JACK HOPGOOD – WWII RAAF POW

I have been advised that Jack Hopgood POW (RAAF) passed away on Thursday, 14th October. Jack was 101 years old and was possibly the last or at least one of the last survivors of Changi, where he suffered 3 years of hell. There is plenty about his history on the web, but as for his official service number and Military Records I haven’t had a chance to research.

1201849 PTE L M LAMPARD, 6 RAR, MAY 69 TO MAY 70

Aboriginal Veterans Group in Adelaide has identified that Pte Laurence Lampard, who served with 6 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) in Vietnam May 1969 – May 1970 is interred in an unmarked grave in the West Terrace Cemetery in Adelaide.

They have arranged for the grave to be correctly recognised and a plaque recognising his war service to be fixed at the grave.

A dedication service will take place at a graveside ceremony to be held at 1000hrs 18 Nov 21.

Coat and tie with medals would be appropriate.

INTERNATIONAL VACCINE PASSPORT AVAILABLE

The long-awaited vaccine passport for international travel is due to be rolled out by the Australian government from Tuesday this week, as the country prepares to reopen its international borders for the first time since March 2020.

It comes as NSW officially hit its 80 per cent vaccination target in its adult population, and follows the NSW Premier’s announcement that the state will restart quarantine-free overseas travel for fully-vaccinated citizens and residents from 1 November.

Dubbed the International COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate, the vaccine passport for overseas travel will work in a similar fashion to existing digital COVID-19 vaccine certificates.

The vaccine passport will contain a QR code that can be readily scanned for verification by border officials and will be available for download via the MyGov website from Tuesday morning.

Further, the digital document is linked to a person’s physical passport, with travellers required to provide their passport information when they request the vaccine passport from Medicare.

Once downloaded, the document can either be printed and used physically, or stored digitally on a smartphone.

The federal government has promised that the certificates are as secure as a traditional passport and contain a higher level of encryption than the domestic proof-of-vaccination certificate.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert, who oversaw the creation and rollout of the international travel vaccine passport, said he expects Australians to welcome the new process.

“Australians understand when you travel overseas, countries require documentation to prove who you are,” he said.

“In the same way, for example, that for the last 20 years, Australians, when they travelled to Africa, they have had to carry a little international vaccination book that showed the Yellow Fever vaccination.

“This is exactly the same.”

Minister Robert stated that while not all countries require proof of vaccination in order to enter, Australia does, so travellers will need to have the vaccine passport organised ahead of any planned overseas trips.

NEW MEMORIAL FOR AFGHANISTAN VETERANS UNVEILED IN BRISBANE

A memorial honouring the selfless service and sacrifice of Australia’s Afghanistan veterans has been officially opened at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the newly unveiled 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Gardens is a timeless tribute to all our veterans lost in the conflict and to suicide.

“Veterans who served in Afghanistan fought to defend our freedoms and values and to make Australia, Afghanistan and the world safer and more secure,” Minister Gee said.

“Australia owes all those who served a great debt of gratitude and this memorial is an important acknowledgement of their service to our nation.

“The goal of not-for-profit 42 for 42 is to assist our veterans and their families through the establishment of this dedicated memorial to those who have lost their lives, and those who continue to suffer as a result of their service in Afghanistan.

“I thank 42 for 42 for its tireless work and commitment to create a meaningful space to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan, and the continuing challenges many of our veterans face.”

The 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Gardens has been supported by the Australian Government with $90,000 in funding from the Saluting their Service grant program.

The gardens will be a place to remember the 41 veterans who were killed in Afghanistan. The number 42 represents all those who continue to experience the mental and physical impacts of the conflict.

“Creating this memorial has been a tremendous team effort. Our veterans and their families have come together with a clear vision and united in a common cause to build the memorial with support from Australian artists,” Minister Gee said.

“The memorial displays 42 plaques which are cast and finished by hand, a life-sized bronze statue of a soldier and ADF dog, and also a mural dedicated to those who served in Afghanistan.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to 42 for 42 President Sean Mulqueen and all those who made this memorial possible, including the many businesses and individuals who have donated their time and money to ensure the legacy of our veterans lives on.

“Not only is this a place for quiet reflection and recognition of those who served in Afghanistan, it’s a place to educate visitors. They now have the opportunity to learn more about the conflict and the work that our servicemen and women undertook in Afghanistan through information contained on five boards at the memorial.

