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. slam.jpg The Newly Introduced SLAM ER missile System. One of the options Australia is considering (Quotes in italics are mine) Journalist: 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 Journalist: 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! Journalist: 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. Journalist: 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! Journalist: 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.


aslavc.jpg 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.
aslaviraq.jpg 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.

ANZAC weakens

FRIENDLY rivalry is fine, but a distinct chill has come over Australia’s closest friendship, warns New Zealand opposition leader Don Brash. kiwihat.jpg Picture is the entire NZ Infantry Regiment on a parade called to see who’s turn it was to defend New Zealand. Our Kiwi cousins are feeling out of the defence loop and well they should. With Helen Clark thinking 1% of GDP being a reasonable amount to pay for an insurance policy she is now discovering that her no-claim bonuses are useless.
Since being elected in 1999, the Clark Government has closed down the air force’s combat wing and reduced the navy to a two-frigate fleet. Clark refused to join the US-led invasion of Iraq, and Washington expressed its displeasure through some unusually sharp diplomatic comments about New Zealand’s attitude, and by pointedly refusing to include New Zealand in talks on the Australia-US free trade deal. Since then, Clark has committed both troops and money to reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Can you imagine Australia closing down the RAAF? No way. Even if times are bad, to close down a complete system means you have no national inventory should a need arise. You can’t say ‘Oops we have a war coming up – lets start an Airforce. Stupid – which is why no other country has ever done it. Except New Zealand. Except Helen Clark. However, I stopped feeling sorry for them when they voted her in. Sure they have been with us though thick and thin but often cousins mature at a different rate – swing left – dance by yourself. Sure – go all warm and fuzzy, give all your money to social services and beach access to the Maoris but don’t whinge when the more mature people in the family don’t invite you to our parties, or don’t tell you what is going on. And if you don’t want US nuclear powered and (maybe) nuclear armed ships to darken your ports then they can come to Sydney to spend their R & R money. Nuclear free port, nuclear free suburb – what a joke. Even in the bad old ‘Cold War’ days no Russian Officers, that I was aware of, kept a list of left-wing , nuclear free city and state institutions so they could check that they weren’t being targeted. Yes, it is only an opposition leader doing what he should, but the problem has been around for years and the longer New Zealand is out of the loop the less use and help they are to us and the world. They don’t contribute any more and we don’t care anymore.

Hueys retires

Huey1_jpg.jpg The seemingly ubiquotous UH 1H is about to be retired due to the Tiger chopper coming into service in the next month or two. Chief bastard points this out and asks for any pictures of the gunships in action. The Tiger, pictured below will be a great addition to the ADF’s inventory but it’s just not the same. Looks mean alongside the lines of the old Huey. tiger.jpg I have lots of photos of Huey ‘slicks’ (troop carriers) but none of huey gunships in action. There is a very good reason for this. If gunships were around it was because we were in trouble and they were shooting at bad guys that were shooting at us. Not a ‘kodak’ moment. For 40 years the Huey has been a part of the defence scene around the world and will be sadly missed, although I hope defence keeps a couple flying, if only to send shivers down the spines of Vietnam Vets at reunions. The line from Redgum’s ‘I was only Nineteen’ when he asks ….why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet? is only a line to most but to me and most of my peers it is real. If ever a sound triggered memories it is the wop, wop, wop of choppers – it does it for me everytime. I was watching my rugby coach son’s football team play last year when a chopper flew overhead. I involuntarily shivered like a dog shaking off water. The spectator alongside picked it in one when he asked “Vietnam Vet?” I laughingly answered in the positive but felt a bit embarrassed to be caught out. Thanks Huey for all the rides, for all the ordnance fired in the interests of my longevity and for the sound of your blades, the tips of which broke the sound barrier, making that distinctive, memorable, memory triggering sound.

