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Army March 28, 2013
Dubbed the "Rapid
Unit" by an Army buddy,
Duntroon Sallyman Nigel
Roden is supporting soldiers in the
furthest reaches of the bush where
his truck can't go.
He's developed a special pack
that can carry all the Sallyman
essentials and gets out on foot to
dispense the goods.
"Some have thought I'm stark
raving mad for doing it and it can be
quite exhausting," he says.
"But I wouldn't give it up for
Having been a Sallyman since
2006, Mr Roden spent time with
6RAR where he first wore a pack
after being issued a challenge.
It was once he was posted to
Duntroon that he started thinking
about options for providing dis-
mounted Sallyman refreshments.
Contacting an old friend with
experience in field equipment, he
was able to drill down the exact
requirements to provide his service
in the field away from the truck.
His Sallyman field pack, now
custom-built to his requirements,
can carry up to 50L of liquid and
multiple packets of snacks, includ-
ing biscuits, chewing gum and hard-
Having completed some initial
field trials with RMC staff cadets,
Mr Roden has found the equipment
fits the bill perfectly.
"I carried 25L of cordial and 10L
of water chilled with ice on the last
stomp," he says.
"When we stopped for hydration
breaks I was able to dispense the
cordial very quickly."
The two Camelbak Squadbak
hydration packs he carries have been
slightly modified to allow rapid dis-
pensing to the soldiers.
"I emptied about 25L in six min-
utes on the last march.
"Once I started telling the staff
cadets I had jubie juice I had a huge
line before I had even finished my
Like any soldier with new equip-
ment, he still has plans to modify his
kit further, with the first changes to
include adding pouches to the front,
much like chest webbing, to dis-
pense snack items without the need
to remove the pack.
Mr Roden says he has received
great feedback from staff and cadets.
Duntroon's Salvation Army representative is going where no Sallyman has gone before Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
Carries 20-50L of water for dispensing
-- can simultaneously carry two differ-
ent types of liquid.
Carries 4kg of lollies and biscuits for
Room for 3-6L of water, 24 hours of
food, first aid kit and cold weather
clothing for personal use.
Ability to comfortably sustain a
40-60kg load for up to 18 hours.
Strength and durability to allow regu-
lar use over several years.
Stepping up support
"I was a bit sceptical at first and
was wondering if it was all worth
it," he says.
"I think I hit the mark though
and everyone appreciates the role
"Every Sallyman is unique. We
all connect to our soldiers in differ-
"Although we have a common-
ality of welfare objectives and our
trucks, we all have our own charac-
ter and personalities."
Physical training is one of the
ways he connects with soldiers
and has done so for years, joining
them in PT sessions and now pack
But you can't simply pick up a
pack and start marching, as most
Mr Roden says training for the
new method has eaten up a large
portion of his spare time.
"In between my normal duties
I get out and pack march at least
once a fortnight," he says.
"I often run as well."
He ran in the Melbourne
Marathon last year and raised more
than $5000 to support wounded
Being previously posted to
6RAR, he felt the pain when the
unit lost members in Afghanistan
and ran with their names on his
"I will always find that special
way to demonstrate the role of a
good Sallyman," he says.
"Doing these things shows my
love for the soldiers and working
out with the pack shows that joy
I get from getting out there with
Despite the new pack-based
option, Mr Roden is not about
to give up the iconic green
TABULATED DATA: SALLYMAN PACK
Brew time: Duntroon Sallyman Nigel Roden unpacks goodies from his pack during a field outing away from the iconic green truck. Inset, setting off on
dismounted Sallyman operations.
Photos by Cpl Nick Wiseman
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