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Army January 31, 2013
Farewell to 17 Sig Regt as squadrons move, Michael Brooke reports.
SOLDIERS from 17 Sig Regt
bid farewell to their unit mas-
cot -- a 240kg African male lion
-- when they visited Mogo Zoo
for the last time before their unit
disbanded late last year.
The mascot, known as Sig
Mercury since his induc-
tion three years ago, roared
with pride when he greeted his
Army comrades at Mogo Zoo
in Batemans Bay on November
1-2.Sig Mercury has been 17 Sig
Regt's mascot since 2008. In a
reciprocal arrangement soldiers
from 17 Sig Regt help of the zoo
with repairs and upgrades to Sig
Mercury's cage and other main-
tenance tasks such as building
the transportable cage for the
lion to move between the zoo
and Holsworthy, where he was a
CO 17 Sig Regt Lt-Col
Matthew Kitchin said the unit
worked hard to obtain Sig
Mercury, which enabled the sig-
nallers to resurrect the tradition
of a lion as their mascot.
"Sig Mercury was the second
lion to serve as the unit mas-
cot and his recruitment was all
the more significant because the
unit's motto was that of a roar-
ing lion's head," Lt-Col Kitchin
"The members of 17 Sig Regt
were extremely proud to have
Sig Mercury as their mascot."
When not parading at 17 Sig
Regt, where RAEME soldiers
built him a cage as his barracks,
Sig Mercury went by the name
Under the arrangement with
Mogo Zoo, Sig Mercury paraded
at unit anniversaries and received
many visits from unit members
over the years.
Lt-Col Kitchin said Sig
Mercury had been a welcome
addition to 17 Sig Regt, which
over the past six years had
worked tirelessly to establish
itself as a centre for excellence
in communications and logistics
TWO special leaders were
acknowledged by CA
Lt-Gen David Morrison
when 17 Sig Regt con-
ducted its disbandment
The CA presented the
Federation Star to Maj Phil
Rutherford on November
13 to mark a career that
started in 1965.
Maj-Gen Mick Slater
presented a Silver
Commendation to Cfn
Michael Dredge, who
assisted people injured in
a car accident.
Lt-Gen Morrison said
Maj Rutherford had seen
operational service in
South Vietnam and per-
formed in a number of
trades across two corps
and varied regimental
appointments during a
career spanning more than
Maj Rutherford said his
career had been a period
of continuous learning
and development due to
technologies the Army had
"One of the most impor-
tant things I have learnt in
that time is just how much
more there is to learn in
order to truly contribute as
a soldier," he said.
Maj Rutherford said
he stayed in the Army
because he felt challenged
and could use his post-
graduate science studies
to contribute to improve-
"Soldiers today have
many more opportunities
to learn and grow, not just
in their specific trade roles
but also in a wider range
of knowledge and skills,"
His advice for young
soldiers was to listen to
those with experience
while older soldiers need-
ed to continue to learn,
adapt and commit.
"Learn what is exciting
and new, and how your
experience can help Army
concepts and ideas grow,"
"Teach, both formally
and informally, those junior
to you, in terms of experi-
ence and wisdom, and
counsel those above you
on the lessons that have
been learnt through years
spent at the coalface."
Maj Rutherford said
age had not wearied him
and he was as excited
about learning and growing
as he had been the day he
first pulled on a uniform.
Sigs salute king of the
beasts in fond farewell
Feeding time: A 17 Sig Regt soldier feeds the regimental mascot, Sig Mercury, an
African male lion from Mogo Zoo.
Honoured: CA Lt-Gen David Morrison presents Maj
Phillip Rutherford with his Federation Star at 17 Sig
Regt's disbandment parade. Photo by Michael Brooke
AFTER six years in operation, 17 Sig
Regt has conducted a disbandment
parade at Holsworthy Barracks to mark
the first of many changes to Army's
structure under Plan Beersheba.
At the November 13 parade, CA
Lt-Gen David Morrison said the parade
that in its short history of service, 17 Sig
Regt had made major contributions to
operations and exercises in Australia and
around the globe.
"Notwithstanding your achievements,
Army has made the decision to disband
17 Sig Regt and to invest the capability
that you represent elsewhere," he said.
"The decision to reinvest the capabil-
ity that 17 Sig Regt represents marks the
beginning of the implementation of Plan
Beersheba," he said.
Lt-Gen Morrison said well-trained
signallers and modern equipment would
form the core of Land 200's digital battle
management system, which was critical
to Army's transformation to a modern
"The recent digitisation trials conduct-
ed within 7 Bde has clearly demonstrated
that only an army that can leverage the
enormous advantages provided by mod-
ern data/voice communications equip-
ment will prevail on the battlespace," he
"The equipment delivered under Land
200 will ... fundamentally change the way
the Army of the future fights and you men
and women of the Royal Australian Signals
Corps are part of that vital change".
As a result of the force modernisation
review, 17 Sig Regt has disbanded and in
its place 145 Sig Sqn has been raised as an
independent sub-unit of 17CSS Bde, while
127 Sig Tp has moved to 1 Sig Regt.
The Princess Anne banner was marched
onto the parade ground and saluted by
Lt-Gen Morrison, as well as the princi-
ple official guest, Commander Forces
Command Maj-Gen Mick Slater.
In 2006, 17 Sig Regt was formed when
130 and 145 Sig Sqns were merged and a
support squadron was raised.
CO 17 Sig Regt Lt-Col Matthew
Kitchin said the unit, in its various forms,
had provided communications support to
the Army since the Vietnam War.
"17 Sig Regt has provided critical
communications support to Australian
Army units on operations at home and
abroad, with personnel from the regiment
deployed in the Middle East, the South-
West Pacific and South-East Asia."
17 Sig Regt has
support to units on
operations at home
and abroad, with
in the Middle East,
Pacific and South-
-- Lt-Col Matthew Kitchin,
CO 17 Sig Reg
Goodbye: CA Lt-Gen David Morrison reviews 17 Sig Regt during its disbandment parade at Holsworthy Barracks late
Photo by Michael Brooke
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