Home' Army News : March 1st 2012 Contents Call us on 1300 738 601
Lease Package Save
Buy a new car with your Pre-Tax Salary
$200 Fuel Voucher or
for the length of your
initial lease (up to a
maximum of 5 years)
with a retail value
Pay no GST on the
purchase price of your
Pay no GST on your
fuel, services, tyres and
Pick the car you want - it's your
You receive national fleet
discount on the price of your car.
One easy monthly payment
and save thousands $$$$
Fleet Network Pty Ltd *To qualify for this offer you must mention this advertisement to Fleet Network prior to the completion of your initial contract. Vehicle must be new and supplied by Fleet Network. Not valid in conjunction
with any other current Fleet Network offers. Employees should consult their employer's salary packaging policy before entering into a contract.
Army March 1, 2012
MOST people come to the
Army after phone calls,
interviews and paperwork
with Defence Recruiting
but it was a marble drawn from a
barrel that brought Lt-Col Gary
Barnes to the Army more than 40
The Army's last continually serv-
ing national serviceman, Lt-Col Barnes
hung up his slouch hat on February 7.
While working as a clerk with the
Engineering Water Supply in South
Australia, Lt-Col Barnes was listen-
ing to the national service lottery as he
drove through Port Lincoln when his
number came up.
"Mine was the second or third
number out of the barrel," he said. "I
was quite pleased. I thought it was an
adventure that I'd like to undertake."
Despite the controversy surrounding
conscription, Lt-Col Barnes believes it
served a purpose at the time but would
not be "politically acceptable" today.
"For the time it was a very good and
efficient solution in fulfilling the need
to get soldiers into the military ASAP to
support the ADF effort in the war.
"I doubt that it would ever happen
again, at least not in my lifetime.
"Even the basic infantryman is now
very technically skilled; no longer can
you just throw a guy a rifle, give him
six months training and expect him to
go off to war."
At 20 years of age, Lt-Col Barnes
arrived for recruit training at 2RTB in
Puckapunyal on July 8, 1971. But after
three weeks he was selected for officer
training at Scheyville near Sydney.
Some people became officers to lead
men or gain status, but Lt-Col Barnes
and his mates were more pragmatic.
"There was more pay as an officer,"
"A number of us thought 'if we're
going to do it for two years we might as
well do it as an officer'.
"After three weeks of being pushed
around by the corporals at Puckapunyal,
we'd had enough and thought that offic-
er training could not possibly be worse.
How wrong we were!"
While Lt-Col Barnes really had no
trouble with the rigours of the train-
ing at OTU Scheyville, only 32 out of
70 men passed the intense 20-week
National Service Officer course
designed to train platoon commanders
However, Australia's involvement in
Vietnam was coming to an end and then
2Lt Barnes graduated just months too
late to be deployed.
"I was bitterly disappointed at the
time, however, in hindsight and for very
many differing reasons, I'm very glad it
didn't happen," he said.
Instead Lt-Col Barnes was posted
to 1RTB Kapooka as a platoon com-
mander training new Army recruits -- 17
year olds instead of the national service
20 year olds.
It was during this two-year posting
that he was inspired to take the "next
step" in his military career after meeting
two corporals from the SASR.
"They were two of the most impres-
sive soldiers I had ever met in my short
career to that date," Lt-Col Barnes said.
He said his selection course was
similar to selection today.
"It was bloody hard. Although ini-
tially it was only a few weeks of physi-
cal and mental stress to condition us
and skim the cream off the top, it was
followed by a number of must-pass
basic skills courses.
"It's the hardest thing you'll do in
your entire life."
He passed selection in 1975 and was
posted to 152 Sig Sqn before becom-
ing the SASR adjutant on promotion to
captain and later the operations officer
at 152 Sig Sqn.
In 1988 he was sent to Germany as
a squadron commander with the UK's
7 Sig Regt and was there for the end of
the Cold War.
Three years after making lieutenant
colonel, he was deployed with the UN
peacekeeping mission to the Western
Sahara in 1993 as the commanding
officer of the Australian contingent.
A posting as Special Force Liaison
Officer to the US Special Forces
Command in late 2001 meant Lt-Col
Barnes served with US Special Forces
during the Iraq war in 2003.
His final posting was as the
Assistant Defence Attaché to the
"That final posting was possibly
one of the most rewarding postings of
my entire career and certainly one that
motivated me to endeavour to continue
to represent Australia, and more impor-
tantly the ADF, in a thoroughly profes-
More than the minimum
The Army's last continually serving Nasho has retired after more than
40 years in uniform, Cpl Max Bree reports.
Long national service: Lt-Col Gary Barnes discusses operations with Polisario liaison officer Bomba Berray
while deployed with UN peacekeeping operations in Western Sahara in 1993.
Photo by LCpl Geoff Fox
Links Archive February 16th 2012 March 15th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page