Pulmonary Fibrosis Inquiry


I’m wondering if you could post to your Veteranweb Network a request for me, please.

I have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis which becomes worse with no known cure as time passes. I firmly believe it was caused by being sprayed to the point of my uniform being saturated by a helicopter spraying pesticide. At the time I thought it a big joke on me as did the helicopter crew and the pesticide wasn’t washed off me or my uniform until much later by which time it had dried on my uniform and skin.

Would it be possible to ask if any other members who served in Vietnam are or have experienced pulmonary fibrosis and would they please get in touch with me?

Many thanks, Ray,


Lee O’Neill

[email protected]

Supporting those who serve

If you are facing financial hardship and need to pay off bills before Christmas 2021. Now is the time to call Bravery Trust. They do not operate 24 hours and they take the national Christmas and new year’s public holidays. I will prewarn you when the cut off is for the last applications.

Bravery Trust support veterans and their families when they need it most. If you’re an Australian veteran who is seriously injured as a result of service and needs financial assistance to get back on your feet, we want to hear from you.


#australianveteransandfamilies #pleasereachoutforfinancialhelp


In conversation with Kate Munari

20 OCTOBER 2021

By: Nastasha Tupas

As Australia’s only female Navy helicopter pilot to fly in Afghanistan three times as part of Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) in the role of aircraft captain and formation commander, Kate Munari led teams in some of the toughest conditions any workplace can present.

Q and A with Kate Munari, aircraft captain and formation commander (Ret’d), RAN

The veteran navy pilot joins Defence Connect journalist Nastasha Tupas to discuss leadership and teamwork, critical decision making, how she has capitalised on her military experience to forge a successful career in the civilian corporate space, to empowering women for whatever comes across their professional or personal paths. Munari joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 18, through the Australian Defence Force Academy and completed a Bachelor of Science degree. Qualifying as a helicopter pilot in 2006, her skill and dedication to flying led to her being selected for a four and a half year posting to the Royal Navy, UK. There, Munari flew as part of Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) who fly in support of the Royal Marine Commandos.

Defence Connect: Let’s rewind and start from the beginning, what got you interested in joining the ADF?

Kate Munari: I guess as a kid, I was into everything, but then I wasn’t into any one thing in particular. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do. I knew that I did not want a nine-to-five job, that was never going to suit me. Interestingly, the Defence Force recruiting team came to my school when I was in year 11. I attended that presentation, and I was just hooked from the moment I saw it. It looked exciting, there were adventures to be had and it definitely was not going to be a nine-to-five job.

DC: When you initially applied for the ADF, did you experience any roadblocks?

KM: When I first joined, I wouldn’t have said there were any roadblocks. However, there were still a couple of areas within defence that were off limits to females, which has since changed. I guess [for me] it was just the normal challenges of joining to be a pilot.


There are so many tests, so many interviews, such a lengthy process, but then again, I’m quite happy with that challenge. That’s what I wanted to do. I was quite motivated to step through all those challenges to get in.

DC: How did you navigate a male dominated workplace and advance your career?

KM: Job competency is key. Focus on your skills, your abilities and your gender should never be viewed as a limiting factor. There is nothing about your gender that will stop you doing a job. You’ll be trained to fulfil whatever role comes up, and you’ve just got to back yourself, if it’s something you want to do, and you believe you’ve got the ability to do it, then go and give it a go.

DC: What was your experience like as a pilot and leader during your military career?

KM: I loved being a military pilot. Part of the job fundamentally comes with a lot of responsibility, like straight up, you’re responsible for the lives of your crew, the passengers on board in this multi-million-dollar helicopter. So, I found that was a motivation for me to do better and work harder, to just try and be the best pilot I could be because I had that level of responsibility — so that was a real positive. For me, even in light of recent events in Afghanistan, my three operational deployments are still without a doubt the highlight of my military career.

DC: What has stuck with you the most during your deployments?

