Category Archives: Defence

Maori Farewell

A video of the passionate haka performed by the comrades of three fallen New Zealand soldiers has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people around the world watching the clip.

The 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the moving tribute for Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, at their funeral service at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch on Saturday.

The trio were killed instantly when a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in Afghanistan’s northeast Bamiyan Province on August 18.

Remembrance Day

Terry Sweetman can’t keep ideology out of todays remembrance as he talks of  good  and bad wars in a piece entitled Remembrance day silence a time to contemplate the pointlessness of-war.

He starts;

We should think of lives lost, lives shattered, lives squandered, and lives given in service of what good men and women rightly or wrongly believed were good and just causes.

and I respond

Your article and the above quote makes me think the value of sacrifice of those who served in “bad”  wars is less than had they died in “good” wars.

You question why we served in earlier wars but the Maori Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the Sudan War, the Boer War and WW1 were all fought during a period when most people in Australia thought of themselves as British Australians who were similar to British Canadians or British South Africans.  It was a case of Britian is at war, we are British, let’s go.

Who could argue about the good or bad of WW2.  Who would ever suggest we shouldn’t have contributed to the downfall of Hitler and Tojo. No one surely and the arguement that Japan was never really going to invade Australia was lost on my Father as he endured 64  Japanese bombing raids on Darwin.

Korea might be officially still under a truce but the communist regimes of China and North Korea didn’t take over the South and it has flourshed so that’s a win.

The Paris Peace Talks ended the Vietnam war in a truce as well.  All beligerants went home but while the West lost interest and political will the communists never did and North Vietnam, rearmed by the USSR, finally invaded.  It took them nearly 15 years to win the hollow invasion and it cost them dearly.  We held them up for all that time and sapped their economies so surely that’s a positive. Korea, Malaya and Vietnam were all battles of the Cold War and that was won in 1990 when the Berlin Wall came down.

The more recent “good ” and “bad” wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, are battles of the war against terrorism. Both have given the local populace an inkling of democracy, secular education, better health and education outcomes and some hope of a better future.  Al Qaeda and theTaliban are somewhat depleted, albeit not destroyed, and I think the point is, the whole affair is a generational campaign that will bear fruit in days to come.

The battles aren’t done and the war continues.

I’m tired of being told I fought in a “bad” war with 7RAR in Vietnam while the later 7RAR troops who fought in Iraq also copped the “bad” war service but the next rotation to Afghanistan of the battalion served in a “good” war.  We don’t see it that way.  The country called and we served under the rising sun, as did our fathers, in an apolitical manner.

I would rather the line quoted at the start be;

We should think of lives shattered and lives given in service of what good men and women believed were good and just causes.

Leave the “rightly or wrongly” and “squandered” to the politicians lest the words start appearing on gravestones and memorials.

In the meantime I await the news of my mate Percy who yesterday was given 24 hours to live.  Percy served in one of  the “bad” wars in an exemplorary manner and in doing so proved himself a better man than Sweetman ever will be.


It’s not a matter of guilt or innocence

If anyone is naive on the subject of international diplomacy it must be Harry Mansson of Clareville, NSW who in letters to the editor writes;

THE amateurish Australian handling of the Indonesian spying crisis is beyond belief (“Indonesia queries joint security”, 5/11).

Either we are guilty or we are not. It must be assumed that we know what it is, and the Indonesians have seen the Snowden documentation. If not guilty, then Julie Bishop should swear that this is so, and it may be believed.

If guilty, then simply say so, that it was a mistake, and it will not be repeated, apology will be accepted, and a more solid mutual ground will be created to continue on. The current response to “never admit or deny” admits guilt without the courage and honesty to say so. It undermines the declaration of trust and friendship with Indonesia, and whoever invented it should be out of a job.

Harry, I was spying on the Indonesians in the 60’s as a newly minted Indon linguist in the Army and I can tell you I felt no guilt at all.  I learned not to be afraid of their capabilities but that we did need to keep an eye on them and it will always be thus.  A country isn’t “guilty” of spying on another country, it is just what civilized nations do.  We spy on the Indons, they spy on us and when some traiterous usefull idiot like Snowden points it out then nations are obliged to make diplomatic representation.  The diplomats talk, the media beat it up, naive people like yourself pontificate and the matter is put aside.

