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Army September 12, 2013
WITH more than 40 years’ Army
service, logistician WO1 Garry
Francis, of AHQ, has reached his
compulsory retirement age and
will be looking forward to a well-
Completing his infantry training
in 1972 at the age of 19, he spent
several years as a rifleman before
moving into the storeman role,
where he has been ever since,
transferring to Ordnance Corps
in 2008 with the restructure of his
WO1 Francis said he had seen
many changes throughout his
years in the Army.
“We went from 20 years of
peacetime Army doing exercises
like the old Kangaroo exercises to
the deployments of today,” he said.
“I think the soldiers have
gained a lot more experience in
this short term than we did in the
With the rich history of service
he has enjoyed, WO1 Francis
has had numerous postings and
deployments including working
in places such as Kandahar, Tarin
Kot and Qatar.
From everything he has
experienced over the years, WO1
Francis said the skill progression
stood out over time.
“People continually come up
with better ideas and thoughts on
how to do things,” he said.
“The generation over the past
40 years has seen us in a much
better position than we used to
While he has now completed
his full-time Army service, WO1
Francis will continue in his current
position as a reservist until the
end of the year, when he will move
to Tasmania for his retirement.
Having been posted to
Tasmania previously, WO1 Francis
said he may as well live where it
made him happy.
“We’ve got a house down in
Tasmania with a little bit of land,”
“I’m looking forward to
adjusting back to a civilian life at a
much slower pace.”
WO1 Francis said if he had a
message to give to young soldiers
today, it would be to look at other
opportunities available within the
“Look at other avenues you
may be interested in and make the
system work best for you.”
Photo and story by
Cpl Nick Wiseman
Ready to take
a step back
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
THREE graduates of the Officer
Cadet School at Portsea had a
class reunion in the CA’s office on
They were invited to Canberra
by Lt-Gen David Morrison to
receive their Federation Stars for
more than 40 years’ service.
Lt-Col Ron Morley, Maj Phil
Chapman and Maj Paul Prickett all
graduated from the same class in
December 1977 after joining the
Army in early 1973.
Maj Prickett said he met Lt-Col
Class reunion after 40 years’ service in uniform
Lt-Col Morley joined the Army
for a long-term career.
“Army set all the benchmarks
for a job for life and provided career
opportunities,” Lt-Col Morley said.
“Becoming an officer after my
apprenticeship was the continuation
of the professional challenge Army
had for me.”
Maj Prickett said in the late-
1970s training at OCS Portsea was a
“A majority of the officer, senior
NCO and warrant officer instruc-
tors there then were experienced
Vietnam veterans,” Maj Pricket said.
“Nearly half of the officer
instructors training us were also
graduates of the Scheyville Officer
Training Unit in NSW, where they
went through an intensive 22-week
course, which prepared them for
their national service in Vietnam.
“It gave us a unique perspective
on what it was like to be a platoon
For Maj Chapman the training
experience was at times complex.
“While I was there my wife and
I had our first son, Daniel, and time
management for me was tight at
times,” Maj Chapman said.
“It was hard work but enjoyable.”
What advice would three men
who between them have more than
120 years’ experience in the Army
offer to soldiers and officers who are
just beginning their careers?
“Don’t just leave your career to
your career manager. You need to
know your capabilities, you have to
perform with merit and you need
to create your own opportunities,”
Lt-Col Morley said.
Maj Prickett said the key to
having a fulfilling career was to try
everything Army had on offer.
“You are only limited by your
own desires and interests in your
time in Army,” he said.
Maj Chapman said the best way
to get the most out of a career in the
Army was to remain focused.
“The best thing to do is to focus
on where and when you want to
finish your career,” he said.
“If you want to make it a long
term career, then focus on what you
can give the Army and what you can
also get out of the Army.”
and Maj Phil
Morley for the first time when they
enlisted together as apprentices.
“While working at the engineer
workshops at Duntroon, during
our last year of our apprenticeship,
we decided together to apply to
become officers and apply for OCS
Maj Chapman said he decided to
go to OCS after serving three years
as an Army topographical surveyor.
“When I finished school I didn’t
think I had the goods to enter RMC,
so I joined as a soldier,” he said.
“Then after a few years I
thought being an officer would be a
good idea and in 1976 was accepted
Don’t just leave
to your career
you need to
create your own
– Lt-Col Ron Morley, Federation
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