Just looking for a Fair Go

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 note Pensioners get an increase of $6.70 (6 times my increase)for the same period based on the total pension that is about two thirds of my income. Why is this so? The money I receive is literally a return on my paying superannuation to the government for 25 years. If I hadn’t paid super, and in retirement relied on the public purse, it appears I would be better off. I’m not one for conspiracy theories but sometimes it is hard to rid myself of the thought that the current mob in power simply don’t like us old Diggers. Maybe my earlier career choice of killing communists has actually come back to bite me – I know several members in both the House of Reps and the Senate would wish that I just fade away. But Fade Away doesn’t feature in the role of infantry so it ain’t going to happen. I’m not the only one concerned about this apparent anomaly. The website Fair Go is dedicated to the ex serviceman’s fight against disinterested politicians.

Remembering Blackhawk Disaster

Today, June 12, marks the 16th anniversary of the Blackhawk disaster in Townsville’s High Range Training Area that killed 18 Australian soldiers, 15 from SASR and three from the 5th Avn Regiment. This incident was the worst air disaster in the Special Air Service Regiments’s history. Accidentally killed in an aircraft crash (S70A Blackhawk); 12 June 1996 1 Squadron (Special Air Service Regiment) (Members of the Royal Australian Corps of Infantry) Captain Timothy J. STEVENS Sergeant Hugh W. ELLIS Corporal Michael BIRD Corporal Andrew CONSTANTINIDIS Corporal Darren R. OLDHAM Corporal Brett S. TOMBS Lance Corporal Gordon A. CALLOW Lance Corporal Glen O. HAGAN Lance Corporal David J. JOHNSTONE Trooper Jonathon G. CHURCH Trooper David FROST Trooper Timothy J. McDONALD 152 Signal Squadron (Special Air Service Regiment) (Members of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals) Corporal Mihran “Avi” AVEDISSIAN Corporal Darren J. SMITH Signalman Hendrik “Rick” PEETERS 5th Aviation Regiment Capt KJ Hales Capt JB Berrigan Cpl MC Baker Townsville Bulletin remembers The Hon Ian McLachlan AO MP, then Minister for Defence released this statement on the investigation into the crash in the House in March, 1997. Lest We Forget.


From 04:30 to 20:30 makes it a long day and I start to feel my age, particularly when I’m required to walk any distance. I couldn’t lead my Battalion association in Brisbane because the old legs won’t last the distance at marching pace and as it took me so long to move anywhere I actually missed viewing the march as well. Daughter chauffeured during the day and Son and his sons escorted me down to the reunion pub. The family pitch in to make it all possible and for one day of the year I stop being independent. At the Dawn Service at the National Memorial Walk, the Catafalque Party were actually an armed patrol, dressed in patrol order and when the party dismounted they moved in patrol formation checking their arcs and covering each other as they moved through the hundreds of trees – each tree representing a soldier of the Regiment who had died on active service. They moved until they became ghostly apparitions and then finally invisible in the pre-dawn light and they had this old soldier’s undivided attention. I am the typical Army Officer, albeit long retired, and would be expected to insist on the maintenance of long held traditions. The Catafalque Party has always been soldiers dressed in ceremonial Uniforms drilling as dictated to by the Army Drill Manual. The drill movements are difficult but significant, particularly the ‘Rest on the Arms Reverse’ as the linked DVA site mentions;
The origin of the tradition of resting on reversed arms is lost in time, however, it was used by a Commonwealth soldier at the execution of Charles I in 1649 (the soldier was, however, duly punished for his symbolic gesture towards the King’s death) and it is recorded that at the funeral for Marlborough, in 1722, the troops carried out a formal reverse arms drill, which was especially invented for the service, as a unique sign of respect to the great soldier. The ‘modern trend’ of sticking rifles upside down into the ground as a temporary memorial to a fallen soldier (with a helmet or a hat over the butt) originated with the introduction of tanks. When a soldier fell during an advance his mate would pick up the rifle and stick it into the ground, by the bayonet, as a marker to indicate to the tanks that a wounded or dead soldier lay there; this way the armoured vehicle would not accidentally run over the body.
But as I watched spellbound, I thought what better guard than a new generation of professional soldiers in patrol formation – ready to fight. The Party came from the Rear Details of the local battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. Rear Details is Army talk for those left behind in Australia while the rest of the Battalion serves in Afghanistan. They were thinking of their mates and I was thinking of mine – a generational divide is joined by young men who would rather be overseas but who accept their lot and pay homage to soldiers that have gone before them. Damn! They look young and fit. No problems with their legs – yet. I met a lot of Afghanistan vets during the day and if anyone thinks they don’t want to be there they are deluding themselves. All the conversations of the ‘yet to go’ mob were about their chances of getting overseas before the Politicians pull the pin and the conversations of the ‘already been there” were their chances of getting back. Of the later group the most common expressed opinion was that they fully believed they had made a difference to the people of Afghanistan. I spoke at length to a young recce Captain (I was recce myself so we had that in common) and he extolled the capabilities of the Afghanistan military. I was a little surprised but he was adamant. On the whole, they were good troops and hard when it mattered. I believed him. Talking to him it was plain that our defence force is in good hands and they are as good as we thought we were, if not better.

