Category Archives: Defence

The Sheepdogs

Picked up this poem from Kevin Sites Blog.

A different approach to an old theme.

The Sheepdogs

Most humans truly are like sheep
Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
Their lives serene upon Life?s farm,
They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
On verdant meadows, they forage free
With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
They pay their sheepdogs little heed
For there is no threat; there is no need.

To the flock, sheepdog?s are mysteries,
Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
Too like the wolf of legends told,
To be amongst our docile fold.
Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?
They have no use, not in this day.
Lock them away, out of our sight
We have no need of their fierce might.

But sudden in their midst a beast
Has come to kill, has come to feast
The wolves attack; they give no warning
Upon that calm September morning
They slash and kill with frenzied glee
Their passive helpless enemy
Who had no clue the wolves were there
Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
Then from the carnage, from the rout,
Comes the cry, ?Turn the sheepdogs out!?

Thus is our nature but too our plight
To keep our dogs on leashes tight
And live a life of illusive bliss
Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
Until he has us by the throat,
We pay no heed; we take no note.
Not until he strikes us at our core
Will we unleash the Dogs of War
Only having felt the wolf pack?s wrath
Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.
And the wolves will learn what we?ve shown before;
We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

I enjoyed it and I know a lot of my readers will as well.

For me it says it all.

No Armistice for the Courier Mail

On the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month most of the civilized world commemorates the sacrifice of millions of men world-wide and hundreds of thousands of Australians who gave their all, were wounded or served in wars.

Except in Brisbane.

The local newspaper, the Courier Mail, clearly moved by the solemnity of the day, decided to run a negative Army piece provided by Luke McIlveen.

Luke’s tone is bad enough but what was the Editor thinking when he decided to run with the story on 11 November? Did he forget what the day was all about. Did he not have a father or grand father that served and if not is he not aware that most of his readers do?

The front page Armistice Day article Army racism shame by Luke McIlveen plumbs new depths in Army bashing and is clearly intrended to bring the Army, the Corps and the Battalion into public disrepute.

It happened four years ago, was investigated and any action considered necessary would have been taken.

The photo is damning but Luke, by his words, lumps a hundred thousand past and present infantrymen under the racist tag and does it on a day that should honour us.

The emotive language underlines Luke’s bias and detracts from the point

The first inquiry in early 2003 was a whitewash that found members of the 1RAR Delta Company were not racist and only engaged in occasional “jovial banter


The inquiry is likely to be run out of Canberra, making it more difficult for middle-ranking officers to protect their mates

Whitewash…middle-ranking officers protecting their mates..heavy stuff Luke. Fairly libellous statements. The great thing is of course you are not required to prove anything. You can say what you like and trust that the less than discernering readership that your bylines attract will read the article and accept it as gospel.

The photographer takes up the story. He says the image was simply a joke.

“It really and truly is nothing but a storm in a tea cup,” Mr Fraley said.

“I have been with the Army taking their photos since Vietnam. I have never, ever, seen any racism.”

Mr Fraley said the soldiers had been competing for who could take the best “fun photo”.

“That’s all it was, there was no ceremonies, and the whole thing took two to three minutes.

Stupid, yes, ill advised yes – but I’m not sure the blatant racism is proven.

Arch (and I know him) may be trying not to rock the boat but I do know he wouldn’t cop blatant racism.

In an old piece titled “How I became a journalist: Luke McIlveen explains why he doesn’t concern himself with hard facts.

I’m biased though. Owing to my inability to count and distrust of anything you can’t prove in less than a minute, a career as an actuary or physicist was never really going to be an option.

Maybe some wise old hack should have told him he needed to look longer ‘than a minute’ before publishing anti-army beat ups’.

Luke goes on about being a copy boy.

It was good fun though – we drank together, wrote anything to get a byline and berated conservative columnists under nom de plumes in the letters pages. At the same time I completed my unfinished Arts degree by correspondence.

Nom de plumes…wrote anything to get a byline – wow, I am impressed. Very undergrad – must have made for some great giggling over drinkies.

Always the truth…always balanced…always signing your own name to letters to the editor. Honourable Luke and oh so liberal – Not like the soldiers at all.

The one unguarded moment of those soldiers lives would have been well and truly balanced by months in East Timor where they risked life and limb to help the East Timorese.

Tell me Luke do you have any positive articles about how these same troops, or their mates, helped the natives of Afghanistan, Iraq and a dozen other foreign countries. Have you ever submitted a positive article about the military?

You have traded more than a hundred years of honour and service for 5 minutes of unguided, unwise activity.

Oh, by the way, correct terminology is Delta Company, 1RAR and it’s not a regiment, it is a battalion of a regiment. I take the care to research correct nomenclature only to find professional journalists don’t. Luke, it’s like saying Mail News Courier Paper – ask someone or can’t you even bring yourself to talk to a soldier.

Update: Similarly moved friend and fellow ex 1RAR officer Kel puts pen to paper to the editor and includes it in comments.

Update II: The Road to Surfdom has an article covering this same point. Of course, Tim’s perspective is different from mine but the comment thread has some good thoughts.

