Home' Army News : June 21st 2012 Contents Army June 21, 2012
TWO well-known faces at
ARTC Kapooka recently
notched up 40 years' service
each, having started their
careers in the same recruit platoon.
To top it off, their platoon sergeant
from 1972 was on hand to congratulate
Capt Ian Marston, of ARTC HQ,
and Induction Coordinator Sgt Ronny
Edwards were visited by former pla-
toon sergeant Neville Smerdon, now
retired and living in Wagga.
Mr Smerdon, who served for 20
years including a tour of Vietnam with
5RAR, said he was surprised they last-
ed so long.
"They came in here not knowing
much and trying to buck the system,
like most normal recruits, and I had to
straighten them out," he said.
"But it's pretty good seeing these
blokes still here."
Capt Marston said he joined the
Army because he didn't know what he
wanted to do.
"Nowhere in hell did I think I'd
still be here after 40 years but I'm still
here," he said.
for a period of time and I'd see what
happened after that."
Exercise Long Look in 1983 and
representing and coaching the Defence
Services Aussie rules team were some
of the highlights of his career.
"I was attached to a locating battery
at Lark Hill in England and we went
over to Denmark and Germany and
worked with the drones (early UAVs),"
"On the way over our plane made
a forced landing in India where we
were taken under armed guard until the
plane was ready to leave, which was
another exciting story."
A lot has changed in 40 years. Sgt Dave
Morley catches up with two long-serving
soldiers who went through Kapooka together.
Long service: Capt Ian Marston (left) and Sgt Ronnie Edwards catch up with their former Kapooka platoon
sergeant, Neville Smerdon, 40 years after they went through Kapooka at the same time.
Another highlight was serving in
1/19RNSWR, where his two sons were
Sgt Edwards said he joined the
Army as an 18 year old looking to do
something with his life.
"I never thought I'd last 40 years,"
"I was here two weeks and wanted
to discharge and go home.
"Sgt Smerdon marched me up to
the platoon commander's office with a
smirk on his face and after they yelled
and screamed at me for 10 minutes, I
changed my mind."
Sgt Edwards remembers watching
the Army "dissolve in just a matter
of hours" in December 1972, when a
newly-elected government announced
the end of National Service.
"All the National Servicemen were
off over the balcony and the Army
halved in size overnight, which was a
pretty significant thing," he said.
Capt Marston said one of the most
positive changes he'd noticed in 40
years was the approach to drinking.
"In my sergeants' mess in 1979,
there was a revolt from some of the
oldies when it was announced we were
no longer allowed to drink heavy beer
at lunchtime," he said.
"At that time they believed it was
their God-given right and they weren't
happy that they could only drink light
Both men are keen to stay in the
Army for as long as they are able to
perform their duties well.
Links Archive June 7th 2012 July 5th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page