Top Guns or bus drivers

This weeks defence beat up starts with By Cameron Stewart and Michael McKinnon with a by-line in the Australian stating Air force ‘powerless’ to pay pilots enough. When I joined the Army I did so for a career of adventure and never considered remuneration as a motivator. I was coincidently paid well (40k in my last appointment in 1986) but the job was the draw. The adventure, the adrenilin surges, the travel, the power and responsibility of command and the smug satisfaction of doing a difficult job well in the face of the media still berating us for having the temerity to kill communists, and even then, looking for ways to make us look bad. When Hawke was in power he authorised $30k advances to RAAF pilots to encourage them to stay instead of flying Qantas. I, and my collegues, suggested at the time that the $30k bonus underlined the government and medias lack of understanding of the professional serviceman. All the RAAFies wanted was air hours. Let them fly their bloody F18s and they would stay. You see, my civilian readers, there is nothing quite as exciting as pushing mach2 in pursuit of another pilot and winning. (Not to mention the excitement of losing!) Although being fired on by machine guns and then attacking and defeating the bad guys has some element of exitement we’re talking about pilots today.
The pay of RAAF pilots continues to lag behind that of their commercial counterparts, with junior RAAF pilots earning about $56,000 a year, rising to $95,500 a year for senior pilots with 10 years’ experience. By contrast, a senior Qantas pilot might earn $190,000 to $220,000, aviation sources said.
There is a trade off here. If you want to be a bus driver and ferry drunk passengers to Brittain on their ‘rights of passage’ tours in a plane that is so boringly safe that it can fly itself then go do it. If your life’s goals are monetary based with the holiday home at the Gold Coast, a Ferrari in the garage and a million or two in rollover then Qantas is your go. ( Stay with me you Jet Jockies – don’t be seduced) On the other hand, if you have some sense of adventure; if you want to test yourself, push yourself and have others try and keep up; if you don’t care about money once you and your family are secure and you can pay the good school fees then join the RAAF. If you’re a RAAF pilot reading this and don’t understand what I’m staying, then get out. You see, flying fighters is not just about the mechanics of flying. From the Infantry perspective, it’s about flying at night, in bad weather, below 1000, with Sams coming up at you and not deviating until you’ve dropped your ordnance on the bad guys, thus saving the arse of the good guys. Nowhere do Stewart or McKinno identify the author of the report or it’s status. For all we know, it could have been written by a whinging malcontent and by all accounts, most probably was. If it’s unidentified it’s meaningless but they take the effort to find a negative report and then pay good money under the Freedom of Information laws to get a copy, and in my opinion, achieve very little. What is their point. Are they suggesting that 25 year old boggies get 200K plus a year or are they just hammering the ‘Defence is bad’ mantra.
The RAAF says the report was overly pessimistic because it did not foresee the downturn in the aviation market following the Ansett collapse. But experts say demand for commercial pilots is rising again. The report, called the Pilot Sustainability Project, says RAAF pilots are now flying less and this “may well be contributing to a lack of professional satisfaction”.
You bet it is! As an aside – if a guy spends ten years flying F18s and then resigns to fly 767s and two years after he started with Qantas the balloon goes up. Then within a month he’s going to be heard muttering. Mmm, lets see – little grey plane, mach 2, upside down at 40,000 feet – how do I do it again? I trust the ex RAAF Qantas pilots realize they are a part of the Nations defence inventory. You go read – if you get their point then leave a comment. Check here as well. The authors managed to sell the Australian two articles based on one report I don’t know what their point is exactly, but I will say – It’s not about the money, honey, it’s about the game.

Still not a hero.

I’m bemused by the Australian’s Steve Barrett as he continues his campaign to cannonise a criminal who happens to have served in the Army once and in doing so demonizes the Army. He calls Keogh, sentenced to three years for armed robbery, a hero and castigizes the Army. He quotes Keogh’s parents;
The Keoghs say they never heard a word from the army throughout all their son’s service, not even a call when he was awarded a medal or became the only soldier since Vietnam to be promoted in the field.
Oh, my God, how insensative of the Army. Fancy the Colonel not phoning every one of the 800 parents, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends or whoever the soldier had listed as his Next of Kin and telling them their one and only had been awarded a medal, or promoted. The medal Keogh was awarded was the Australian Active service medal along with some 5,000 plus other diggers. Oh, my God, how stupid are some people. I wonder does the BHP CEO phone every mother etc of people they promote? Get real. Did the Editor of the Australian phone up Steve Barrett’s mum and dad or wife when he got promoted to the ‘Put shit on the Army’ desk? I think not
Matt told Judge Greg Hosking how he had tried to get help for Keogh and Jozwiak from a senior military police officer in the battalion, only to be told there was nothing that could be done because they were no longer soldiers.
The senior military police officer in the battalion is not an officer, he’s a sergeant and he’s not military police, hes regimental police and thats a totally different kettle of fish and he’s flat out helping the RSM maintain discipline in the unit. He has little time to help people who were once in the unit. Did the journalist ever think to talk to the Army to verify the stories these guys were handing the Judge. Once again, he’s not a hero. He went to Timor and did his job just like all the other thousands of diggers except the rest of them aren’t doing time for firing a pistol at shopkeepers during armed robberies.


Jail for Timor hero. In NSW an East Timor vet is convicted of armed robbery (that included firing the weapon) and makes much of his time in Timor in an attempt to justify his fall from grace. The veteran, Brett Keogh reportedly suffers flashbacks and nightmares, has trouble sleeping and contracted malaria in Timor. His Dad says;
… his son never asked for help. “It’s a macho thing. He’s over there leading a platoon – who’s going to admit to having problems when they get back?”
Lieutenants lead platoons. According to Triple J Brett Keogh was a corporal.
Described as “gregarious and fun-loving” before going to East Timor, the young soldier “came back that paranoid he always thought someone was going to kill him”, Keogh’s father, Brian, told The Australian yesterday
Paranoid. Mmmm. Maybe he was paranoid because he was kicked out of the Army ….. after being discharged for testing positive to drugs… and graduated to injecting himself with amphetamines. Maybe amphetamines leads to paranoia, I don’t know, but to blame all his sins on his service is weak and brings disrepute on those soldiers who served well and continue to serve their country in the military or civy street. Hero my arse. Good man gone bad maybe, but no hero. More>>
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