“Some men look at the way things are and ask ‘Why?’. I prefer to look at the way things should be and ask ‘Why not?’ “ — US Attorney-General Robert Kennedy
CAPTION: First pages of a major CONTACT Magazine spread on 2RAR (Amphib), from December 2017. Read that story here.
When the First Fleet arrived in Sydney in 1788 there were 240 Royal Marines on board.
After spending six years and more than $2.5 billion on the two Canberra-class vessels and another $100 million on HMAS Choules, our governments have produced an amphibious fleet with a Pre Landing Force of only 300 – a bit more than the First Fleet, but not by much.
In doing this 2RAR has gone from 600 personnel down to about half that number (the penny-pinching bean counters in Canberra must have had wet dreams about cutting so many “horribly expensive” Aussie jobs).
The re-roled 2RAR (Amphib) seem to be a very competent, enthusiastic and highly trained group who have mastered the various skillsets needed for their new role under Lt-Col Pashley and have performed well in exercises off Hawaii with the USMC.
They have even added helo-casting from Chinooks to their range – which up until now has been in the domain of our special forces.
Perhaps now might be a good time for our new prime minister and his new defence minister to impress at least some of the voters by arranging to expand the unit back to near the original 2RAR numbers.
The government has started to meet the Chinese strategic push into the great arc of islands and ocean to our north and east and I’m sure an extra 200 or so amphibious-trained troops would find useful employment among our friends and allies.
Is this all too ‘pie in the sky’ or is there some common sense in the idea? Comments, please.
Bob McIntyre – very retired No 1 Commando Company digger with a long-held passion for Australian military affairs, but definitely no expert.