It is not a mistake, it will be repeated (in fact it wont even be paused) and both parties know this.

If you don’t understand how the world works then stay out of the debate Harry.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

THE Rudd government will today announce a $34 million improvement to two military retirement benefits that have been the subject of a long campaign by veterans to bring their annual indexation arrangements into line with the pension.

Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly will today announce the Defence Forces retirement benefit and the Defence Forces retirement and death benefits will be indexed in the same way as age pensions.

The ALP plane is for recipients over 65 which fits my profile but the Coalition have included those over 55;


The Coalition has promised DFRB and DFRDB superannuants aged 55 and over will have their superannuation pensions indexed in the same way as aged and service pensions. About 57,000 military superannuants are members of these schemes.

Why are both parties undertaking to bring our annual indexation into line with pension.  By way of explaination I posted this last year;

I received a letter from the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation(DFRDB) informing me I have a CPI increase of .01% for the six months Sep 11 to Mar 12. This gives me an increase of $1.12 per fortnight. I thought of taking my Bride out to dinner to celebrate but the Power bill that is forecast to increase by up to 7.6% % is due and the rates notice is around the corner with a 4.9% increase although the Mayor had promised to keep the increase below the 3.6% inflation rise.

What’s that – 3.6% inflation? How is that related to .01% CPI rise?

I seriously doubt that the ALP undertaking will ever be called upon and even in the unlikely event that the voters are snowed by the Rudd Tsunami and actually elect him again I would expect them to reneg when they finally admit they have run the country broke and can’t afford any of their election promises; let alone a promise to the very organization that they have ignored and denigrated over my life time.

We’ll see.



General becomes feminist pinup

On reflection I am glad I didn’t serve in the ADF.  I was in the AMF and a happy man in a man’s world with any number of men and  woman supporting us line-regiment blokes.

Under the current ALP distraction the Army Chief seems to be playing a role supporting the feminist agenda of Julia Gillard.

General Morrison has becomes a pinup of Destroy the Joint, a FB page for seemingly very angry women who clearly do not like men. He wins praise from a bunch of women when he commands an Army made up mostly of men.

From The Australian

But Lieutenant-General David Morrison has also won praise from feminist groups for campaigning for the Australian Defence Force to treat women with respect.

The praise across social media for the father-of-three included observations that he should be deployed to train the nation’s politicians on leadership and gender issues before the federal election.

I actually think that last statement is a bad reference for a man commanding an infantry based Army.

The Army don’t treat women with disrespect.   Sometimes individual soldiers do cross the line driven by alcohol and testosterone but,  I would suggest,  a whole lot less than in the rest of the community.

The Army is about Infantry.  They couldn’t operate without all the other Arms and Services but these others are there to support us in what we do.

The role of Infantry is to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and hold ground and to repel attack, by day or night, regardless of season, weather or terrain.

Nothing more, nothing less.  No manouvre room for feminists there.

The role does not include the rider “whilst observing politically correct interpretations as seen by armchair warriors”.  There is no mention of celibacy nor behaving like a paragon of virtue when on leave.  Soldiers, warriors, by the nature of their testosterone driven employment are not, as a rule, the most gentle and introverted members of society.  I read often enough that the Army is supposed to be representative of  the culture of the country.  Not really.  We wouldn’t want a bunch of hippies, Greenies, human rights activists, artists, gentle souls, whistle blowers, ideological warriors or beaurocrats serving in the platoons of a battalion. Nothing would ever get done.  We need to weed out a good part of the society from whence we choose soldiers to make sure we end up with soldiers prepared to fight so that the rest of society can exist happily in their little worlds.

The men we end up with are men writ large.

Which is why, over my long career in the military, I didn’t demand my troops be angels. I did demand toughness – both physical and mental, a high level of skills and a comittment to the country expressed at it’s prime level – comittment to the unit.

Where am I going with this?  Well I think the General is being a bit harsh on his troops.  Three guys out of about 50,000 have transgressed.  The were on leave drinking and having sex – so far so good.  They then filmed the deeds and transmitted them, apparently through defence means.  If the are guilty of the last two acts then charge them, front them to a court and if the court so decides then dismiss them.   If the women involved didn’t know about the transmission then the charges against the perps should reflect that.  I read no mention that the sex wasn’t consensual and as the accusations are months old I’m inclined to say charge them all with an offence or shut up.

