We swore a sacred vow for very good reasons
For love of our country, not broken promises and false gold
Ready to give all, and many did in bloody seasons
We sighed and cursed when given tasks so dangerous and bold
Yet as one, we remained loyal and united for all to see
Then bent our backs, gritted teeth, and did as we were told
Always going forward, confident, resolute and bold
If you want to win wars, that’s how it was, and always will be

Soaking wet, hungry, weary and wary of the unknown ahead
Gasping, slipping, sliding on false crests or endless muddy tracks
Often, sad news of mates on a ridge close by, wounded or dead
Loyalty and trust all the way up to highest rank and then all the way back
So many restless dreams of safety with loved ones at home
Then sweet visions stolen by sharp spurs of duty, and no turning back
Camaraderie, trust, pride and purpose our armour, wherever we roamed
No matter when, or where, always together and never, never alone

When danger loomed, we sucked in breath and did what we had to do
Such deeds were often rewarded with garlands of pride
As well, there were medals from Canberra, won by a few
Proud and deserving unit citations for battles in which heroes died
Such recognition must never be buried to mask military flaws
True leaders at fault would fall on swords, and for that, to be admired
Betrayal and shifting blame by any rank is unforgiveable, peace or war
Its’ a tenant that reaches the heart of soldiering and shameful to ignore

Who knows where our beloved Army goes from here
With crippling PC ***added to already bent backs
Such stupidity will hamper unity and battle efficiency, I fear
And smoldering hate for a ruthless cruel enemy added to bulging packs
Who decides actions by weary tortured minds are wrong or right?
Not Suits in air conditioned space far away, and alien to those bloody tracks
Or Judges, divorced from mental and physical demands of war in day or night
If morale and battle discipline falter, best audit leadership and get rules right

By George Mansford
May 2021



FILE PHOTO (2010): Members of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group prepare to fly into Oruzgan’s Baluchi Valley and Chora regions in support of an MTF1 mission. Photo by Lieutenant Aaron Oldaker.





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