KM: My deployments as part of Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) were the pinnacle of my career. Most spend years training for the possibility of going operational. When I got that opportunity, it was what I’d wanted. You are working at your peak mental and physical performance while you’re out there. I enjoyed rising to that challenge and meeting the everyday challenges that came whilst we were out there in Afghanistan.

From a bit more of personal perspective, it was an adventure with my mates. The people I worked with are the only people who ever really understand what it was like being out there and what you were faced with, what you had to deal with to achieve your mission. Some of my closest friends are still the people who I deployed with to Afghanistan, so I take that away as well.

DC: How do you tackle making tough decisions quickly under enemy fire?

KM: There’s a lot that goes into making decisions in those sorts of moments. First off, focus on what you can control, and let go of the rest. Don’t waste your time thinking about the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘I wish,’ [scenarios] in relation to the things that are outside of your control. I just think there’s no point in even wasting your time and effort on them. Focus on what you can control and make the best of those situations. Those decisions that you can make and put your input into, those things that you can control. That’s really important. I guess, another one is always work hard and give everything your best effort because sometimes you don’t get a second chance.

This is actually something I cover during my motivational speaking, which I also do as another job. The short version of it, is, during those moments, focusing on the here and now and what needs to be done in the here and now is key. Maintaining situational awareness of everything around you that goes into making that decision, and then making a decision, and making it the best decision you can in that moment.

I don’t mean to simplify. When I speak about it, there’s a whole lot more behind it, but they are the things in that moment that you’ve really got to do. I often get asked that sort of question when I’m doing speaking engagements, because a lot of people are like, how can you possibly switch off all the all those crazy thoughts that could run through your head in those sorts of moments, and actually make a good decision?

I’ve had years of training, and it is about focusing on what needs your attention in that moment. That really is key. The moment you start thinking about the people down the back, or what happens if something goes wrong?

As soon as you go down that path, you get distracted from making that decision, and it will affect your ability to make that decision. So, you just got to stop yourself when your mind runs away — and it takes practice.

DC: Which of your military skills have been the most transferable to your career now?

KM: If you put me in a box for my service, I was a helicopter pilot. However, I’m now a motivational speaker and an air accident investigator. None of those jobs were on the list of the standard things you can do when you leave the military. When people transition from the military, they’ve probably had years of training, acquired skills, and experiences, but military personnel don’t know exactly how their skills translate. So, I think veterans transitioning into a civilian career do need help in that sense.

It’s not that we don’t have the skills, we just know them by a different name, or we had just used them in a military environment — but the skills are just as relevant, we just need to translate that into civilian space. I feel everyone who leaves defence can find something that’s relevant to their experiences.

The military equips people with so many different skills. For me, everything from my leadership skills, and my personnel management skills to communication, decision making, and even critical thinking apply in my current roles as a motivational speaker, and as an air accident investigator.

It is good to see that Defence has done some work in this space and worked with numerous civilian organisations to educate them as to what military personnel can bring to the party, but I also think there’s still work to be done in that space.

DC: There has been a national conversation about bolstering support for veterans that are transitioning out of the ADF in the areas of mental health and job opportunities, do you think this should have been as prominent in the past as it is now?

KM: I guess it’s topical now with all that is happening in Afghanistan.

It just needs to be said that for those individuals who served in Afghanistan, what’s happening now, it doesn’t diminish your efforts at the time. As military personnel, our service was called upon to go, try and fulfil the mission. I think it’s worth noting that every defence service person is going to be different. They’ll be dealing with mental health challenges differently; some may need support when they get out; and some don’t need any support when they get out.

When personnel are still serving in the military, that’s when I think more effort, perhaps, could also be put into looking after people’s mental health… whilst they’re still in defence, still surrounded by all their normal support networks and their normal routine and structure. To me that’s a better time to be dealing with any issues.