Bloody Soldiers

Army Aviation in trouble. have the story here but no pic. It took me awhile but I found it.


Politically incorrect and therefore funny. I hope the digger’s OC has a sense of humour and doesn’t come down to hard on him.I know I would have trouble keeping a straight face during the hearing.

Hibernation for Infantry

This article from the Australian grabs my interest and suggests a solution for a lot of problems suffered by Infantry and defence forces generally

THE Pentagon is excited about research at a Queensland university showing that soldiers injured on the battlefield can be put into hibernation until specialist medical treatment becomes available.

It is estimated that 90 per cent of soldier deaths occur because of shock before they can get proper treatment.

I go along with that. Having been an infantryman in a war zone I have seen and been aware of many time-based deaths from battle casualties. As is always the case the time between the wound and theatre pre-op is paramount. Civilians would be surprised by the number of deaths that occur in the chopper on the way to the field hospitals.


A soldier from 7RAR being dusted off in South Vietnam The photo was taken by Andy Mattay who died this year from cancer. RIP Andy.

I wonder if we couldn’t hibernate for longer. It took me years to get my strength back after Vietnam and even then it was touchy. Damage to my skeletal frame from the sheer drudgery of carrying a battle pack with ammo left me with pemanent problems.

I’ve also long claimed that PTSD, although battle based, was exacerbated by the left wing sub-humans who abused us when we came home. Maybe a couple of years hibernation until the scum settled would have helped a lot of diggers.

Whatever, the research work bodes well for those of us who choose to take the harder, yet more satisfying, road to retirement.

Metal Storm

Metal Storm, started up by an Australian but now an International ballistics company, will take the lead role in a US Navy program to develop a system to defeat incoming rocket propelled grenades (RPGs).

?Increasingly, US and allied forces are finding themselves vulnerable to RPG attacks, which generally occur at short range and allow only a fraction of a second for a response.?

?We believe Metal Storm technology provides unique advantages to address the threat posed by RPGs. Importantly, this project will draw on the technology platforms already being developed by the company,

I first met the RPG2 and it’s bigger cousin, the RPG7 in Vietnam. Designed by the Russians, copied by the Chinese and other smaller countries with spare munitions factories and a hatred for us good guys, the RPG has been the bane of infantry life since it’s introduction to the battlefield. Hundreds of Australians and thousands of Americans still carry scars from the beast

The thought that an Austrlian born company is about to neutralize them pleases me immensly. And believe me, Metal Storm will do it.

Have a good look at the site – it is the future of warfare and policing and remember, the whole concept comes from the brilliant mind of a Aussie, who at the time of his brainwave, was manager of the Woolworths store at Bundaberg, Queensland.

Bundaberg, the soldier’s friend. The source of Bundaberg Rum and now an anti RPG weapon.

Love it.

Journalist’s defence policy

Senator Hill holds a doorstop interview at DSTO Fisherman Bend about a new fatigue testing system for RAAF aircraft but all the journalist wants to do is ask questions that clarify the Journalists opinion. It would appear that he believes that the current Australian Government are warmongers and should not buy equipment such as cruise missiles that might frighten Indonesia.

The Newly Introduced SLAM ER missile System.
One of the options Australia is considering

(Quotes in italics are mine)

Minister, why does Australia need a cruise missile capability?

Senator Hill:
?Crew safety (stupid) Why do you need the latest digital micro recorder? Why do we need destroyers or artillery or tanks – because we need a defence force and we have to equip them with up-to-date weaponry- Jesus what’s your point

What signal does this send out to our neighbours such as Indonesia who may have legitimate concerns that we will not have, or will have this capability?

Senator Hill:
Well the Indons have known that cruise missiles have been in our procurement progamme for years. A very clear message we hope!

It’s not a sign of greater belligerence on Australia’s part?

Senator Hill:
Not at all. Potential enemies need to know that we have a competent and well equipped defence force and we will use it if we are threatened . If, in your minimal understanding of defence matters, that constitutes belligerence, then make up your own answer. You will anyway.

What’s the likelihood this will actually trigger some sort of arms race through the Asia Pacific region?

Senator Hill:
None and we don’t care if it does!

What do you say to people who suggest that Indonesia is the only possible target for these sorts of weapons?

Senator Hill:
Indonesia is a friend and neighbour of Australia. And it’s a good idea to remind them every now and then that they should hold ABRI (Indon’s answer to our ADF) on a short leash. I would also say that Indonesia is not the only possible target – with the war against terrorism in full swing we are presented with a world wide target-rich battlefield. Hey, anyone can be our target – just blow up some of our women and kids and then stand around in one spot and crow. You too can become a target

The journalist has chosen to ignore the fact that we had a squadron of F18s in the Middle East working with air forces that were equipped with cruise missiles. Even a grade 8 teenage boy would know that the ability to fire your GPS guided missile 400 km away from any threat makes crew moral and accuracy a non-issue.

Still, what would I know – I’m not a journalist.

There are images of all the contenders here at Defence

Correction Reader kinch has correctly pointed out that ABRI should be TNI – see comments.

