Home' Army News : November 7th 2013 Contents Army November 7, 2013
Trekking in the cradle
Injured soldiers from 3 Bde's Soldier Recovery Centre take on blizzards and Cradle Mountain on a 75km trek
Cpl Max Bree
TROOPS from 3 Bde's Soldier
Recovery Centre have a new-found
sense of camaraderie after spending
a week trekking through snow and
blizzards on Tasmania's breath-
taking Cradle Mountain.
Exercise commander WO2 Ashley
Barker said the trek, which ran from
October 13-20, helped the soldiers
test themselves personally and as a
group in situations and conditions that
some had never been in before.
"We went expecting sunshine and
great scenery but all we got was snow,
blizzards, rain and the occasional
glimpse of the sun," he said.
"With the first group we had about
four out of the six days of snow but
the second group had a good mix of
rain, snow and sun.
"Coming from Queensland the
snow was pretty hard. In my group
only one person had been in snow
before, however, morale was high."
Two groups of soldiers hiked
75km over the mushy ground to
improve self confidence, resilience
and team building skills, according to
"It gets them working in a team
environment again and lets them
know they can still do activities like
this even when they have restrictions,
as long as they work within their limi-
tations and restrictions," he said.
Sgt Renae Treloar, of 3CER, said
it was an experience she won't forget.
"I've never seen snow in my life
and I felt like a little kid playing in
the snow on day one, but I was sick of
it pretty soon after," she laughed.
"It's very different to pack march-
ing around in Townsville or Tully."
When the team arrived, Sgt
Treloar knew she was in for a chal-
"I was quite taken aback by
the track itself," she said. "I had a
Soldiers paddle for charity and mates
WOUNDED, injured or ill soldiers
tackled ocean waves in kayaks on
October 19 for the start of a 960km
paddle from Sydney to Brisbane.
The 25 Iraq and Afghanistan
war veterans expected to paddle
50-60km for eight to 10 hours a
day in the inaugural Mates4Mates
Sea Kayak Adventure Challenge.
The troops were crewing a flo-
tilla of 12 kayaks in the challenge,
which aimed to help wounded and
ill Defence personnel rebuild their
life skills and emotional resilience.
The kayak challenge is spear-
headed by Spr Curtis McGrath,
who lost both legs to an IED in
Afghanistan 2012, and Cpl Tyson
Murray, who has PTSD after lead-
ing a high-risk patrol in which two
mates were killed by an IED.
Cpl Murray said the challenge
would be a great stress reliever,
because "two of my boys were
killed but I was left unscathed by
the IED blast".
"This is therapeutic for us, out
on the water we just chew the fat
and have a joke, and that's what
works for us," he said.
"I just love challenging myself,
fighting through the pain barrier,
fighting through the blisters and
Spr McGrath said he spent
months training for the epic paddle
and was fighting fit.
"This challenge is a once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity and is impor-
tant to my recovery," he said. "My
life is very structured around my
rehabilitation, but this challenge
gets me away from hospital and
rehabilitation centres on a base."
Spr McGrath said his life phi-
losophy was to take one day at a
time and he would apply it to the
challenge as well.
"I don't look at it as 1000km
-- I'm just taking it at 50km a day,
which doesn't sound too bad," he
The veterans expected to
stop at coastal towns and cities
along the way, including Port
Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and the
Gold Coast, before finishing in
Brisbane about 21 days later on
Mates4Mates is a not for profit organi-
sation set up by the RSL Queensland
Branch to provide support to wounded,
injured or ill members of the ADF and
their families. It is designed to comple-
ment and enhance the capacity of the
ADF to support their current and former
personnel and their families. Donations
to support the Brave Mates can be made
All aboard: Kayakers take to the water in Sydney at the start of
their journey to Brisbane.
Photo courtesy of Mates4Mates
Steep climb: Soldiers
trek snow-covered Cradle
perception it was just a straight
track; it was quite the opposite.
"The first day we walked along
a specially made wooden track
covered with chicken-wire so your
boots could get a grip when it was
covered with ice.
"But it didn't always work
and you'd sometimes still slip off
into the mud. Because it's World
Heritage listed you had to be very
careful where you stepped."
Along the way there was the con-
stant challenge of balancing the cold
conditions and body heat, according
to Sgt Treloar.
suffered a little bit," she said.
"You could rug-up as much as
you wanted and once you got moving
you'd start to strip layers down. Then
you'd be putting them back on when
you stopped for a break."
Sgt Treloar was one of two
soldiers who were choppered out
after receiving minor injuries in the
"We had the option to walk them
out if the weather cleared but the
doctor for the expedition made the
decision over sat-phone to fly them
out in order to not exacerbate their
injuries," WO2 Barker said.
Sgt Treloar suffered two falls that
jarred her back but didn't immediately
realise something was wrong.
"It was only later when I took my
pack off and felt a crack I knew there
was something wrong," she said.
"I tried to put my pack back on
but I only got 200m and I was just
keeling over in pain. I've never had
that much pain in my life and I've had
Sgt Treloar was taken to a cabin to
be kept warm overnight before being
flown out the next day.
"It's disappointing in that I didn't
make it, but I still enjoyed myself on
the trip," she said.
Sgt Treloar has made a full
recovery from the hyperextension of
muscles in her back and thought extra
training had helped her avoid a worse
"If I didn't do the soldier combat
hardening program I might not have
come off so well," she said. "I'm a lot
more solid than I used to be."
WO2 Barker said the soldiers real-
ly enjoyed the trek despite the mud,
snow and difficult hiking.
"They are still talking about it
now, he said.
"I've still got guys bringing photos
in to put on our records. SRC staff
are currently working on the list of
activities for next year and the recom-
mendations we have is that we do the
Overland Track again."
I've never had
that much pain in
my life and I've
had three kids.
-- Sgt Renae Treloar, 3CER
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