Like I said, it’s very tough. Veterans’ mental health was topical before the Afghanistan situation shifted as much as it has. The best way to put it is, the current situation is not in the control of the individuals who once served in Afghanistan. As individuals we did the best job that we could at the time and just because the ultimate mission may now have failed, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth trying for at the time, and it doesn’t diminish the efforts that were put in at the time.

It needs to be remembered that we were out there doing a job, the job that our countries had asked us to go and do, to support a mission that we believed would make a positive impact. The efforts we put in are not diminished by the outcome at the end, because we went there, did our best, we tried, and it was worth trying for.

DC: What would your advice be to women who want to apply for roles at the ADF, those who are currently in the ADF who want to advance in their careers, and women aspiring to be leaders in their industries?

KM: I had a really positive experience throughout my military career. Then, I was outnumbered heavily by men, but my gender wasn’t a limiting factor for me. It didn’t really enter my mind, it didn’t stop me trying to be a pilot, even though when I joined, there was only one female pilot in the whole of the Navy. I never let it stop me, I never let it hold me back because I didn’t focus on gender as being an aspect that would limit me.

It’s better to go for something than cross yourself out for something that perhaps isn’t a factor at all. That’s how I always looked at it. Like I said, job competency is key. Often, the reality is that it’s not actually gender that’s going to stop you doing anything, it might be something else, like not having the right skills to do whatever job you’ve gone for.

Rarely is gender a factor on its own, it shouldn’t stop you from doing something — unless you let it.

This article originally appeared in the Defence Connect maritime special edition, which can be viewed here.

The great unsinkable ship Titanic America has hit an iceberg

A note to sane people from a veteran in USA


Critical things to think about in 2021. 

I never dreamed that I would have to face the prospect of not living in the United States of America, at least not the one I have known all my life.  I have never wished to live anywhere else.  This is my home and I was privileged to be born here. But today I woke up and as I had my morning coffee, I realized that everything is changing for the worse.  No matter how I vote, no matter what I say, no matter how much I pray, something evil has invaded our nation, and our lives are never going to be the same.  I have been confused by the hostility of family and friends.  I look at people I have known all my life–so hate-filled that they agree with opinions they would never express as their own.  I think that I may well have entered the Twilight Zone.  We have become a nation that has lost its collective mind!

You can’t justify this insanity:

  • If a guy pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him.
  • Somehow it’s un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America.
  • Russians influencing our elections are bad, but illegals voting in our elections are good.
  • It was cool for Joe Biden to “blackmail” the President of Ukraine.
  • Twenty is too young to drink a beer, but eighteen is old enough to vote.
  • People who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves.
  • People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for their degrees.
  • Immigrants with tuberculosis and polio are welcome, but you’d better be able to prove your dog is vaccinated.
  • Irish doctors and German engineers who want to immigrate to the US must go through a rigorous vetting process, but any illiterate gang member or terrorist who jumps the southern fence is welcome.
  • $5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for “free” health care is not.
  • If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free.
  • If you cheat in an election nothing happens to you, but if you point out the mathematical errors of that election you are a conspiracy theorist & disdained.
  • People who say there is no such thing as a gender are demanding a female President.
  • We see other countries going Socialist and collapsing, but it seems like a great plan for us.
  • Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, and other people are not held responsible for what they are doing right now.
  • Criminals are caught and released to hurt more people, but stopping them is bad because it’s a violation of their rights.
  • And pointing out all this hypocrisy somehow makes us “racists”?!

Nothing makes sense anymore – no values, no morals, and no civility. People are dying of a Chinese virus, but it’s racist to refer to it as Chinese even though it began in China.  We are clearly living in an upside-down world where right is wrong and wrong is right, where moral is immoral and immoral is moral, where good is evil and evil is good, where killing murderers is wrong but killing unborn babies is okay!

Wake up America, the great unsinkable ship Titanic America has hit an iceberg, it’s taking on water, and is sinking fast. We Americans are drowning.  Speak up while you still have breath and a voice for soon you will have neither if you don’t!




