Heavy weapons on target

Members of 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment’s Direct Fire Support Weapon (DFSW) Platoon, have been subject to a range of experiences since enlisting in the Army, including the recent Exercise Brolga Run, with many following in the footsteps of family.

CAPTIONArmy soldiers Privates Matthew Lugton and Ethan MacKinnon participate in Exercise Brolga Run. Story by Captain Brittany Evans. Photos by Trooper Dana Millington.

DFSW platoons suppress, neutralise, or destroy enemy dismounts, vehicles, or structures, using anti-armour weapons and machine guns.

Due to the variety of weapon systems, soldiers require a significant amount of time and resources to qualify and become proficient in the operation of each system and its tactical employment.

Currently, soldiers and officers must complete six weeks of training to become DFSW-qualified at the basic level.

Private Matthew Lugton from Perth joined the Army straight out of high school more than five years ago, and said the DFSW selection process “was worth it”.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Private Lugton said.

“Best thing about the platoon is the environment – all the boys support each other.

“Night shoots are awesome and the 84mm is my favourite – it’s a bit of a shock, but you feel mad.

“I always wanted to join, my dad served 19 years in the infantry.”

Private Ethan MacKinnon from the Gold Coast enlisted in the Army in January 2022.

“My brother served as an intelligence analyst for four years. I always looked up to him and wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Private MacKinnon said.

“I was a gap year, which ended January 2023. I stayed because I have a lot to learn. If I left, I feel like I would have missed a great opportunity.

“Everything I’ve done in the Army so far has genuinely been the best thing I have done in my life.

“DFSW has been so good; there is nowhere else I would rather be.”

CAPTIONArmy soldiers Privates Matthew Lugton and Ethan MacKinnon speak of their experience since enlisting in the Australian Army and the family footsteps they followed.


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