“While I was unable to attend the official launch due to current border restrictions, I’m eager to return to Brisbane when COVID-19 regulations allow, to visit the new memorial and honour those who’ve given so much to Australia.

“May the 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Gardens remain a testament to our veterans’ commitment to service, and our commitment to them, for generations to come.”

For more information on the memorial, its location, or the 42 for 42 organisation, please visit The Memorial – 42 for 42 Incorporated. More information about how you can access a Saluting Their Service grant can be found here.

 

 

GRAND LAUNCH OF TOWNSVILLE VETERAN WELLBEING CENTRE

Australia’s largest veteran community will now have further access to fundamental support services following the grand launch of The Oasis Townsville Veteran Wellbeing Centre.

The completion of The Oasis Townsville Centre will result in better access to essential services for veterans in Northern Queensland.

“One of my first priorities as Minister was to visit the country’s largest garrison city to speak with our veterans and their families and to hear their stories. That trip included a tour of The Oasis with the local Member for Herbert and veteran champion Phil Thompson,” Minister Gee said.

“I was very impressed with The Oasis when I was in Townsville. Now that The Oasis is fully operational, the city has an extraordinary fit-for-purpose community facility to provide targeted support for our local veterans and their families.

“The Oasis has demonstrated that there is a new and innovative way our country can care for our men and women in uniform, veterans and their families. It is a one-stop shop offering important services and support, as our ex-servicemen and women deserve nothing less.

“Not only does The Oasis provide access to health services, ex-service organisations and community groups all in the one location, it’s also where our veterans and their families can connect, catch up with friends and comrades and check in on each other.

“Veterans and their loved ones can also access help via a full spectrum of services to support health and wellbeing, advocacy, education, skills and employment assistance for Australian Defence Force personnel transitioning into civilian life. Housing and accommodation support for the veteran community will also be available to those most in need.

“Once the border re-opens, I look forward to returning to Townsville. I am eager to visit The Oasis and meet the ex-service organisations on the ground that do such incredible work in assisting the local veteran community.”

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said getting the centre established was a team effort from the whole community.

“We have the largest veteran community in Australia and this centre will provide much-needed services for our local veterans and Defence personnel,” Mr Thompson said.

“Projects like this couldn’t happen without the dedication of many local community organisations and people who are passionate about veterans.

“This has come to fruition not just because of our $5 million investment, but more importantly the hard work of so many people to see this vision being realised.”

 

For more information about the Veteran Wellbeing Centres, visit the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/wellbeing-centres.

 

CHURCH LADIES WITH TYPEWRITERS

They’re Back!  Those wonderful Church Bulletins!  Thank God for the church ladies with typewriters.  These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins  or were announced at church services:   

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The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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Scouts are  saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
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The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.  ‘The  sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale.  It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.
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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir.  They need all the help they can get.
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’  Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind.  They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church.  Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM.  Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM.  The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church.  Please use large double door at the side entrance.
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And this one just about sums them all up

The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.’

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Outside consultant firm McKinsey to overhaul veteran welfare system

Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee. Picture: Defence
RICHARD FERGUSON

An overhaul of the welfare system for defence force veterans will be led by one of Australia’s top consulting firms, with Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee saying he will cut a backlog of claims blamed for worsening rates of suicide among ex-soldiers.

Consulting firm McKinsey & Co will now start a running action plan for the welfare claims process and look to begin making significant changes from Christmas, while meeting and working regularly with families of veteran suicide victims.

The complex claims process for veterans who have left the ADF – as well as their families, sometimes widows and widowers – has been directly blamed for sparking the serious mental health problems in the veterans community.

The welfare system is set to play a key role in the upcoming royal commission into veterans suicide. Mr Gee – who took on the veterans portfolio following Barnaby Joyce’s return to the Nationals leadership in June – said the McKinsey action plan to reform veterans welfare would land on his desk in December and reform would start from there.

“This is not another review. McKinsey will immediately examine how the department can simplify the claims process, how it is currently processing claims, and identify how we can have a faster, more efficient and effective system for all veterans and their families,” he said. “We can’t wait for the royal commission in order to get cracking on this crucial reform. In the recent budget, $98.5m was ­delivered for hundreds of new claims officers, which is welcome news. However, I don’t want to see these officers dropped into an inefficient system, tangling themselves up in red tape.”