Military Instructional Technique

Entering a classroom at MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station,) Yuma , a female Marine Captain encountered a clearly apathetic audience. She was selected to provide a full hour’s instruction on Iraqi electronic warfare capabilities to 150 Marine aviators who showed by their body language deep scepticism about her ability to teach warfighting skills to an all-male class.

She began by noting that her voice had just been tested to see if it was suitable for some new cockpit recorder messages for Marine aircraft. She said that unfortunately she had not been selected to be the new “Bitching Betty.” However, she said it was only fair to warn the audience the reason given for her non-selection was that an analysis of her voice pattern revealed that her particular voice had a tendency to lull to sleep any male homosexual within earshot.

The assembled officers shot upright in their chairs. 150 pairs of eyes were wide open and locked on her and stayed that way for the rest of the period.



Hi Ray

I previously asked if anyone knew of Bob Faulkner – who may or may not be ‘on the right side of the grass’ (his words).

Bob and I shared a dark sense of humour – and he was the 1 RAR’s UNOFFICIAL WAR ARTIST in ’65-’66.

I had tried to get his 200 or so artworks/ cartoons exhibited – but to no avail. I then had his written permission to do with them as I wished.

I have lost his contact since my email service was deleted (for commercial reasons).

If Bob has since passed on, I would like to contact his NOK to fulfil a promise to return his LAST copy of his published COMIC BOOK: ‘WAKKA’.

Bob may not be known to you – as we were both spending duty time at BHQ, while you were in an infantry platoon, as was I initially. He spent a lot of time drawing on scraps of scrounged paper until I had my family send over a sketch pad to pass onto him.

He then went on – surprisingly – to become an officer and established a Security Force for Canberra’s APH, and working alongside the notorious John Essex-Clark (Big E) in Canberra.

I have not been able to contact him from the days when he last lived in the vicinity of Rockhampton (Qld). I believe he was then about to move to be close to a hospital closer to Brisbane.

I would like to know if anybody knows of his outcome – as I still wish to honour his creativity and the uplifting of morale back in those days.

Colin Rayfield

[email protected]

(Ex-1 RAR ’65-’66 – 1 Pl A Coy)


44 days was the time that the pilots of RAAF 75 Squadron were alone providing air defence for Port Moresby New Guinea. March 1942 were dire times for Australia, with bombs falling on Darwin, these brave and barely trained pilots fought a desperate battle at Australia’s frontline. The Squadron flew P 40 Kittyhawks during World War II. 75 Squadron saw action almost every day during March and April 1942. They had much success with retaliatory raids against the Japanese.

By March 1942 only a few hundred kilometres of sea lay between Australia and the Japanese forces marauding south through the Pacific. With Churchill and Roosevelt prioritising the defeat of Hitler in Europe, the job of blunting the Japanese advance fell to the Australian forces in New Guinea.

The key to the defence of New Guinea was Port Moresby, where demoralised Australian troops with scant air support worried they would be sacrificed like the garrison at Rabaul on the neighbouring island of New Britain.

Newspaper headlines around the world reflected the seriousness of the situation. An editorial in The New York Times, widely quoted by Australian newspapers, argued that “If the Japanese forces now driving against Port Moresby are successful, Australia will be in greater danger of invasion … If the Japanese strike quickly, it is unlikely that the fringe of Northern Australia can be held”.

A Japanese seaborne assault on Port Moresby seemed inevitable. The town had been under continual air attack since early February and the lack of adequate fighter protection for the Australian garrison was underlined by the appearance of swarms of Japanese Zeros, some even venturing as far as the tip of Cape York.

All three services bore the brunt of the early Japanese onslaught through Malay / Singapore and the Netherlands East Indies, and sustained casualties accordingly. Australia’s forces were meagre in numbers, operating outdated equipment, and spread far too thinly.

When the fighting reached New Guinea, the enemy were on Australia’s doorstep. Protection of Port Moresby in New Guinea went to the top pf the list, and air cover was going to be vital.

