More on the Diggers

In case you wonder what us retired soldiers think of the recent decision to court martial three soldiers due to their actions in Afghanistan then here is a letter doing the rounds of the ex-service community with explanatory notes by a Vietnam Veteran.

For those of you who don’t know, Roger Tingley won his Miltary Cross as a 2nd Lieutenant in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The email letter below has been written by Roger as a result of the decision (apparently against the wishes of the Chief of the Defence Force) by one (military) lawyer to court martial 3 young soldiers who made a (split second) decision, tragic as the consequences were, to return fire in a combat situation recently in Afganistan, a situation which it is certain that lawyer has never nor never will have to face, and a situation so dreadful that lawyer could never in her worst nightmares begin to imagine or understand.

Combat soldiers who served during the Vietnam (and any other) war could almost certainly tell of at least one situation that they either knew of, or themselves experienced, where innocent people became casualties. The politicians who send our young men to war know, or should know, without question, that a tragedy such as this is always likely to occur. That these young men now have to face further tragedy in their own lives, regardless of the outcome of their respective courts martial, is a disgrace beyond belief. If someone is to be punished for the tragic deaths of the innocents in this situation, why not the politician(s) who made the decision to send them in the first place or even the electors who chose that (or those) politician(s) to make that decision.

These three young men, privates, the lowest rank in the military hierarchy, are the scapegoats for just another of the tragedies which occur when old men send young men to fight their wars.

RJ Wood
former Lieutenant Platoon Commander during the Vietnam War.
One of the young men sent to fight old men’s wars.

The letter:


I am but a small part of growing and grave concern: not just within the ADF Family and the wider Veteran Community; but of the Australian Electorate at large; that we are seeing the first real nails in the coffin of the ANZAC Military Forces as we knew them.

That the nails are being manufactured from political, delivered by civilians, held by senior civilians in uniform and hammered in, by direction, by mid level military careerists who recognize their masters.

Recruitment is already, although the real facts are obfuscated, becoming a less than cost effective factor and we may be struggling in less than a decade, to find enough service personnel, particularly on the ground and NOT in a barracks base or airfield complex.

Those in power at this time, will by then be well supered….but we will remember them.

So, speaking of Remembrance Day…and the young men (and their poor families) who are about to be dragged through dirty political mud, be publicly pilloried and, whatever the outcome, have their very lives changed forever, may I, in the spirit of fair play, gently ask our current (RAAF) ADF Chief:

Is the Australian Government now going to publicly discriminate: or are they now going to charge any and every single Australian RAAF Ex Serviceman who ever took part in any deliberate bombing (especially Firebombing) of any city or town, anywhere in the world, in World War 2.

I sincerely trust that every addressee will ask the same question of at least one journalist and one elected representative…..well before Remembrance Day.

Very Sincerely,

Roger L Tingley MC

9 Responses to More on the Diggers

  1. “These three young men, privates, the lowest rank in the military hierarchy, are the scapegoats for just another of the tragedies which occur when old men send young men to fight their wars.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  2. roly says:

    I am really getting pissed off with all this crap….who is paying or urging on these arseholes that want to charge diggers who are following orders…..orders that have been issued from afar to diggers who…(and I am sure that grunts all over the world will agree with this) are shitting themselves under fire and have to make a split second decision on whether he and his mates are going to stay alive for their next cold fucking meal while the powers that be are squatting in comparative luxury…….I want the names of these fucking idiots printed in the newspapers…I want the families of these diggers to know who these fucking cowards are that hide behind their cloaks and fucking righteous wigs and so called western civility….I also want to know if the families of these pricks ever get threatened in any way by terrorists in any form….who are they going to call on for protection….

    Sorry Kev but I have had a gutful of these fucking arseholes…

    • Bob says:

      Pity we could not express ourselves in this manner in the daily news media. Anger is not something you can express without some loss of control.

  3. roly says:

    It’s OK I’m back on my meds now, but these faceless people wouldn’t want to bump into me in a dark alley…..or anywhere else for that matter….

  4. roly says:

    The name of the person responsible for bringing these charges has been revealed. Brigadier Lyn McDade, Australia’s chief military prosecutor, a former reservist and Northern Territory deputy coroner.
    The lady apparently has never seen action and she has been reported as stating that the treatment that David Hicks recieved in Gautamalo was “abominable”.
    Who the hell put this lady in charge, Osama bin Laden..?????
    She should be discharged from the position…

    P.S.–Wouldn’t suprise me if she had never been with a man before either….which would explain her extremely anti Australian actions.

  5. roly says:

    Had another think about this one…being a Viet vet and therefore naturally paranoid….does anyone else find it strange that last month we had a digger complaining about the lack of support in Afghanistan and this month some sheila digs up some dirt on an action that happened in February 2009 and decides to charge 3 diggers, one with manslaughter,….is there a connection between Lt-General Evans and Brigadier McDade, who happened to have had her rank bestowed upon her rather than worked her way up through normal channels, I find it all very convenient for the army that they have taken the heat from a valid complaint and muddied the waters with these other allegations.

  6. Mick says:

    Whats the point of serving your country, in ANY capacity, then to find all the crap told to you about we will look after you etc, is all a lie? You serve in the Army, to find when you are discharged and have injuries sustained from that service, to then be told YOU prove it was caused by that service! You incur the cost and the stress, and you prove because you carried an M60 for 10 or so years or that you carried an OVERWEIGHT pack (as ruled by SCMA) that doing that, you caused the injury……We dont care that you followed orders, you should not have done………..NO WONDER MY MATE COMMITTED SUICIDE!..
    I recently posted this sorry……
    For fucks sake, I really understand why people are leaving the ADF in drives….Fucking desk driving bloody civvies, stupid wench would’nt have half a clue…..AGGGHHHHHHHHH.
    The whole system really is shit, I will support these Diggers as much as I can and you know what?…..Fuck the pollies and any military protocol, I’m a civvie now….
    Ok rant over sorry all i offended
     

    • Kev says:

      Mick,

      If anyone is offended they can piss of.  The comments here underline the travesty of justice that case represented and the deep feelings of outrage that it caused.  It is all over now and the charges were dropped but the guys had to go through all the shit before they were dropped.

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