Hero?

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>>

9 comments

  • I know a young chap who was discharged post Timor for similar sort of behaviour. Had a minor psychotic episode in Dili, they removed his weapon, sent him straight back to Darwin, then left him by himself. After consequently getting monumentally pissed was detained by civil police, then transferred to hospital for observation. Eventually he was discharged under services no longer required provisions. NOT a medical/psych discharge. Consequently he lost all access to pension, vet affairs etc. He served in both Somalia and East Timor as an infanteer. The experience for him was essentially personality destroying. A complete different person now. Aggressive, alcoholic, prone to random acts of violence. Certainly wasn’t enlisted like that. He’s 32 this year, and has already been in a veterans home for help. How do I know? He’s my brother…

  • Consequently he lost all access to pension, vet affairs etc

    No. A thousand times no – if he served he has access. We Vietnam chappies have a good system now and look after our own. I found one of my machine gunners in the jungles nw of Cairns and after three years we, friends and I, got him on a DVA pension. We have done this a hundred or more times. He, your brother, clearly needs help – is he getting it, has he been to a Psychaitrist, has he been diagnosed, has he applied for a DVA pension, does he have other disabilities?

    Is he in Darwin? Was he 5/7RAR. I have contacts there at a very high level and will be there in June myself.

    Don’t think me a total hard hearted bastard. I just don’t like ex diggers blaming war service when they fall foul of the law particularly when the said digger was disharged for drug abuse.

    email me if you think I can help.

  • Agreed, Kev.
    NO ex soldier has been left out in the cold, post Timor, regardless of the nominal reasons for discharge.
    The DVA and the government has learned a thing or two in the 30+ years since Vietnam, and counselling, assistance, and peer support is available to ANYONE who is not travelling too well as a result of their service.

    I urge Chief Bastard to approach any of the Ex Service Organizations,(ESO): the RSL, VVAA, RAR Asssociation, etc, etc, for help with his brother.
    There are trained and sympathetic advocates out there in the ESO’s that have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

    No Digger has to suffer in silence or alone. All it needs is the courage to admit there is a problem, and I haven’t met too many Diggers who lacked courage.

  • All any problem needs is a few good men with compassion and communication. All hail the blogosphere. Well done, Kev. Hey, with these cellar-priced air fares, looks like I’ll be seeing you at the Brekky Creek before the year’s out.

  • Slatts: Look forward to you coming north. email me prior, I would hate to be out of town.

  • When I head up there Kev, I will be going first class Qantas no mixing with the Yobbo`s for me.

  • Yes Kev, he was 5/7 ex 1. He has utilised the VVCS and it’s attendant services such as respite home etc. As for kicked out for drugs, no, he was not a criminal, nor has he been using the ‘war hero’ tag to elicit sympathy. He is a very angry, disturbed young man, occasionally teetering on the edge of extreme self-harm. I can no longer relate to him, as he is completely different to the brother I grew up with.
    I recounted his brief story because there are still soldiers being processed out of service who have their true situations ignored. If the ADF were serious, my brother would have been placed into psychiatric care instead of cut loose onto the public. Mind you, he WAS only an angry young lance jack…not a suffering, emotionally bereft Major or Colonel.

  • The ADF would find itself in a great deal of trouble if it started putting people in Psych hospitals against their will.

    The govt policy on almost ALL psych matters is that they are better off in the community (personally I consider it a load of bollocks).

  • Well I for one would feel safer knowing that we had done everything we could to repatriate my younger brother. He has 10 years infantry experience in two battalions. He is a crack shot and can fight with the best of the them. He is intelligent and aggressive,and on occasion, essentially amoral.
    If you thought Martin Bryant and Julian Knight were bad, watch what a real ‘trained killer’ can do, in the right(wrong) circumstances.
    My overall point is this. There are still service personnel leaving the ADF with no retraining, no counselling, and because he was in Australia and his unit OS when he discharged, no formal separation from the service. One day he’s an AJ, the next a pissed off civvy. There were opportunities to place him under care, they weren’t taken by his command. It was easier to wash their hands of the problem, and let someone else pick up the pieces. I too have served in Somalia and East Timor, and still continue to do so. I don’t do drugs or rob banks. The ‘stress’ of deployment affects people differently. My brother and I served in the same place at the same time, he couldn’t cope and I did. They discharged him and refused to acknowledge his psychiatric condition. My younger brother is now an alcoholic time bomb.
    I would hate to hear the recriminations and horse shit from the ADF when/if he does something bad when inebriated. He didn’t join as a psychopathic alcoholic, he left as one. The rational explanation, proven by thousands of veterans of yore is he is probably suffering PTSD. His treatment? Deal with it yourself, outside the ADF.
    The gentleman’s comment from further up, stating categorically “NO ex soldier has been left out in the cold, post Timor, regardless of the nominal reasons for discharge.” is trite, and unless backed by empirical fact, I am inclined to be sceptical.
    My brother has put his life on the line, and was literally ignored by the ‘system’ upon his discharge. He gave 10 years of life in the service of his country, only to be rejected by the one thing he understood. It is a sad case, and no-one more than I feel the hurt of a life tragically undermined by circumstance. I hope he finds help and eventually peace with himself before hurting anyone inadvertently or deliberately.