Australia had no fighter aircraft on the Australian mainland as the Japanese surged south.

Prime Minister John Curtin made impassioned pleas to the UK and the USA for aircraft that could hold their own. The British had none, and the US were making good their own losses from recent set-backs. The major Allies were initially dubious as to whether Australia had the pilots to fly them! The fact that Australia was churning out aircrew under the Empire Air Training Scheme for the air war in Europe seemed lost on our Allies!

Fortuitously, aircraft originally intended for the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) were able to be diverted as the Japanese overran Java.

A shipload of Curtiss P40E Kittyhawk fighters were thus diverted to Sydney, and hastily assembled at Bankstown aerodrome in early-March 1942.

Command of No 75 Squadron now passed from Jeffrey to Flight Lieutenant JF “Old John” Jackson, another veteran of the war in the Western Desert.

In March and April 1942, RAAF 75 Squadron bravely defended Port Moresby for 44 days when Australia truly stood alone against the Japanese. The raw recruits had almost nothing going for them against the Japanese war machine, except for one extraordinary leader named John Jackson, a balding, tubby Queenslander – at 35 possibly the oldest fighter pilot in the world – who said little, led from the front, and who had absolutely no sense of physical fear.

Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson, shot down on 28 April 1942 over Port Moresby. He had previously been awarded a DFC. SQNLDR Jackson served with No 23 Squadron in Australia in 1939 and in the Middle East with 3 Squadron from 1940 -1941. His brother, SQNLDR Leslie Douglas Jackson, bravely fought on and took command of 75 Squadron following the death of his brother and was awarded a DFC and Bar, one of which he earned at Milne Bay, 75 Squadron’s next major engagement.

28 April 1942, John was killed in action above Port Moresby, leading his squadron’s five remaining airworthy Kittyhawks in the interception of a force of Japanese bombers and escorting Zero fighters. Historians believe he may have been trying to obey impossible orders, deliberately staying high to dogfight the superior Japanese fighters. He earned praise for his leadership during the defence of Port Moresby before his death. His younger brother Les took over No. 75 Squadron, and also became a fighter ace. Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby, is named in John Jackson’s honour.

Time and time again this brave group were hurled into battle, against all odds and logic, and succeeded in mauling a far superior enemy – whilst also fighting against the air force hierarchy. After relentless attack, the squadron was almost wiped out by the time relief came, having succeeded in their mission – but also paying a terrible price.

Although militarily less significant than the success at Milne Bay, No 75 Squadron’s heroic 44-day defence of Port Moresby represented, in the words of the squadron’s official history, a “moral victory of incalculable value” against an enemy that until then had seemed invincible.

RAAF 75 Squadron had been formed at Townsville, Queensland, on 4 March 1942, under the command of Squadron Leader Peter Jeffery. On 21 March the squadron’s first four Kittyhawk aircraft landed at the Seven Mile Strip, Port Moresby. During the afternoon Flying Officer Barry Cox and Flight Lieutenant John Piper shot down a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft. Two hours later Squadron Leader J.F. Jackson, the newly appointed commanding officer, led the remainder of the squadron to the Seven Mile Strip.

The squadron was the sole fighter defence of Port Moresby during its 44-day deployment from 21 March to 3 May 1942. Thirty-nine enemy aircraft had been destroyed in the air or on the ground, and 54 damaged, for the loss of 12 pilots and 24 aircraft.

During their time in Port Moresby 75 Squadron had lost many aircraft and pilots. However, they had shot down four times as many enemy aircraft and delayed the Japanese invasion for just long enough for the US fleet to turn the tide in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. On a final note, Saburo Sakai, the famous Japanese ace and who took part in this battle, spoke very highly of the defence put up by the Australians.

