered
the pain of losing his best four-
legged mate when his explo-
sive detection dog (EDD) Nova
chased a ball under a moving car
at Tarin Kot in October 2009.
"I was basically useless for
two weeks," he said. "The world
came crashing down for me;
I didn't know what to do with
Nova and all dogs lost on
operations are now remembered
with a new memorial unveiled
at Steele Barracks in Sydney on
Past and present dog handlers
along with famous EDD Sarbi
came together for an opening of
the recently completed memorial
that replaced an older one nearby.
"Since Herbie and Smitty
(EDD Herbie and Spr Darren
Smith) died, dogs seem to be get-
ting more recognition and they
quite rightly deserve it," Spr
Five dogs have been killed on
operations since 2005 and another
is missing, presumed dead.
The Army tracker dogs were
also honoured with a commemo-
rative plaque unveiled at the old
Ingleburn Army base earlier in
Army tracker dogs served with
the infantry in Vietnam, sniffing
for the enemy ahead of patrols
and helping pursue fleeing adver-
saries after a contact.
Former tracker John
McCallum said the young han-
dlers and their dogs became an
infantry patrol's early warning
"There was nothing between
us and the enemy except our
dog," he said. "And that's a tre-
mendous responsibility; we were
just 19-year-old boys."
Mr McCallum said read-
ing the dog was tricky but the
hardest part came at the end of
"I've had dogs all my life but
every dog is individual," he said.
"Some dogs will point, some dogs
will sit down and some dogs will
just look at you."
"You had to learn to trust the
dog, that's why it was also bloody
hard when you had to come home
and leave them."
While dogs can now return to
Australia after deployment, Nova
would never get that chance and
Spr Griggs came home soon after
He was assigned another dog
and later returned to Afghanistan
and finished the tour but, nearly
three years later, Nova is never far
from his mind.
"It still hits you sometimes,"
he said. "The day she died I
always have a beer for her and I
always get a lot of Facebook mes-
sages for her."
Representative: EDD Sarbi sits proudly in front of the military working dogs memorial at Steele
Barracks in Sydney.
Photo by Cfn Max Bree
THIS year marks 70 years since the
formation of three specific military ser-
vices for women in Australia.
The Women's Australian Auxiliary
Air Force (WAAAF) was established
in February 1941, the Women's Royal
Australian Naval Service (WRANS) was
formed in April 1941 and the Australian
Army Women's Service, later known as
the Australian Women's Army Service
(AWAS), was established in August of
the same year.
Veterans' Affairs Minister Warren
Snowdon said the forces were originally
formed to release men from certain mili-
tary duties and allow their deployment in
fighting units overseas.
"The AWAS took on more than
21,000 women for roles in anti-aircraft
and coastal artillery, ordnance, cipher,
electrical, intelligence and mechanical
units, as clerks, typists and cooks, para-
chute packers, drivers and butchers dur-
ing World War II," Mr Snowdon said.
The AWAS was disbanded after
the war but reinstated in 1951 as the
Women's Royal Australian Army Corps
In the late 1970s, female soldiers
started being integrated into the Army
and the WRAAC was disbanded in 1984.
More than 27,000 women joined the
WAAAF and more than 2000 joined the
WRANS during WWII.
Seventy years of Australian
women serving in uniform
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