Smith simply doesn’t respect the ADF

I started the last post with this: I’ve always maintained that the ALP do not like the ADF. Readers took to me to task and one even abused me as he raced to justify Minister Smith’s latest foray into attacking Defence. My opinion still stands and has been confirmed by this morning’s article in The Age by MAJGEN John Cantwell. Some extracts:
I spent long hours over many sessions briefing the then minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. It was a painful process. Fitzgibbon was out of his depth. He simply didn’t get it. Not only could he not understand what we were trying to tell him, he didn’t put in the time to try to get across his brief. He was an auto-electrician in a suit.
But at least Fitzgibbon occasionally expressed a desire to do the right thing by the service personnel who delivered our military capability. Not so Smith. Reflecting on Smith’s visit to Afghanistan MAJGEN Cantwell recalls;
…the abiding impression I was left with was that he merely tolerated people like me and the troops I commanded. I cast around in my mind for the element that seemed to be missing in his dealings with the men and women of the ADF who I led. Then I had it: respect. Smith had no respect for those who chose to serve in uniform for their country. It was an uncomfortable insight.
He closes with this; I sense that the judgment I formed in 2010 was on the money. There’s no respect, and it works both ways. Read more

ADF vs the Defence Minister and the Media

I’ve always maintained that the ALP do not like the ADF. They hate the officer system and spend most of their time in the treasury benches initiating inquiries that all seem to recommend less money while demanding the same service. As in they are currently demanding a $20 billion savings over then next decade in the defence budget. This current mob appears to have an agenda to denigrate the military in any way they can. I heard on the ABC today that one of Defence Minister Smith’s inquisitions have identified 757 cases of sexual misconduct some of which occurred in the 1950s. The 1950s FFS! Who can remember anything sexual from that far back. I’ve got another one for them. In the 70s whilst the battalion were practicing for a parade the RSM said I looked like a kangaroo dog rooting a marble. I think a lot of the 757 cases will be at about that level.. I did hear old mate Duncan Lewis (now Secretary of Defence), interviewed and he did say some of the cases are serious. I”m sure they are but hey, it looks like we are talking about 60 years of misconduct – that ain’t all that bad. Maybe a standard week at University’s ‘O’ weeks Jack Waterford at the Canberra Times says Diggers need just a little slack;
WAS EVER so much nonsense spoken as when politicians, journalists and feminist and ethnic icons vie with ancient generals, clergymen and academics to condemn the latest evidences that our soldiers, sailors and air persons are profane, cynical and somewhat racist and sexist young men and women?
Read more … As if all this wasn’t bad enough, Defence has been lumbered with Smith as Minister. His opinion of the military and procedural knowledge of same has been clearly shown to be lacking. He sacked Kafer, the Commandant of ADFA despite there being no evidence that he had acted incompetently or had made an error of judgement in the Skype/sex ADFA video. The Smith initiated inquisition found no evidence of incompetence and yet Smith has sat on that report for three months and only now does Kafer get to sit in the Commandants chair at ADFA. Smith doesn’t give up easy though “I remain of the view that this was an error of judgment,” he says even after reading the report that categorically said that Kafer did not make an error of judgement. and this;
Asked if Commodore Kafer had his full confidence, Mr Smith sidestepped the question, saying he had full confidence in Australian Defence Force chief David Hurley and other defence leaders
Tosser! I can promise him that the ADF do not have any confidence in their minister. ….and Smith was mentioned as a potential PM – what is it with these people? UPDATE: Back of the envelope quick calculations by reader Harry Buttle indicate that;
[the ADF] sexual assault figures comes out at 5.3 per month per 80,000 persons, or to put it another way means that as a group, on this particular crime over the last 60 years, the military is in fact more than 5 x more law abiding than society in general. No sexual assault is acceptable, but this looks like another hatchet job.
Read more

Viet Vets in trouble again

Aussie Vietnam Vets have hit the news big time. The final volume of the official history of the Australians in the Vietnam War is about to be released and the entire volume must be about Vietnam Vets and their drinking problem. Google answered vietnam war history+alcohol abuse with 18 million hits. I had to click forward to page 12 before I found someone else other than Aussies having a drinking problem. Our alcohol abuse has been spread across the world and everyone’s talking about it. I’m actually reasonably confident that the final volume mentions matters other than alcohol abuse but someone has obviously seen fit to underline the problem so that the people who abused us then, and still do, can add alcoholism to our sins. It fits seamlessly with shooting and killing the good guys, being US puppets, killing babies, raping women, and all the other communist propaganda inventions. Having these ‘sins’ thrown at us by Aussie uni students during breaks from collecting money for the Viet Cong ammo fund, goes partway to understanding the horrific PTSD roll from the war Doesn’t matter – we’re used to the abuse, or at least we have learned not to take it to heart. Considering most times I got back off patrol the first night in the boozer was effectively a wake I actually don’t care what non-vets think. Five or six cans is binge drinking? Come on…give me a break princess. Five or six cans goes nowhere near putting the black dog back in his kennel. I definitely remember one patrol that lasted a month so there is 30 days of beer I never got. If I came back dirty,stressed and in mourning and consequently had too much to drink and someone from the 142nd Blog Comments Platoon, safe in their clean, neat, safe house finds that is cause to denigrate my service then get out of the debate. I’m not listening anymore.