The royal commission, which follows an estimated 700-800 veterans suicides over the past 20 years, is to examine any previous death by suicide or suspected suicide.

The inquiry – led by former NSW assistant police commissioner Nick Kaldas – is to be conducted independently of the government, delivering an initial report in just over a year, and a final report by June 15, 2023.

McKinsey & Co’s plan will have to fix long, endemic delays in processing welfare claims at the ­Department of Veterans Affairs.

As of April this year, 68 per cent of veterans’ claims for a disability pension and 42 per cent of claims for war widow/widowers benefits had yet to be finalised.

The department will be ­monitored at six-month intervals up until late 2023 to make sure ­veteran welfare claims are ­processed quicker and more efficiently.

Veterans campaigner Karen Bird lost her son Jess to suicide in 2017. A coronial inquest into his death found the department should be subject to independent audits after failing to handle his claims with compassion or ­empathy.

Ms Bird on Friday welcomed the McKinsey-led reform of the claims process and said families of lost veterans would look to work closely with the consultants.

“I’m eager to participate, ­together with my lawyers who represented our family during the coronial inquest, in these meetings,” she said.

“I hope that the feedback will provide clear direction on what is required to overhaul the claims processing system, making it a positive experience for veterans and their families.”

 

 

 

 

The most decorated Native American soldier in U.S. history

The most decorated Native American soldier in U.S. history – 4 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts. He was the recipient of 42 medals and citations. – Pascal Cleatus Poolaw Sr.

Died on the battlefield in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 November 1967, while serving with Company C, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Posthumously awarded his 4th Silver Star on a “Search and Destroy mission” near Loc Ninh. Pascal Cleatus Poolaw Sr. is

Poolaw a full-blooded Kiowa, was born on January 22, 1922, in Apache, Oklahoma. Poolaw served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

In 1942, Poolaw, his father, and his two brothers joined the armed forces. While serving with the 8th Infantry Regiment’s M Company near Recogne, Belgium on September 8, 1944, he earned his first Purple Heart and Silver Star. On that day, Poolaw’s unit was engaging fire with the Germans. He pushed his company forward while facing heavy machine-gun fire for minutes as he hurled hand grenades, causing numerous enemy casualties. According to his Silver Star citation, ”Due to Sergeant Poolaw’s actions, many of his comrades’ lives were saved and the company was able to continue the attack and capture strongly defended enemy positions. Sergeant Poolaw’s display of courage, aggressive spirit and complete disregard for personal safety are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.“

Poolaw’s military career did not end in Belgium or with the Germans. During the Korean War, Poolaw saw combat and was wounded again and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, a second Purple Heart and two more Silver Stars. His first Silver Star for that war was for his heroic actions in September 1950 when his company met still enemy resistance. Poolaw volunteered to lead his squad in an assault, charging up a slop to hit the perimeter of the North Korean’s position. His squad engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat and Poolaw’s persistence encouraged his squad to keep going until they were able to seize their objective.

The second Silver Star during this war came on April 4, 1951, near Chongong-ni where Poolaw and his platoon was pinned down by automatic weapons and mortar barrage. He exposed himself to the enemy and slowly advanced across the open terrain, firing his weapon as he went. By keeping the North Koreans’ eyes on him, his platoon maneuvered to a better position and was able to carry on the mission at hand.

He returned to the U.S. in 1952 and retired from the Army ten years later. This is not where this story or military career ends.

During the Vietnam War, all four of the Poolaws sons were in the military. In February 1967, his son, Pascal Jr., was injured by a landmine in Vietnam. This injury resulted in the amputation of his right leg below the knee. Poolaw’s youngest son, Lindy, was drafted.

Afraid of what could happen to his sons as the war progressed, Poolaw rejoined the Army at the age of 45. Giving up his rank as a 2nd Lieutenant (a promotion he earned in Korea), with the intentions of serving in direct combat, Poolaw hoped to keep his youngest son away from the front lines by taking his place. Regulations prohibited two members of the same family from serving in combat at the same time without their consent. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived on the West Coast, Lindy had left for Vietnam the day before.

Poolaw was deployed on May 31, 1967, as a first sergeant of the 26th Infantry Regiment’s C Company. His last Silver Star was for an event that occurred a few months later. On November 7, 1967, Poolaw’s unit was part of a search and destroy mission near the village of Loc Ninh. Their unit was ambushed by a Viet Cong force with intensive claymore mine, rocket, small arms, and automatic weapons fire. Through a hail of bullets, Poolaw raced to the lead squad position to lay down a base of fire – saving countless lives. While wounded, he continued moving among his squad making sure everyone was positioned properly while pulling casualties back.

