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Army June 6, 2013
THE future soldiers and
commanders of the
Infantry Corps are benefit-
ing from the operational
knowledge and experience of
those who have served with dis-
tinction and bravery across battles
One instructor passing his
knowledge to new trainees is
Cpl Giancarlos Taraborrelli, who
earned the Medal for Gallantry for
his actions in the Battle of Kakarak
Cpl Taraborrelli said he thought
about the lessons learnt and how
to apply them in his role as an
instructor every day.
"It's all about the basics," he
"Be good at the basics, know
your weapon systems and your
drills -- that's really it."
Cpl Taraborrelli said a bit of
professionalism went a long way
and emphasised the importance of
maintaining those basic infantry
"As soon as you drop your
standards, you drop your skill
level," he said.
"Even when I was going
through my initial training I treated
every exercise like it was live.
"I've always trained as if there
was a real enemy out there and
then going overseas and actually
contacting the enemy on a two-way
range makes everything more real."
Trainees at the School of Inf
are taught foundation warfighting
skills -- the basics for infantry sol-
diers, which will serve as a founda-
tion for their future careers.
This is built on once they get
to their units and learn battalion-
specific operating procedures and
mission-specific training when
Cpl Taraborrelli said he was
often asked by trainees what it was
like to be on operations.
"We explain to them that every
soldier needs to be a leader. It's
one of our core values and if you
can't think ahead and be that lead-
er, then you're not contributing to
the section," he said.
"The section commander cannot
see the whole battlespace and relies
on his soldiers to come up with
ideas and to let him know that they
are part of it."
But it's not only the trainee sol-
diers who are benefiting from this
knowledge and experience.
Capt Ben Gooley instructs on
the platoon sergeant and platoon
commander courses at the school.
His training was validated on oper-
ations during a battle in which his
sergeant was awarded the Medal
Then a lieutenant, he was the
patrol commander with then-
Sgt Matthew Lines and about 18
Afghan National Army soldiers in
2009 when he realised the impor-
tance of the bond and trust between
the platoon sergeant and patrol
"I think the strength of that
relationship paid off for us and we
worked well together," he said.
"It's something I push very hard
on the platoon commander course.
"While the platoon sergeant is
responsible for ammunition, casu-
alties and platoon administration, I
place a lot of emphasis on the fact
that he is the senior rifleman and
Passing on hard-won
Most of the instructors at the School of Inf have operational
experience and some have been recognised for gallantry in battle,
Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
the most qualified soldier in the
He also discovered the foun-
dations he was taught at both
Duntroon and Singleton were an
important base to build on and
refine with experience over the
"There have already been lots of
examples from battles throughout
history that are used as teaching
examples, but having that first-hand
knowledge employing the lessons
in contact with the enemy adds a
lot of weight to your investment in
how to teach those things," he said.
"I avoid going down the path of
telling 'war stories' to add empha-
sis but when used as a lessons-
learnt tool, analysing both the good
and bad decisions, it is highly ben-
eficial for the students."
Capt Gooley agreed with Cpl
Taraborrelli on the importance of
foundation warfighting skills and
said the most important thing was
to keep an open mind, which would
allow a leader to build, learn and
"If we go back to the basics of
soldiering such as shoot well and
shoot fast, take care of combat cas-
ualties, navigate and be physically
fit -- those are your basic soldier
skills and will always be the foun-
dation for you to succeed in most
operational environments," he said.
"Building on top of that for a
platoon commander is the ability to
employ those manoeuvre elements
and understand the basic consid-
erations for the execution of tactical
tasks, which will see him after a
little mission-specific training be
successful in the vast majority of
The two instructors are among
many who are now sharing their
operational experiences and lessons
to shape the future soldiers and
commanders of the Army.
... every soldier needs to be a
leader. It's one of our core values
and if you can't think ahead and
be that leader, then you're not
contributing to the section.
-- Cpl Giancarlos Taraborrelli, School of Inf instructor
Passing on skills: Cpl Giancarlos Taraborrelli instructs an Afghan
soldier on the PKM machinegun in 2008.
Photo by Cpl Guy Young
Learning from experience: Trainees at the School of Inf benefit from the
operational experience of their instructors.
Photos by Sgt Mick Davis
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