Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

Public registration now open for Hearing Block 6 – Hobart

In Hearing Block 6 the Royal Commission will call witnesses with expertise or experience in suicide prevention, the wellbeing of children and families, recruitment, and the Defence and veteran communities in Tasmania. The Royal Commission will also hear from people with lived experience and representatives from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Community members are invited to register their attendance for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide’s sixth Hearing Block on EventBrite.

These hearings are open to the public and will also be livestreamed from the Royal Commission’s website.

Anyone planning to attend the public hearing can pre-register. It is not compulsory to register but it does help us to ensure the event is COVID safe and that there is enough support staff available.


Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide – Hobart Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite


Hearing Block 6 will be held at the Wrest Point Hotel from the 1 August 2022.

Please be aware that these hearings may contain material and images that are triggering for some people. The public nature of the hearings also means that there may be people in military uniform, as well as military service providers in attendance.

For further updates from the Royal Commission, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Vale: Michael Lindsay AUSTIN-RAA

We have received advice of the death on 17 July 2022 of Michael (Mick) Austin. He was 74. Mick served with HQ Battery 12th Field Regiment, RAA in South Vietnam as a Bombardier from April 1968 until April 1969. Mick had fought a long battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme Grade 4 over the past 20 months. He was amazing during his treatment continuing to walk 5-7 kms each day and playing hours of table tennis at senior citizens.

RIP Michael Austin.

Peter Bruce

Obituary Resource Officer


Vale: James (Jimmy) Alex CLEMENTS – RAA

We received advice of the death on Friday 8 July 2022 of Jimmy Clements. Jim was a career soldier and served as a gun sergeant with 106th Battery, 4th Field Regiment in South Vietnam from February 1970 until 1971. Jim had been suffering from Lewy Dementia for over 2 years (which is dementia with Parkinson’s type symptoms as well) and had many falls.  He fell over again a few weeks ago and sustained a head/neck injury which he never really recovered from.  He died on his own terms, refusing to eat and drink at Murdoch Hospice with his daughter by his side.  She had been staying with him overnight whilst his wife Joan would spend the days with him, so he always had someone with him.

Messages of condolences may be passed to me, and I will collate and forward to his widow Joan, daughter Joanne and son Steven.

RIP James Alex Clements.

Peter Bruce

Obituary Resource Officer

Malaya during the Emergency.

This short documentary, filmed for Defence Public Relations, provides an interesting overview, in colour, of Australian personnel operating in Malaya during the Emergency.


By Hannah Dowling

The F/A-18 Classic Hornet was “brilliant fun” to fly, according to Wing Commander Tim Ireland, Commanding Officer of No. 77 Squadron, who spent over 15 years of his RAAF career flying the fighter.

Speaking of his time as a Classic Hornet pilot, and in honour of the retirement of the iconic aircraft, WGCDR Ireland said, “The Hornet was renowned for its slow-speed handling in a dog fight.

“It was brilliant fun to manoeuvre as it provided you a good feel and sensory feedback in the cockpit. I loved the way you could rapidly build angle of attack, or nose rotation, while still handling the jet in complete control.

“This meant you could turn tightly, skidding across the sky, and bring the gun to bear against your enemy.”

WGCDR Ireland first climbed the ladder of a Hornet as a 24-year-old in 2005, as a “bograt” in 75 Squadron out of RAAF Base Tindall.

“My final Hornet tour was as Executive Officer 75 Squadron in Tindal again, and it was during this time I deployed twice to the Middle East region flying over 50 combat missions,” he said.

“So in many ways, I find it hard to separate my Classic Hornet years from my experiences in both the Northern Territory and the Middle East.”

“To me, the Classic was a pure passion that I was lucky to enjoy with my closest mates,” he added.

Like many F-18 pilots, WGCDR Ireland has moved on to today fly the F-35A Lightning II.

After over three decades of service, the Australian Defence Force officially retired its fleet of single-seat F/A-18A and two-seat F/A-18B Classic Hornets in November.

Since first entering into service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 1986, Air Force has welcomed 75 Classic Hornets, operated by No. 75 Squadron at RAAF Base Tindal, and No. 3 and 77 Squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown.

In its 35 years of service, the Classic Hornet multi-role fighter fleet has completed more than 400,000 flight hours across thousands of missions.


Bushmaster upgrades approved

By: Charbel Kadib

The Commonwealth government has approved an upgrade of the Australian Army’s existing fleet of Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles as part of the $75 million Land Force Level Electronic Warfare Project.

The project, which forms part of Project Land 555 Phase 6, involves integrating the vehicles with electronic warfare (EW) systems, designed to enable monitoring, and controlling of the electronic environment while also undermining the electronic systems of adversaries.

Local industry is expected to help supply material, and deliver training and maintenance support, with the project tipped to generate $46 million for Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base.

“The government is committed to increasing the ADF’s ability to operate and fight in complex electromagnetic environments,” Minister Conroy said.

