Home' Army News : November 24th 2011 Contents NEWS 3
Army November 24, 2011
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
LCPL Luke Gavin's family,
friends and fellow 2RAR soldiers
came together during a private
memorial service at Lavarack
Barracks' All Saints Chapel in
Townsville on November 14.
Married father of three, LCpl
Gavin, 2RAR, was killed on opera-
tions in Afghanistan on October 29.
On behalf of LCpl Gavin's CO,
Lt-Col Chris Smith, who remained
on operations in Afghanistan, 3 Bde
commander Brig Stuart Smith deliv-
ered a moving eulogy.
In his address, Brig Smith
quoted LCpl Gavin's mates who
described the NCO as an unstop-
pable man who took pride in all
aspects of soldiering.
"Luke was fiercely loyal -- loyal
to his mates who he insisted on
being beside for all training mile-
stones, loyal to his family who
he openly declared as his greatest
inspiration, and loyal to his nation
by believing in the uniform he wore
and all that it represented," Brig
According to troops who
served under LCpl Gavin, it was
his personal courage, initiative and
determination that enabled them
to achieve success during several
clashes with insurgents.
"If a man as young as Luke can
recognise the hazards of war but
willingly accept the risk and put
aside his personal wishes in order
to defend our freedoms, then surely
this is motivation for all Australians
to make their own contribution
towards the betterment of our com-
munity, our nation," Brig Smith
said.Bearer party commander Sgt
Justin Huggett also recited a touch-
ing tribute to LCpl Gavin before
the bearer party, made up of 2RAR
soldiers, escorted the fallen digger's
coffin from the service on a gun
LCpl Gavin enlisted in the
Australian Army on November 4,
2004. His recruit training reports
described him as a man who applied
himself to all tasks and willingly
When 2RAR was warned for
active service in Afghanistan, LCpl
Gavin was selected to mentor troops
from the 4th Bde of the Afghan
National Army and deployed to
Uruzgan province in May this year.
On October 29, LCpl Gavin
was mentoring troops at Forward
Operating Base Pacemaker when he
was killed by an Afghan soldier.
LCpl Gavin is survived by
his wife Jacklyn, children Josh,
Holly and Olivia, parents Judith
and Michael, brother Joel, sister,
Allyson and grandmother Holly.
CA Lt-Gen David Morrison and
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
were among the dignitaries who
paid their respects.
THREE Australian and two Afghan
soldiers were seriously wounded
when an Afghan National Army
(ANA) soldier opened fire on them
in eastern Uruzgan, Afghanistan, on
The three Australians, members of
Mentoring Task Force 3, were treated
at the scene before being transported to
the hospital facility at Tarin Kot.
The soldiers were then transferred
to the hospital at Kandahar Airfield for
emergency treatment where all three
were in a serious condition.
A man-hunt has been under way to
apprehend the offender. As Army went
to print he had not been caught.
CDF Gen David Hurley said
Afghanistan was a complex and dan-
"We will be working with our ANA
colleagues to investigate this incident."
The offending ANA soldier fired a
burst of rounds and a 40mm grenade at
Australian and ANA soldiers inside a
patrol base in the Charmestan region,
north-east of Tarin Kot.
The soldier responsible for the attack
fled the scene and was initially pursued
by ANA soldiers.
Gen Hurley said Afghan Brig-Gen
Mohammed Zafar Kahn immediately
ordered members of the 3rd Kandak be
disarmed and confined to barracks.
"Additional MTF 3 personnel from a
nearby patrol base have moved forward
to Patrol Base Nasir and are providing
security and overwatch," Gen Hurley
"At this time the motive for the
shooting is unknown."
The attack came less than two weeks
after the deaths of Capt Bryce Duffy, Cpl
Ashley Birt and LCpl Luke Gavin, who
were killed at another forward operating
base. The offending ANA soldier in that
incident was killed by Australian sol-
diers acting in self defence.