That’s it.

The General has said told the Army that anyone not willing to work with women and accept them as equals, then “There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.

There is certainly no place for them among these brothers sisters umm….soldiers;

His frontal attack on discrimination also includes help for enlisted men who become enlisted women.

Soldiers who switch gender are being helped stay in the Army under Lieutenant General David Morrison’s campaign to rout all forms of discrimination in the military.

There currently are 10 Army members who have transferred gender while still in uniform, and have received the support of their most senior officer, General Morrison.

Two of them are women who now live as men, and eight are men who now identify as women.

Shudder.  So the Army is now a social experiment.  Dwarfs, hermaphrodites, Drag Queens….roll up, we’ll take you all!

The case has morphed from soldiers on leave having consensual sex and filming it then distributing the film, which may or may not be consensual, to the Army being accused of not accepting women as equals.  There are only a few soldiers stood down and has the case has been around since at least April then the rest of the media’s so called ‘hundreds’ are most probably recipients of emails or have viewed the clips.

I understand these types of transgressions are happening daily among all walks of  life but few if any get such media space.  I have no issues with soldiers, or officers (and I wish the media would learn the difference) drinking on leave, fornicating, or indeed filming the deed and I have no problems with putting the deed up on the internet if that is what floats your boat,  providing both parties are in agreement.  I wouldn’t film and transmit myself but I’ve long known forcing your own moral standards on others simply doesn’t work.

If it ain’t illegal its legal.

If it is illegal then charge them and get on with it  and don’t try and feminise the Army while you’re doing it.

It is apparent to me that Defence Minister Smith has a bunch of these type of revelations and I expect him to drip feed them as a distraction from the ALP’s disasters over the next ninety days and I can’t help but think that Chief of Army is  helping him to do it.

In my time I was taught  by my combat experienced superiors, to never, ever abuse soldiers in front of their peers nor NCOs in front of the soldiers.  Always take them aside.

General Morrison has publicly abused everyone in the Army from Major General down with his ‘feminise or get out message’   The entire world bloody knows.  It is an in-house matter and the international dissemination of the General’s spray to the troops has brought the Australian Army into disrepute.  A situation occasioned by it’s commander, no less!

Poor form in my opinion.

Diggers being investigated for killing enemy

The Defence Force has confirmed it is investigating an “incident of potential misconduct” during an operation in Afghanistan a fortnight ago that resulted in the deaths of four insurgents.

From the SMH

The operation targetted a key insurgent commander “operating in and around Oruzgan province” where most Australian soldiers are stationed.

“During the course of clearing the targetted area, the force element positively identified several armed insurgents moving to gain a tactical advantage and due to the threat posed, the combined (Afghan National Security Force) and (Australian Special Operations Task Group) … engaged and killed four insurgents,” General Hurley said.

 There must be more to it than just this so I guess we will have to wait to see why they are being investigated.

In the meantime I’m glad I’m not serving in today’s Army.

Can the ADF last ’till September?

I note Defence Minister Smith is talking about asking for billions to try and fix the enormous stuff-up the ALP have made of the portfolio. I think you will find that Smith is asking for billions so the punters can see that the ALP are serious about defence. He’s unlikely to get it given the horizon-to-horizon black hole the ALP have organized, but at least it will be recorded that he tried.

Some background reading on what the military think of Minister Smith 

The first indications of ALP problems was Rudd’s white paper that promised, among other dreams, twelve submarines.

Twelve!  We have troubles manning two out of six and this beaurocrat, this non-oracle of defence suggests we can handle twelve. Maybe he thought the ACTU could man them.

Rudd’s White Paper didn’t survive the light of day. It simply provided a platform for Military historians and civilian academics with some skin in the game to get some opinions and papers recycled. Those of us who are ex-military and the current ADF members simply roll our eyes and sit waiting patiently for adults to resume command.

It did nothing for Defence as evidenced by the ADF being stripped of monies right down to the petty cash for office supplies. The ALP have reduced Australian defence spending to 1.56 per cent of gross domestic product, the lowest it has been since 1938.

