Vale – 53387 Petrus ‘Peter’ De Jong – RAEME

The Association regrets to advise the Passing of Petrus (Peter) De Jong, (RAEME) aged 81 years, on Sunday 18 September 2022.

Peter was a Recovery Mechanic and served with 1st Armoured Squadron Workshop and then C Squadron Section 1 Armoured Regiment LAD from February 1968 to December 1968 in Vietnam.

Peter was a highly respected member of the Australian Army, the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the 1st Armoured Regiment.

May he Rest in Peace

Barry Shipway (Welfare Rep)

Vale Brigadier (Rtd) Lawrence (Laurie) John Lewis AM, MID. – 9RAR

It is my sad duty to advise you of the death today (12/9) of Laurie Lewis, Retired Brigadier and Officer Commanding C Company, 9 RAR during the Battalions tour of duty in Vietnam.

In addition to his military service Laurie was the former Chair of the Repatriation and General Hospital Board and Veteran’s Advisory Council.

His  funeral service will be held at Berry Funerals

198-204 Magill Road, Norwood SA 5067

1300 hrs. Tuesday 27th September 2022.

The service will be live streamed for those unable to attend on the link below

At the completion of the service there will be a “wake” to celebrate Laurie’s life at the:

Maylands Hotel

67 Phillis Street, Maylands SA 5069

Rest in Peace Laurie. Your Duty is Done

“Lest We Forget”

Michael von Berg MC OAM

President RARA-SA




29 June 1947 – 18 Sept 2022

It is with sadness that I have been advised by Brian Fitzpatrick of Tasmania that “ROBERT HENRY PEEBLES” passed away on Saturday the 18th of September 2022. His Funeral is at 1.30pm on Friday 23rd September 2022 at Preston Community Centre 325 South Preston Rd Preston Tas.

Live stream at

Wendy M McLean


Vale 2792419 Jeffrey Ronald Bassford – RAA

We have received advice of the death recently of Jeffrey Ronald Bassford. He was 73. Jeffrey was a National Serviceman who served in Vietnam with the Detachment, 131 Divisional Locating Battery from April 1970 until April 1971. No other details are known at this stage.

RIP Jeffrey Ronald Bassford.

Peter Bruce, OAM

Obituary Resource Officer

Flogging a dead horse

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians passed on from generation to generation, says that –
“When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”     

However, in government, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1.   Buying a stronger whip.

2.   Changing riders.

3. Appoint a committee to study the horse.

4. Arrange to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5.   Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6.   Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7.   Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8.   Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9.   Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

10.  Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11.  Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12.  Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course….
13   Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

I’m taking a break

Today will be my last post for the next two weeks, Julie & I are off to the Cook Islands returning on the 21st Sept. We booked this trip back in 2019 for 2020, we all know what happened then. We have three other trips that are carryovers and are now banking up on us. Normally when we go away I can still post, but this trip I won’t be able to post at all … so you all get a break too.

You can help me out by holding off sending any emails, otherwise, I’ll come home to many hundreds, thanks heaps.

We will be thinking of you all as we swim up to the bar.



Peacekeepers recognised with commemorative service marking 75 years

A national commemorative service will be held in Canberra on 14 September, recognising the 75th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in peacekeeping operations.

In 1947, Australians were part of the first group of United Nations military observers anywhere in the world, and were sent to the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). Since that time, Australian peacekeepers have served in locations around the world, from the Middle East to Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and many more.

More than 66,000 Australian men and women have served in more than 50 international peacekeeping operations since 1947; tragically 16 have lost their lives.

The commemorative service on 14 September is an opportunity for Australians to honour the service and sacrifice of all of Australia’s military, police and civilian peacekeepers.

Service details:

Time:           10am pre-service program, 10.30am national commemorative service
Date:            Wednesday 14 September
Location:     Australian Peacekeeping Memorial
Anzac Parade

All veterans, families and the general public are welcome to attend the service.

