Issue 26
June 2010

84 Pages This Issue

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CONTACT Air Land & Sea

The modern-day Australian commando draws lineage primarily from the Independent Companies (Commando Squadrons) and Services Reconnaissance Department (M and Z Special units) of World War II. The original commandos were a tough breed of Aussies who were used by the Allies to agitate against and delay the formidable force of the Japanese in the Pacific. In the early 1940s, it appeared that the impending Japanese assault onto the Australian mainland may only have been a matter of time – so the independent companies were required to punch well above their weight and assisted in slowing the Japanese move through Asia towards Australia. The tactical actions of this small yet determined force had strategic effects and sapped a disproportionate amount of Japanese resources and manpower.

Words Captain T, 2 Commando Regiment
Pics Brian Hartigan and ADF

CONTACT Air Land & Sea

By the time this is published, the First Mentoring Task Force (MTF1) will be just about half-way through its deployment to Afghanistan – and, if the fi rst few months are anything to go by, it could be an exciting tour for the Aussies.
They “hit the ground running” in mid February, formally taking command of the mission on a hand-over parade at Tarin Kowt on the 14th. By that time, however, they had already seen action on the battlefield with one soldier wounded in an IED incident while
conducting familiarisation patrols with their predecessor Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force 2.


CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Tactical Week Australia, held in Brisbane from 12 to 21 March, was the result of the collaborative efforts of a range of specialist tactical-training providers for 10 days of leading-edge operational and industry skills training, demonstrations, lectures and discussions. There was also a concurrent, two-day Tactical Gear Expo showcasing a wide range of industry equipment and gear, with two large blocks of time dedicated to the expo scheduled into the program. This aspect alone was described by one exhibitor as being “better than a whole week at Land Warfare Conference”!

Words and pics Doug Nicholson, Response Australia eMagazine

CONTACT Air Land & Sea

RAAF aircraft and personnel deployed in late February to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to participate in the United States Air Force’s most advanced international air combat training activity.
Eight F/A-18 Hornet fi ghter jet aircraft and approximately 160 Air Force personnel from No 77 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW, deployed to Exercise Red Flag to conduct complex air combat missions at one of the world’s best training facilities – which featured heavily in the movie Top Gun.

Pics Sergeant Pete Gammie

CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Scuttlebutt had it that the Australian government was all set to announce a direct purchase of the ‘Team Romeo’ Sikorsky MH-60R without going to tender. Why? Because the helicopter was touted as the only in-service machine capable of replacing the current Sea Hawk fleet and covering the capability gap left by the cancellation of the Seasprite project.
Well, Australian Aerospace wasn’t going to cop that lying down, so they ‘borrowed’ an Italian Navy-owned model of their own contender – the NH90 NFH (NATO frigate helicopter) – and brought it Downunder for a whirlwind tour that included such PR gems as a sonar-dipping demo-flight on Sydney Harbour during official Australia Day celebrations, and various media-, military and political-passenger ‘joy flights’ around the country.

Words and pics Brian Hartigan

CONTACT Air Land & Sea

Hitting a concrete wall at 160km/h after spending more than $200,000 getting your ‘baby’ up to speed would break a lesser man, but not Warrant Officer Class Two Neil Murphy, whose drag racing hobby came to a screeching halt during a run at Warwick Raceway on March 13.
“When I hit the wall, the fi rst thing I thought of was my wallet,” WO2 Murphy, HQ 8 Brigade, said.

Words Sergeant Andrew Hetherington, ARMY newspaper
Pics Trooper Michael Franchi

CONTACT Air Land & Sea

One of the world’s biggest ever military tattoos went off with a bang in Sydney in February with barely enough room on the Sydney Olympic Stadium football field for the more than 1500 performers.

Words and pics Brian Hartigan

A small wooden cannon donated to the Anglesea Barracks Sergeants’ Mess in 1956 by the HMAS Wagga Petty Officers’ Mess has returned home after travelling the world for nearly 60 years – and listed as missing for the past 10.

Pics Phil Pike

CONTACT Air Land & Sea - Somalia

Militarily, when somebody refers to ‘the sharp end’ they are most definitely talking about the most hazardous tasks and locations within the forward areas of any theatre of operations.
Although ‘forward areas’ are becoming harder to define in modern warfare, there is always, so to speak, a line in the sand where
only a select few cross on a daily basis. It’s the place where you put on your war face, access that heightened state of awareness
and block out all the bullshit. It’s the place where the only thing that truly matters is your mates to your left and right.

Words AJ Shinner
Pics Supplied by AJ Shinner

CONTACT Air Land & Sea - Somalia


While many of Australia’s youth were online gaming or playing on their Wii Consoles, 80 cadets went head-to-head in demanding activities as part of the Chief of Army’s Cadet Team Challenge. Held at Kokoda Barracks in Canungra from March 4 to 6, the event featured quick-decision exercises, ceremonial drill, field navigation, fi rst aid, radio procedures, engineering tasks, leadership and teamwork.

Words Lieutenant Darlene Lavett
Pics Trooper Michael Franchi



  • Kiwis overseas
  • RAAF Museum Air Pagent
  • Super Hornet lands in Australia
  • 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) celebrates 150 years
  • Competition Giveaways
    • 10-2 book packs from Big Sky Publishing - Pure Massacre: Aussie Soldiers Reflect on the Rwandan Genocide - A Long Way Home: One POW's story of escape and evasion during World War II.

Plus our regular columns;

    • The Big Picture - CONTACT jumps on the 3D bandwagon
    • 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
    • The Job's Market" with Jonathan Ryan
    • The Gear Insider