Politically incorrect Diggers

Some Diggers are in trouble for using intemperate, politically incorrect language on a private Facebook page. The Chief of Army. General Morrison is very angry as are lots of precious souls, Army haters, Multiculturists and fellow travellers.
The site refers to Muslims as “ragheads”, suggests immigrants are not welcome, and one post says “all women are filthy, lying whores”.
I can only suggest that the diggers see the Facebook page as their private space. In my days it was the diggers boozer and one could feel free to say whatever you liked so long as the other guys generally agreed. When they didn’t, when one got out of line, he was hauled back in. Sometimes with physical force. NCOs and officers weren’t allowed in there, let alone Generals, and that is right and correct. They need there own space and having been a member of all the messes in my time I know it more than most. Language was often offensive, obscene, misogynistic, racial and disrespectful. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often insulting but seldom malicious. Which is what you will encounter in pretty well any group of young men socializing after work. Been drinking with young tradesman lately, with bushies in a country pub, with miners…truck drivers… ? Clearly a lot of commentators haven’t. They seem to be so hugely offended by these posts I wonder whether they shouldn’t get out more and meet some people outside their own immediate circle. I see no big problem with the comments about “ragheads’ and “boat people” but the “filthy lying whores” quote is a bit off. Maybe the digger had been treated poorly of late by a girl and he was lashing out. I think he thought he was lashing out in a private domain, like the Diggers boozer of old, and in effect he was until someone forced entry to the site. It might astound the genteel types but a lot of young men talk like that when they are amongst their mates – So do a lot of older men. My reading of the matter is that the Facebook page is a private forum. It was never intended for the general public to read it and I’m sure the General wasn’t invited. So, do they have any privacy? When I think I’m alone I can sometime say things that I wouldn’t want others to hear and I’ve certainly said things to others when I was in the Army that would horrify those genteel types who never get out. Most likely aimed at them and their politically correct ways. I presume the incident received prominence because it involves soldiers but they are only a reflection of society generally so maybe we should all take a chill pill and concentrate on hating murderers, rapists, pedophiles and the like. Chris Uhlman interviews General Morrison COA. Link here

Mike Kelly – soldier extraordinaire…….not

Besides running this site I’m also Webmaster for my regimental site and this morning I had occasion to post a letter from Neil Weekes, AM, MC, to Dr. Mike Kelly,AM, ALP Mp for Eden Monaro. I have written on this turkey before and to get a feel for the man and what we ex-military think of him, and conversely, what he thinks of us, you should read both posts. He is on record as saying …..”my career in many war zones came at great threat to my life in countless situations…..I was forced to fight with my rifle in every way it is possible to use it, including butt stroke and bayonet….” Considering he was, in my memory, a military lawyer, I thought this a bit rich. The article quotes the Australian War Memorial, as stating the last bayonet charge by Australian forces was carried out in Vietnam by 5 Platoon 6RAR during Operation Bribie on February 17, 1967. According to Wikipaedia however, a later bayonet attack by Australians was conducted in May 1968 at the Battle of Coral when a then Lieutenant Neil Weekes ordered his men to fix bayonets.
Even with the artillery and mortars concentrating on close defensive fire tasks, the assault was largely held at the perimeter, although they did succeed in over-running part of 3 Platoon, A Company. Commanded by Lieutenant Neil Weekes, the platoon had been hit heavily by indirect fire during the initial bombardment and had suffered several casualties. Concentrating on the gap created in the Australian perimeter, the North Vietnamese then assaulted with the support of 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine-guns. Ordering his men to fix bayonets, Weekes successfully reorganised the defences however, and called in close mortar fire to stabilise the position, resulting in heavy casualties among the assaulting force. He was later awarded the Military Cross for his leadership.[78][80]
Link – look under Second attack on FSB Coral, 16 May 1968 Nice bit of symmetry there, don’t you think? One wonders if Kelly knows of Neil’s history and if he does, does he cringe when he thinks of what he himself has claimed to have done. I doubt it. In this article in the Townsville Bulletin he denies saying he was involved in a bayonet attack but “butt stroke and bayonet” clearly suggests to Infantrymen that he is claiming he was. Another article in the Canberra Times entitled “Somalia to Eden-Monaro: How Mike Kelly fought a murderous warlord all the way to a firing squad’ only refers to Kelly being involved in the legalities of having a warlord executed. The article is, however, short on details of “butt stroking and bayoneting” unless that’s how the warlord was disposed. Seems more like a puff piece by the Canberra Times aimed at getting Kelly elected. He claims to be one of us yet deserts us when we need him – typical ALP. Bastard!

Osama bin Laden

A great day for civilzation. THE body of al-Qai’da leader Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea after he was tracked down and killed by the United States in a daring raid on his hiding place in Pakistan, a US official said. No shrines in the ocean for terrorists to worship at – good move. Well done those men! More here
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