During August 1945 the squadron undertook general flying and reconnaissance flying over prisoner-of-war camps. The aircraft were then flown back to Oakey, in Queensland, and the ground crew returned to Australia aboard HMS Glory, arriving in Sydney in December 1945. The unit was disbanded at Williamtown on 28 March 1948





North Korea tests possible submarine missile, amid tensions with US

By Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press and Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press


Oct 20, 09:34 PM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday fired at least one ballistic missile into the sea in what South Korea’s military described as a weapon likely designed for submarine-based launches, marking possibly the most significant demonstration of the North’s military might since President Joe Biden took office.

The launch came hours after the U.S. reaffirmed its offer to resume diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It underscored how the North continues to expand its military capabilities amid a pause in diplomacy.

Officials from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said they are “aware of the North Korean ballistic missile launch this morning into the Sea of Japan and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners,” according to an INDOPACOM statement. “The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from any further destabilizing acts.  While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory, or that of our allies, we will continue to monitor the situation.  The U.S. commitment to the defence of the ROK and Japan, remains ironclad.”

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement it detected the North firing one short-range missile it believed was a submarine-launched ballistic missile from waters near the eastern port of Sinpo, and that the South Korean and U.S. militaries were closely analysing the launch.

The South Korean military said the launch was made at sea, but it didn’t elaborate whether it was fired from a vessel submerged underwater or another launch platform above the sea’s surface.

Japan’s military said its initial analysis suggested the North fired two ballistic missiles and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said officials were examining whether they were SLBMs.

After the launch, Kishida interrupted a campaign trip ahead of Japanese legislative elections later this month, returning to Tokyo. The leader ordered his government to start revising the country’s national security strategy to adapt to North Korea’s growing threats.

“We cannot overlook North Korea’s recent development in missile technology and its impact on the security of Japan and in the region,” he said.

South Korean officials held a national security council meeting and expressed “deep regret” over the launch that came despite efforts to revive diplomacy. A strong South Korean response could anger North Korea, which has accused Seoul of hypocrisy for criticizing the North’s weapons tests while expanding its own conventional military capabilities.


Honour the service and sacrifice of your friend or family member with a tribute on 11 November

This Remembrance Day, the Daily Telegraph will publish obituaries about the sacrifice and service of deceased veterans in the My Tributes section. RSL NSW members are invited to submit their story about a fallen comrade, friend, or family member to be published on mytributes.com.au.

Please note that this is a free service offered by The Daily Telegraph to RSL NSW members. RSL NSW is not receiving any payment or benefit in relation to this offer.

What is the Remembrance Day Feature?

To acknowledge Remembrance Day this year, one full-colour obituary will be published in The Daily Telegraph on 11 November, and potentially the Courier Mail, The Advertiser, NT News, or Hobart Mercury.

All obituaries submitted by RSL NSW members will be considered for print publication in the feature and will be published online at mytributes.com.au, on the provision they meet basic editorial guidelines.

What are the editorial guidelines?

The obituary must be about a veteran of the Australian Defence Force who is now deceased and be between 300-1200 words in length.

The My Tributes editors will make minor alterations at their discretion to ensure correct grammar and readability. Rest assured they will endeavour to maintain the integrity and accuracy of your story.

Who is the My Tributes team?

The My Tributes team is behind the obituaries, funeral, and death notices that you read in The Daily Telegraph, local newspapers, and online.

How do I submit my story to the My Tributes team?

Download and complete this form and submit it plus any photographs to [email protected] by the 1st of November. For any queries related to making a submission please contact the submissions email address or phone 0417 468 974.



I have been advised that Frederick ‘Fred’ Steele lost his long battle on Friday 15 October 2021 after nearly 7 months in hospital.

Fred’s funeral will be held at noon this Friday 22 October in Tasmania, but due to the current Tasmanian COVID restrictions, only family will attend.    The Funeral Service is Millingtons Funerals, 25 McIntyre Street Mornington TAS, (03) 6211 4888, if you want more information. 

As usual, condolence messages for Lyn and the family can be sent care-of me at [email protected] and I will send them to Lyn at a respectful time.

Please join with us in offering our deepest sympathy to those who will mourn the passing of a loved one.