It is time to act now to protect the rights and reputation of the thousands of members of the multiple SOTG rotations who gave Meritorious service to our Nation.
These brave men and women are being punished as a collective by military Commanders who have created a false narrative around their service.
The majority of ADF personnel who deployed on those “multiple” rotations served with great distinction and honour.
Our Governor General would be allowing the denigration of their service and the sacrifices of the fallen, and their families, if he supports the FLAWED logic of the Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell.
We must appeal to our Governor General to demonstrate good leadership, by rejecting the decision to remove the Meritorious Unit Citation from those who served to protect the rule of law and our way of democracy, and to overturn the disbanding of 2 Squadron from the SASR Order of Battle.
The Command argue: “If we knew then what we know now the unit wouldn’t have been awarded the MUC …” This logic is flawed on several levels.
1. The SOTGs are not a single UNIT. They are multiple rotations, denoted by designated rotation numbers.
2. The SOTGs operated under their own autonomous command structures, and deployed thousands of ADF members.
3. The SOTGs are from all Corps and services of the ADF, and deployed over multiple periods (several years).
4. Senior Commanders at varying levels received Distinguished Service medals for commanding those multiple deployments. Yet these commanders demand that they retain their own medals.
The logic of this is that they retain their distinction for leadership over thousands of ADF personnel who they now group together in punishment, and in disgrace, for the alleged actions of 19 ADF personnel, who are yet to have their day in court.
In other words, the commanders have taken great kudos for themselves, from the meritorious service of thousands who served on multiple rotations, honourable and distinguished men and women, and those who have fallen to our enemy, and who have died as a result of mental illness, those who have sacrificed everything, including precious time with their families, to serve the will of the command unquestionably, only to have that command now seek to dishonour the sacrifices of that service.
This is completely undemocratic.
It also does not follow a similar rational by the command, for if they applied their own logic to themselves they would not have been awarded medals of distinction.
In their own words “If we knew then what we know now… the [the commanders] would not have been awarded [these medals]!”
In times like this, a ground swell is needed to make these military commanders do what is right, over what they do to protect their own failed leadership.
They are a tax-funded department, answerable to the Australian people.
They are not an autonomous organisation that is above the law of the land!
In the past, our Governor General exercised the power of his position and sacked the then Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
Surely this Governor General can restore the balance of power and reject the irrational and flawed decision of the military commanders to remove the MUC, and 2 Squadron from the SASR Order Of Battle.
As the RSM of SOTG Rotation VI (2008), I received a Joint Operations Command Commendation for my services to that task group.
Should any ADF personnel from that rotation be found guilty, in a court of law, of any alleged war crimes, I will happily surrender this award.
I call on all commanders at all levels to come forward and make that same commitment.
Those who are insecure in their own position will seek to destroy the credibility of others.
Kerry Danes, CSM
RSM SOTGs 2006, 2008
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