Issue 21
March 2009

84 Pages This Issue

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CONTACT Air Land & Sea Imagine, if you can, how you might feel as you sneak quietly into a stranger’s house in the dead of night. Yes, you are armed to the teeth. But still, this is a stranger’s house, in a foreign, primitive land – and the man you are looking for is an experienced killer and you know he desperately wants to kill you and all your friends. Not only does he want to kill you, but he is capable, trained and appropriately armed to end your life in the blink of an eye – and willing to die trying. Try to imagine the physical demands of the long march that brought you to this compound in the middle of this wide-open valley. You have been walking for hours in the dark, the heat of the summer night compounded by the load you must carry. Your shoulders ache under the strain. The skin between your shoulder blades and the unyielding ceramic plate in your body armour is almost worn raw. You swig from a water bottle that’s been cooking in the desert sun all day. Your left eye aches from the strain of peering through the night-vision monocle that hangs from your helmet, while your right eye sees nothing, but remains attuned to the night’s darkness, as it must, ready for anything. Your brain complains about the confusing signals, while your head hurts under the weight of the Kevlar helmet, unbalanced by the night-vision glass. You see your left hand reach out to open an ancient door. You step through – and all hell breaks loose...

Words Brian Hartigan
Pics ADF

 

 


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

The Museum of Army Aviation at Oakey, west of Brisbane, is the custodian of Army’s flying history dating right back to 1912. Just as the Army Airfield itself has expanded in recent years, so too the museum moved into new, custom-designed facilities little more than six years ago, where floorspace is as impressive as the range of aircraft on display.

Words and Pics Brian Hartigan


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd paid tribute to Lieutenant Michael Kenneth Fussell, 4RAR (Cdo), saying his loyalty, determination and professionalism were true expressions of the Anzac spirit.
“Lieutenant Fussell was a patriotic Australian and a valued member of his regiment. He died leading Australian soldiers and proudly serving his country,” Mr Rudd said.
“Michael is owed a special debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid.”

Words Sergeant Brian Hartigan
Pics ADF


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Private Gregory Michael Sher was killed in a rocket attack in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, on 4 January.
The 30-year-old soldier was a member of the Sydney-based 1 Commando Regiment and, at the time of the attack, was with a Special Operations Task Group element that had deployed from Tarin Kowt to a provincial patrol base.
Private Sher leaves behind his parents, two brothers and a partner.

Words Brian Hartigan and Private Paul Jurblum
Pics ADF and Private Paul Jurblum


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Fulfilling an election promise early in its first term, the Rudd Labor Government withdrew Australian ‘combat forces’ from Iraq – but left the oft-forgotten ‘SECDET’ in place in the heart of Baghdad.
Tasked with protecting the Australian ambassador and consular staff, this security detachment works day in and day out in a very dangerous environment .

Pics ADF


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Australia’s sail training ship Young Endeavour was gifted to Australia by the United Kingdom to mark our bicentenary in 1988.
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme is a sail-training and adventurous team-building program partly funded by the Commonwealth Government and a special public-trust fund, with operational support from the Royal Australian Navy.

Pics ADF


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Mention the word ‘tracking’ to anyone and chances are they’ll either come up with small electronic devices monitored by some Imaginary Bureau of Investigation, or a mysterious art practiced by the natives of various continents – either Aboriginals finding their dinner or American Indians inspecting seemingly untouched ground before informing the Cavalry of exactly how many days ride ahead Butch and Sundance are.
The fact is that visual tracking in the combat environment is a misunderstood and under-used skill with tremendous relevance to the taskings that various Australian defence forces currently face. More importantly, combat tracking is a learnable skill, with applications not only to the traditional surveillance/reconnaissance and direct-action taskings of our special forces, but also to the security of reconstruction task forces, the surveillance and target-acquisition work being undertaken by units such as 20STA, and especially to the gathering of physical evidence in relation to IED attacks as is increasingly required of our Incident Response Regiment.

Words Adam Hammond
Pics Adam Hammond, David Scott-Donelan, Dan Herman, ‘John’ and US Marines


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Trooper Mark Gregory Donaldson has been awarded Australia’s highest military honour – the Victoria Cross for Australia – the first Australian in almost 40 years to be so awarded.
Trooper Donaldson, a member of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, was awarded the country’s highest bravery medal for actions against the enemy in Afghanistan in September last year.

Pics ADF


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Quite some time ago, CONTACT posed the question "Is OH&S killing cadets?" on our web-site Forums. While voter numbers were less than stellar, the result was fairly clear. So too were the accompanying comments posted on the Forum.
In November last year, a report into the ADF Cadets Scheme not only agreed with this criticism, but highlighted several further shortcomings, particularly in the highest-level management and administration of the scheme.
In fact, we’d go so far as to say the review, chaired by former Chief of Army Lieutenant General Frank Hickling, was fairly scathing in its assessments.

Words Brian Hartigan
Pics ADF


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

The Royal Australian Infantry Corps and the Royal Australian Regiment celebrated their 60th birthdays on 23 November last year – with the main focus of celebrations in Sydney on a weekend full of activities that brought past, present and even future members of the corps and regiment together.

Words and Pics Brian Hartigan


CONTACT Air Land & Sea - Somalia

In a cluttered dark room in the back of my head, there’s an overflowing filing cabinet just for Somalia marked “ASSORTED RANDOM WEIRD STUFF”.
The memories allotted for this cabinet are not the usual rambling yarns or stories more suited for ANZAC Day after Two Up or the BBQ with mates. They are generally very short, have no real lead up and end abruptly with no conclusion or punch line. A majority of them are very visual in nature, ‘location jokes’ that are hard to articulate, or snapshots of a larger picture that’s not always clear or seen. They are simply memories of fleeting moments in time.

Words AJ Shinner
Pics Supplied by AJ Shinner, and ADF


Plus...

  • Avalon Airshow - the Thunder Down Under
  • C17 powers on + all-girl crew
  • New Frontiers - training time in Afghanistan
  • Traditional Christmas rescue - Navy saves another floundering Frog
  • On Parade - three major marchouts
  • New Navy Blue - RAN gets cammed up

Plus our regular columns;

    • Letters to the Editor
    • The Big Picture - Just horsing around - mounted NORFORCE V NT Police
    • Heads up - latest snippets from Australia, New Zealand and around the World
    • Military Fitness by Don Stevenson - Military Self Defence by Major Travis Faure
    • Just Soldiers by WO1 Darryl Kelly
    • Games reviews by Sapper Gameboy

     

 

- This issue is dedicated to my father, James Francis Hartigan 1938-2009 - Rest in Peace -