Home' Army News : December 8th 2011 Contents 2 NEWS
Army December 8, 2011
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Cpl Zenith King: (02) 6265 2151
LCpl Mark Doran: (02) 6265 1304
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Face of Army
The Soldiers' Newspaper
Given the tour: Gnr David Lutomski
introduces his boss, Director of Nursing
Operation Support at Canberra Hospital Judy
Gosper to a family in Solomon Islands during
Exercise Boss Lift.
Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard
said 2012 would be a crucial
year for Australian forces in
Afghanistan during her update to
the House of Representatives in
Parliament on November 21.
In her address, Ms Gillard said
many patrols were now being led by
the ANA with Australian assistance
and 11 forward operating bases had
been handed over to Afghan forces,
however, some sections of the 4th
Bde were developing faster than
"One of the brigade's kandaks,
or battalions, is now close to being
able to conduct fully independent
operations with Australian advis-
ers," Ms Gillard said.
"The others are making steady
progress with more expected to be
capable of conducting independent
operations next year."
Ms Gillard said the mentoring
mission in Uruzgan province was on
track to transfer security responsi-
bility in the province to the ANA by
the end of 2014, but an Australian
presence in Afghanistan was likely
to continue beyond that date.
"Whether there is still a coun-
ter-terrorism role for the ADF, in
concert with the US and other inter-
national partners, will depend both
on the security situation and on our
discussions with our international
partners," she said.
"The government will keep
under consideration a continued
Australian Special Forces presence
in Afghanistan beyond 2014."
The Prime Minister said she was
"deeply aware" of the burdens and
sacrifices of Defence personnel and
their families amid the high opera-
tional tempo of the past 12 years.
"In the years since 1999 we've
asked much of this generation of our
Defence force personnel," she said.
"We ask much of their families. We
ask much of the communities they
come from and the communities
where they live. And for these good
people, this has been a very hard
Paying tribute to the 11
Australians killed in Afghanistan
this year, Ms Gillard said she want-
ed to ensure wounded personnel
and their families were also remem-
"Our country will recognise and
respect our wounded as well as our
dead," she said.
"Our country will take care of
these Australians as they have taken
care of us. We will see our mission
through, we will see our people
through as well."
Summing up her address to
Parliament, the Prime Minister
described "drinking a non-alco-
holic beer" with ADF personnel in
Darwin during US President Barack
Obama's visit on November 17 as a
highlight of her year.
"We will do what is neces-
sary," she said. "We will defend our
national interests. We will deny ter-
rorism a safe haven in Afghanistan.
We will stand by our ally, the United
States. We will complete our mis-
sion of training and transition."
RESPONDING to the Prime Minister's address
to Parliament, Defence Materiel Minister
Jason Clare gave an update on recent equip-
ment upgrades aimed at protecting troops in
New body armour, combat uniforms and
longer range machine guns were among the
initiatives implemented this year, he said.
The Bushmasters were also upgraded with
the installation of protected weapons stations,
internal spall liners and new seating and floor-
ing to give troops better protection against spi-
nal and lower limb injuries from the blast effects
In October, 2000 helmets were fitted with
new padding and harnesses to increase com-
fort and functionality and a further 1500 hel-
mets will be upgraded next year.
"All up we are spending more than $1.6
billion on new equipment to better protect our
troops in Afghanistan," Mr Clare said.
"Earlier this year, we installed a counter
rocket system at Tarin Kot -- and at a number of
our FOBs --to warn troops of rocket attacks.
"To date they have provided advanced
warning of 23 attacks -- giving precious sec-
onds for troops to hit the deck or find cover."
He said Australia would loan three new IED
clearance systems from Canada for a year from
2012 and that work was under way to assess
the possible acquisition of a permanent system.
The systems include two Husky protected
mobility vehicles, which will drive at the front of
convoys and use ground-penetrating radar to
detect IEDs buried in the road, and one Buffalo
mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle fit-
ted with an interrogation arm and Gyrocam
camera to help combat engineers defuse IEDs
At the front: Prime Minister Julia Gillard
addresses ADF personnel in Tarin Kot during her
visit to Afghanistan in early November. Ms Gillard
recently gave an annual update to Parliament
on Australia's operations and progress in
Photo by PO Damian Pawlenko
Third Battalion farewells Holsworthy
By Cfn Max Bree
FOR Pte Julian Palstra, 3RAR's
coming move to Townsville will
mean a new lifestyle and a change
"Some people are sad about
leaving Sydney but I kind of like
the tropical lifestyle," he said.
"It's more laid back and you
can get around in shorts at mid-
The battalion marked the end of
its 29-year stay at Holsworthy with
a ceremonial unveiling of an eagle
monument on November 30.
3RAR veterans joined soldiers
for the battalion's final event in
Sydney as the unit's equipment
sat waiting in new facilities at
Lavarack Barracks ready for next
Battalion 2IC Maj Matt Vine
said 99 per cent of the battalion's
soldiers had "housing solutions"
in Townsville, despite initial prob-
lems. The housing availability sur-
passes the 90 per cent expected by
Toll Transitions when moving a
The task of moving a battalion
was nothing new to former 3RAR
RSM WO1 Col Lee (retd), who
moved with 3RAR from Woodside
to Holsworthy in 1982.
"We had all the dramas of the
boys marrying the local girls," Mr
"Our fellas in Adelaide married
Adelaide girls and they didn't want
to leave, but they came eventually.
"They shouldn't be worried
about going. Townsville has good
nightlife, good restaurants. It's not
like the old Townsville."
The battalion took on a new
role after its move from Woodside
as well, Mr Lee said.
"When we took on the para role
we had to learn how to adapt to a
new way of insertion.
"But you're still infantry -- it's
just a different way to get there.
And we became very good at it."
Mr Lee also hit out at a recent
report in Army that said 3RAR had
its "wings clipped".
"The battalion never gets
its wings clipped," he said.
"Regardless of whatever role it
gets, the battalion will always soar
with the eagles."
The battalion lowers the flag
at Holsworthy for the last time on
The soldiers of 3RAR begin
work in Townsville on February 7
Leaving a mark: Pte Ben Wilkins, 3RAR, presents arms as part of the catafalque party for 3RAR's newly
unveiled eagle monument at the battalion's farewell from Holsworthy Barracks.
Photo by Cfn Max Bree
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