Tassie tank troop commander graduates

A young Tasmanian has become one of a handful of junior Australian Army officers to graduate as a new tank troop commander after passing a gruelling training course.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Levi Ross on Exercise Gauntlet Strike at Puckapunyal Military Training Area, Victoria. Story by Captain Tom Maclean. Photo by Corporal Robert Whitmore.

Lieutenant Levi Ross and his troop were put to the final test during Exercise Gauntlet Strike.

“When the team starts to work together is when you get that great feeling of being able to do your part as a team member and see the result and particularly for tanks it’s a pretty awesome result,” Lieutenant Ross said.

The 25-year-old grew up in Wynyard on the north-west coast of Tasmania. He is one of three tank troop commanders graduating this year from the Army’s Regimental Officer Basic Course.

The training took place at the Puckapunyal Army Base, near Seymour in central Victoria, from January until the end of June.

Lieutenant Ross and his fellow officers and soldiers faced many long rainy days and longer muddy nights.

“The requirement to be mentally sharp at all times in order to continue to move these machine around is a big requirement of an armoured corps troop leader,” Lieutenant Ross said.

The crews had to manoeuvre their 62-tonne, M1A1 Abrams tanks across rolling hills and fire the 120mm main cannon into life-size mock enemy vehicles that popped up more than two kilometres away.

The scenarios combined tanks, combat reconnaissance vehicles, armoured troop carriers, infantry, combat engineers and artillery for a combined attack.

The different crews proved they could work together to defeat a large enemy force.

“Tanks provide an unrivalled capability on the ground when it comes to firepower and protection, no other platform can provide what they provide so they can be the tipping point for a battle,” Lieutenant Ross said.

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