Second attack Afghan soldier yet to be found
Eyes on: Cpl James Reece
describes the shooting incident at
Patrol Base Nasir to commander
JTF 633 Maj Gen Angus
Campbell. Photo by Cpl Raymond Vance
Courage and determination: 3 Bde commander Brig Stuart Smith
pays his respects at a private service held for LCpl Luke Gavin
Photo by LS Andrew Dakin
Northern exposure: US President Barack Obama meets ADF personnel in Darwin after giving a speech on the
long-standing relationship between Australia and the US.
Photo by Cpl Melina Mancuso
US troops to
be based in NT
A RELAXED US President Barack Obama wooed
a "true blue" audience of about 1800 during his
lightning stopover in Darwin on November 17.
Mr Obama addressed the audience of ADF
personnel, US marines and members of the local
community at RAAF Base Darwin.
"Today, I want to say thank you. Thank you for
a job well done. Thank you for your incredible sac-
rifices. Thank you for your families' sacrifices."
The President's visit to Darwin also included
a trip to the memorial for the USS Peary, sunk in
the bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942.
By Graham McBean
DEEPER US-Australia military coop-
eration under new force posture ini-
tiatives between the two countries
will see up to 2500 US marines and
personnel rotating through Australian
bases within the next five years.
The initiatives were announced
during US President Barack Obama's
two-day visit to Australia on November
16-17 and will enhance bilateral collabo-
ration and offer greater opportunities for
combined training and exercises.
The US troops will be on rotation
for up to six months at a time and will
conduct joint and separate training in the
Northern Territory's dry season.
US troop presence will begin as
early as July next year with an expected
250-strong liaison element of marines
expected at 1 Bde's Robertson Barracks.
Closer cooperation between the
Australian and US Air Forces has
also been announced and will result
in increased rotations of US aircraft
throughout northern Australia.
Importantly, a closer training part-
nership with US marines is expected to
greatly benefit the Australian Army and
Navy as the ADF develops its expertise
in amphibious operations in the coming
Defence Materiel Minister Jason
Clare said the new Landing Helicopter
Dock amphibious ships being built in
Spain would carry 1000 Australian sol-
diers, as well as about 100 trucks and 12
helicopters and would require new skills.
He said operating them would be
vastly different to the RAN's present
"We need to know how to use them,
how to operate them. We haven't done
it at that scale before," he said. "The
Americans have been doing it for dec-
ades and they'll be very helpful in help-
ing us skill up."
Mr Clare said US troops would con-
duct their own training at times but a lot
of training would be done together.
"For Australia, that's great. It
means Australian soldiers training with
American marines; it'll give us some of
the skills that we're going to need over
the course of the next few years," he
said.The new arrangements were
announced during President Obama's
visit, which coincided with the 60th
anniversary of the ANZUS alliance.
In a joint statement, President Obama
and Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the
initiatives strengthened an already robust
partnership that had been an anchor of
stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific
President Obama said the region was
of "huge strategic importance" to the
US and the deepening of the ANZUS
alliance sent a clear message of that US
"These rotations, which are going to
be taking place on Australian bases, will
bring our militaries even closer togeth-
er," Mr Obama said.
A joint US-Australia working group
has been planning the new arrange-
ments for 12 months, beginning at the
AUSMIN 2010 talks in Melbourne.
The working group looked at the
north and northwest of Australia and
western seaboard for the potential to
enhance and expand US visits, training
and exercises by both countries.
The Northern Territory's accessibil-
ity provides opportunities to explore
increased cooperation with our neigh-
bours and prepare for regional contin-
"These initiatives will better posi-
tion both nations to join with other part-
ners to respond in a timely and effective
manner to a range of contingencies in
the Asia-Pacific, including humanitar-
ian assistance and disaster relief," Mr
Obama and Ms Gillard said in their joint
Ms Gillard welcomed the new
arrangements and said closer ties would
ultimately benefit the ADF.
PRES MEETS TROOPS
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