As Poolaw was carrying a wounded soldier to safety, he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade and killed. For his heroic actions, Poolaw was awarded a Silver Star and a third Purple Heart posthumously. “He has followed the trail of the great chiefs,” his wife Irene said at Poolaw’s funeral. “His people hold him in honour and highest esteem. He has given his life for the people and the country he loved so much.”

The citation reads as follows;

“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for gallantry in action against the enemy while serving with Company M, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, near Recogne, Belgium, on 8 September 1944. While attacking in support of a rifle company, Sergeant Poolaw displaced his machine gun squad forward across an open field under heavy mortar and small arms fire in such a manner as to affect a minimum number of casualties among his squad. After reaching his new position, Sergeant Poolaw saw the enemy advance in a strong counterattack. Standing unflinchingly in the face of withering machine-gun fire for five minutes, he hurled hand grenades until the enemy force sustained numerous casualties and was dispersed. Due to Sergeant Poolaw’s actions, many of his comrades’ lives were saved and the company was able to continue the attack and capture strongly defended enemy positions. Sergeant Poolaw’s display of courage, aggressive spirit and complete disregard for personal safety are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.”

His 2nd Silver Star was awarded to him for his bravery under fire and his disregard for his own safety while assisting his brothers in arms. The citation for his second Silver Star, earned in Korea, is as follows;

“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Sergeant First Class Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On 19 September 1950 when the company attack on an enemy position was halted by stiff enemy resistance, Sergeant First Class Poolaw volunteered to lead his squad in an assault. Courageously leading his men in a charge up the slope to penetrate the enemy perimeter and engage the numerically superior enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat, Sergeant First Class Poolaw inspired his men to hold their position until the remainder of the company was able to seize the objective. Sergeant First Class Poolaw’s outstanding leadership reflects great credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the American Soldier.”

On April 4, 1951, once again, Sergeant Poolaw honoured his people and the warriors’ creed by serving the calling of America. For his actions on that day, Master Sergeant Poolaw received his 3rd Silver Star.

The third citation reads as follows:

“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Master Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On 4 April 1951 near Chongong-ni, Korea, while attacking strong hostile positions, one squad of Master Sergeant Poolaw’s platoon was immobilized by devastating automatic weapons and mortar barrage. Exposing himself to the deadly fire, he slowly advanced across open terrain, firing his rifle as he progressed. By deliberately diverting the attention of the foe to himself, he enabled his men to maneuver to more advantageous positions. Master Sergeant Poolaw’s valorous actions were instrumental in the fulfilment of the unit mission and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the American Soldier.”

The citation for First Sergeant Poolaw’s 4th Silver Star, awarded posthumously for action in Vietnam, reads as follows;

“The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Sergeant Pascal Cleatus Poolaw (ASN: 18131087), United States Army, for gallantry in action against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 7 November 1967, while serving with Company C, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. On this date, during Operation SHENANDOAH II, First Sergeant Poolaw was accompanying his unit on a two-company search and destroy mission near Loc Ninh. As the patrol was moving through a rubber plantation, they were subjected to sniper fire. Within minutes, the area was raked with intensive claymore mine, rocket, small arms, and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior Viet Cong force.

First Sergeant Poolaw unhesitatingly ran to the lead squad which was receiving the brunt of the enemy fire. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he exposed himself to assist in deploying the men and establishing an effective base of fire. Although wounded, he continued to move about the area encouraging his men and pulling casualties to cover. He was assisting a wounded man to safety when he was mortally wounded by Viet Cong fire.

His dynamic leadership and exemplary courage contributed significantly to the successful deployment of the lead squad and undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. First Sergeant Poolaw’s unquestionable valour in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army. It should be noted that in the ferocious fighting at the Battle of Loc Ninh where he earned his 4th Silver Star and 3rd Purple Heart, it also resulted in the awards of 1 Medal of Honor, 2 Distinguished Service Crosses and one other Silver Star. 14 other US Army soldiers also lost their lives in that engagement.”

The Giant Killer book & page honours these incredible war heroes making sure their stories of valour and sacrifice are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets!

Source: History by Zim.