Sweeping stun guns to target crowds

It’s all in the eyes of the beholder. US companies are developing the ability to stun a person over a 100 metres and to even stun groups of people by ‘sweeping’ the weapon across their front.

Human rights advocates are screaming already about abuse and over-zealous use

I think of riots of young men in Iraq all holding AK47s and prancing and dancing in the maniacle way they do.

Zap ‘em, take their AK47s away from them and go back to barracks. They wake up with a hangover and no AK to be silly with.

Suicide bombers can be rendered unconcious, de-fused and sent home or better still re-fused and sent back to the bastards who sent them.

I think it has merit.

Check the article here

D Day Heores

Sixty years ago today there was a lot of fear in the hearts of the soldiers of the invasion force of D Day as they approached the beaches. As one who has experienced the terror of battle as an infantryman (at about one-fiftieth the level of Normandy) I have some idea of how much courage and fatalism it took to stand up and move out of the landing craft.

Their courage and achievements will last forever in the minds of reasonable men.

Except the Left and other assorted US haters.

Seeking no lands to colonize or rewards other than a stable world the Yanks, Brits, Kanucks and a host of other freedom lovers, including some Aussies, fought a despot to the end. And when it was done they only ask for a small plot of land for their young men to rest in piece.

They did the same in the Pacific and then the US, with only some help from us, rebuilt the world, feeding the poor and developing the industries of conquored foe.

How soon does the world forget. How soon before they turned on her. The US tries and stabalize the world again and they are turned on by the media and the countries that owe their very existance to their generosity.

Visit the small plots of land where their young rest and tell them what the world thinks now. Tell them how much the world has forgotten.

No. On second thoughts – don’t. It would lessen the value of their sacrifice.

I for one, salute those brave men and I will not forget their sacrifice.

And neither should you.


Where were these cool toys when I was serving. Damn. That looks efficient. Better than the shoe box APC I had to put up with.

A squadron of 25 new state-of-the-art Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) are to be formally delivered to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Darwin today providing Army with a major boost in land capability. Defence Minister Robert Hill said the new ASLAVs are equipped with the Army’s premiere night-fighting equipment, the latest target locating system and fire control measures, which incorporate advanced thermal imager technology.

Senator Hill said the new ASLAVs would make a significant contribution to 1st Brigade’s ability to be a readily deployed combat capable force able to meet a wide range of possible threats and tasks.


Here is a shot of the earlier model ASLAV on patrol in IRAQ with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment

More>> here if your interested

Selective Memory

Alan Ramsey makes serious accusations based on a conversation with a now deceased Army Padre. He quotes Gerry Cudmore, padre to 1RAR in 1965, as saying troops had told him of US troops tossing VC suspects out of choppers and handing over female VC to South Vietnam soldiers for death by gang rape.

Professor Bunyip solicits my opinion whilst accusing me of being AWOL. Oh – the shame of it! Well not really…I have been AWOL before.

I wasn’t there on the 1RAR tour and therefore can’t comment on the accuracy of Ramsey’s memory but I can say this. Either I spent 13 months in a war zone medically unfit for operational service with my eyes and ears not functioning or rampant rape and murder didn’t happen.

I think the latter.

My Lai happened, Lt Calley was bad. Other attrocities would have happened but not as a rule and certainly not by Australians. Millions of men at war with associated standing down of norms of society would certainly have produced some bad apples but for Ramsey to write his article around heresay smacks of just another anti-war rant.

Ramsey says;

I knew him as Padre Gerry Cudmore, then 32, army chaplain with the first Australian combat troops sent to Vietnam 39 years ago. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Menzies government’s formal announcement it was taking us – by deceit and connivance with Washington – into war again, a travesty to be repeated by the Howard Government 38 years later.

Clearly, this man will always have a negative view on any conservative approach to solving world problems but for him to quote an honourable man such as Gerry Cudmore only after Gerry is not in a position to vouch for his words smacks of opportunism.

It makes me wonder whether he had any conversations later on about VC attrocities. 1500 people shot in the back of the neck at Hue. Thousands of village officials murdered by the VC after being forced to watch their daughters or wives being raped and then subjected to ‘bayonet masectomies’ as a warning to those who hoped for a democratic Vietnam.

I guess not and if he had, he would’ve forgotten – like he forgot Gerry’s name.

I served in 1RAR before the Vietnam war and remember Cudmore well. If he was aware of any serious allegations he would have brought it to the notice of authorities but if it was heresay he would simply have mused on the matter, maybe mentioning it in passing to a wide eyed, naive man with a recent degree from the journalist school of left wing mantra. Gerry had a sense of humour and after some association with us soldiers may well have developed our habit of telling ousiders anything to get rid of them.

Who knows?

At Wagga, over the ANZAC Day weekend, I had some time with friends from 1RAR days and had Ramsey said his peice before ANZAC Day he would’ve had some soldiers looking for explainations. But then we Vietnam Vets are fair game for left wing journalists. We are used to it and think so poorly of them that our time is better spent commemorating the honour of men like Gerry Cudmore.

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