The Commanding Officer of an Infantry battalion, just before deployment to Afghanistan last year, told me he wasn’t allowed to send his officers NCOs and soldiers on training courses that he thought relevant to their deployment to a war zone, due to ALP cutbacks.

But, Smith is on record as asking for billions he knows he won’t get whilst a member of a government in serious decline that doesn’t even like the ADF.

Defence role changing?

AT least 1000 Australian military personnel will be home from Afghanistan by Christmas.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Australian Defence Force chief David Hurley announced today that the big coalition base at Tarin Kowt, in Oruzgan Province, where most the 1650-strong Australian force is located, will be handed over to the Afghan National Army by the end of 2013.

Which is just as well as apparently defence will lose it’s emphasis on defending the realm and switch over to defending against demons conjured up by The Greens and assorted useful idiots

THE Australian Defence Force must pay much more attention to a future role dealing with the impact of climate change at home and in the region, a key think tank has warned.

So after Gillard’s gutting of defence budgets to dangerous levels, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute throw this suggestion into the mix.  I would think that by the time Abbott has Defence back on target we will have an entirely new view on AGW.

It has always been one of Defence’s roles to give aid to the civil community so I can’t imagine anything coming up that they can’t handle without appointing “Green” Generals to advise the government.

There is a .pdf at this link

Complaining Princess

AUSTRALIA’S defence force has knowingly neglected abuse victims, according to a senior army officer who has revealed he was the target of a gay-hate campaign by colleagues.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Morgan told the ABC’s 7.30 program last night that the failure of Australian Defence Force management to adequately deal with his complaint was indicative of how poorly many victims were treated.

“Every officer in my chain of command, every colonel and general all the way through to the current Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, systematically failed their duty in relation to the management of my complaint.”

Way to go Paul.  That will guarantee you will lose all support amongst your peers and superiors. The Army’s Chain of Command for complaints goes up to and stops at Chief of Army– it  doesn’t include ABCs 7:30 program.

ADF chief General David Hurley told the ABC he rejected Colonel Morgan’s claims of widespread inaction on abuse allegations and said numerous programs had been put in place to support victims.

How come  Paul is still in the Army?


Lest we forget

I attended the memorial service at the Bribie Island RSL yesterday to remember all those who have gone before me and was a little put out by the ceremony. The local school choir got up and gave us a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine and the Priest thought it reasonable to mention Bob Dylan as well.  When the time came to sing the National Anthem, didgeridoos came across the speakers with the anthem tempo increased from the standard 4/4 to something like 6/8. No one could sing to it and the words were lost as people tried to keep up. There is proscribed music for the anthem and that definitely wasn’t it.

Lennon’s Imagine directly quotes the communist manifesto as he himself comments:

‘Imagine’, which says: ‘Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics,’ is virtually the Communist manifesto, even though I’m not particularly a Communist and I do not belong to any movement.”[5] He told NME: “There is no real Communist state in the world; you must realize that. The Socialism I speak about … [is] not the way some daft Russian might do it, or the Chinese might do it. That might suit them. Us, we should have a nice …British Socialism.

Dillon just wrote and sang anti-war songs and become one of the main leaders on the Vietnam War protests and moratorium marches.  I have his music on my IPhone list and enjoy some of it but he is what he is and never supported the soldier, rather he denigrated them.

There’s a place for anti-war sentiment in the public debate, I just don’t think a November Memorial service in an RSL is it.   No one there would’ve been pro-war but to take the stand they did questions the service and sacrifice of many men and women who we were remembering on this holy of days. While we were dying in South Vietnam Lennon and Dylan were a focus for the protesters and the only people to benefit from that were the Communists.

In essence the Sub Branch politicised the service with an emphasis on the anti war movement and indigenous recognition. It made me think a young naive teacher with leftist leanings had grabbed hold of the ceremony and turned it into some sort of litany of protest of the evils of war and our treatment of our indigenous mates.

Not good.

Notwithstanding my sentiments on the conduct of the memorial service I managed to get back on subject and remembered my fallen mates and all those who remain forever young from the Boer War through to Afghanistan.

When I say ‘Lest we forget” I would caution certain Sub Branches that they don’t forget why they exist and not to confuse politics with sacrifice.

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