Vietnam War Bombing Runs Over Khe Sanh | 1968 | US Air Force Documentary

Lasting 77 days, the siege of Khe Sanh saw American and South Vietnamese forces suffer. In the end, there were 703 killed, 2,642 wounded, and 7 missing. PAVN losses are not known with accuracy but are estimated at between 10,000 to 15,000 dead and wounded. Following the battle, Lownds’ men were relieved and Westmoreland ordered the base occupied until he left Vietnam in June. His successor, General Creighton Abrams, did not believe that retaining Khe Sanh was necessary. He ordered the base destroyed and abandoned later that month. This decision earned the ire of the American press, who questioned why Khe Sanh had to be defended in January but was no longer needed in July. Abrams’ response was that the then-current military situation no longer dictated that it be held. To this day, it is unclear whether PAVN leadership in Hanoi intended to fight a decisive battle at Khe Sanh, or if operations in the area were meant to distract Westmoreland in the weeks before the Tet Offensive.

Australia, Timor-Leste finalise reciprocal defence deal

The Pacific partners have agreed to ramp-up joint military engagement in the region.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced the signing of a reciprocal Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with Timor-Leste.

The status of forces agreement outlines the reciprocal protections, responsibilities and privileges granted to Australian and Timor-Leste military personnel in each of their respective territories.

This is expected to support a ramp-up in defence and security cooperation, particularly across the maritime domain, while also enhancing interoperability through joint exercises and training, and cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).

The deal — signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles and his counterpart Brigadier General Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus — was struck following a meeting between Prime Minister Albanese and President of Timor-Leste, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta.

President Ramos-Horta met with Prime Minister Albanese as part of a broader diplomatic visit to Australia, hosted by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor-General of Australia.

Prime Minister Albanese and President Ramos-Horta also discussed shared challenges across security, economic cooperation, labour mobility and skills, and the green economy.

Australia also reaffirmed support for Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership bid.

“Australia and Timor-Leste share a special relationship as neighbours with a shared history and deep ties,” Prime Minister Albanese said.

“We have been working towards a DCA for over a decade and today’s signing is a significant step forward in our partnership.

“I was pleased to meet with President Ramos-Horta to discuss how we can strengthen cooperation, including Australia’s continued support for Timor-Leste’s development.”

Reflecting on the DCA, Deputy Prime Minister Marles said the deal “heralds a new chapter” in the bilateral relationship.

“We are neighbours with a shared maritime domain, namely the Timor Sea,” he added.

“I look forward to seeing how the DCA will help enable joint maritime patrols between Australia and Timor-Leste.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong said the DCA underscores Australia commitments to fostering peace and stability in the region through stronger ties with Pacific partners.

“As a close friend and neighbour, Australia is committed to supporting Timor-Leste’s security and sovereignty, including through our enduring defence cooperation,” she said.

“Australia welcomes this DCA and the opportunity it provides to deepen our close defence and security partnership with Timor-Leste.

“This is a key milestone as we continue working together to maintain a stable, prosperous region.”

Defence Connect


US Air Force faces key questions for next-gen fighters’ drone wingmen


The US Air Force hopes to develop and field autonomous combat drones that would augment piloted fighters “in the mid to late 2020s,” Andrew Hunter, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, said in August.

WASHINGTON — Over the past year, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has made it clear that “Loyal Wingman”-style combat drones, partnered with stealth fighters like the F-35 or its yet-to-be-revealed sixth-generation fighter, will be a key element of the service’s future tactical aircraft inventory.

Kendall’s vision is that pilots of aircraft such as the sixth-gen Next Generation Air Dominance fighter, F-35 and F-22 would be able to command one to five drones, “calling plays” that the drones would then be able to accomplish autonomously — although the decision to use a weapon will still fall to human operators.

But big questions still remain: Will the service begin what Kendall has called a “Collaborative Combat Aircraft” program of record in the upcoming fiscal 2024 budget? How many types of drones will it seek to procure? And what role will these novel aircraft play on future battlefields?

As the Air Force delineates the technologies that will make up its Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems — which is known to include a suite of CCA drones along with a manned, sixth generation fighter and the AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile currently under development — its leadership is also drilling down on a strategy to rapidly develop and field CCA drones “in the mid to late 2020s,” Andrew Hunter, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, said in August.

However, there’s an ever-important caveat: the size of the defence budget.

“We are resource-constrained, and we are focused very much on capability,” Hunter said. “So we can’t afford to do four different kinds [of aircraft] where none of which actually develops into an operational capability.”