“This new capability will give our Land Force a better range of options to continue to pursue our interests in our region and deter, defeat and deny attacks and threats against Australia.

“The project will complement air and maritime force level electronic warfare systems, further enhancing these capabilities when deployed in combination as a Joint Force.”

The Bushmaster is billed as an 11-tonne, 4×4 protected vehicle with a four-tonne payload, designed to perform across a range of mission profiles.

The platform has several variants, which include troop carrier, command, patrol, support, weapons deployment and ambulance functions.

The Bushmasters can reportedly carry 10 personnel, supported by blast and ballistic protection and off-road mobility.

The vehicles are in service with several countries on four continents, including Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Ukrainian armed forces have also accepted Bushmasters into service to support their resistance to Russian aggression.

Earlier this month, the Commonwealth government committed $99.5 million in additional military assistance to Ukraine, including the delivery of 20 Bushmaster vehicles.

These were in addition to the vehicles pledged by former prime minister Scott Morrison ahead of the federal election — taking Australia’s total contribution of Bushmasters to 60.


Battle of Kapyong

The Australians were part of a force that was defending the Kapyong Valley, some 56 km north of Seoul, during April 1951. A human sea (of Chinese troops) descended on the UN line which forced the South Korean and American units to retreat past the line partly held by the Australians. By 10 pm on April 23rd, the Australian 27th and 29th Brigades were facing the Chinese 118 division.

By midnight, the battle was in full rage. Wave after wave of Chinese soldiers flung themselves at the Australian defenders. The Chinese bugles rang through the night and into the day; with each new screeching, another wave of sacrifices was offered by the Chinese troops. Few survived and the battlefield was cluttered with a sea of drab grey corpses.

The Australians were ordered to retreat late in the day of April 24th. Then it was the Canadians’ turn to feel the fury of the Chinese attack. They defended stoutly and eventually the Chinese assault collapsed.

The ANZAC spirit was alive and well; the 3rd Battalion had remained true to the legend. When others had retreated before an imposing enemy, the Australians stood their ground and defended their position. In doing so, they prevented a massive breakthrough from occurring that would certainly have seen the enemy recapture Seoul and with it, thousands of UN troops.

By the time the Australians were withdrawn from the battle, the UN forces had secured a strong defensive position to the rear of where the Australians had been fighting. Such courage and devotion to duty did not go unnoticed and the 3rd Battalion was awarded a US Presidential Citation.

This is similar to a unit VC, and it further enhanced the Australians’ great fighting spirit.

Long Son Incident – Vietnam

Below is a request from Gary Burgess, if you can assist him with his request please contact Gary at [email protected]


Evening Ray, I am wondering if there is anyone on your network that knows anything about 106 Field Workshops RAEME and 106 Stores Section being deployed to Long Son Island in April 1970 (Long Son incident).

Thanks in advance mate, Gary.

ADF veterans complete cyber training program

Defence Connect.

The first wave of veterans has graduated from the institute’s new cyber security training course.

Global cyber security training and certifications provider SANS Institute has announced the inaugural class of graduates from its Veteran Cyber Academy during a ceremony at The Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The 16-week program — designed for Australian veterans with minimal cyber security experience — involved practical simulations and team exercises to develop veterans’ cyber security knowledge and skills.

The program aims to serve as a pathway for new career opportunities beyond the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Participants graduate with three industry-recognised certifications from the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) — GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT), GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), and GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH).

“SANS is focused on providing practical – yet technical – hands-on cybersecurity training to individuals and organisations,” Steven Armitage, country manager for Australia at SANS Institute said.

“The Veteran Cyber Academy’s objective was to reskill Australian veterans and provide them with opportunities to re-enter the workforce, after they’ve moved on from the ADF.

“This also helps to support and empower Australian veterans, which has never been more important than it is today.”

Armitage went on to laud the achievements of the inaugural cohort.

“These students have shown an incredible level of high achievement with GFACT exam scores averaging at 87 per cent and the highest score being 97 per cent, well above the industry norm,” he added.

Graduates have already secured work with the Securus Consulting Group and Bluerydge — official partners of the academy.

Other graduates are currently applying for cyber security positions with Telstra, Fortescue Metals, and the Australian Signals Directorate.

The program is also supported by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), Atlassian, Department of Premier and Cabinet, WA Police, and Woolworths.

Royal Australian Navy veteran Jose Hernandez noted the benefits of building new skills for a career transition via the Veteran Cyber Academy.

“Stepping out of this role, I recognised the value of having a multifaceted skillset that opens the door for my next position in an exciting and challenging industry,” Hernandez said.

“By graduating from the academy, I’ve laid the foundation to begin my cybersecurity career as an ICT security consultant with Securus, a key IT security partner for Defence and other government agencies.

“I am confident in what will come next in my career as I venture in the next professional chapter.”

Patrick Campbell-Dunn, managing director at Securus added: “Through the academy, Securus was able to fill a critical cyber security capability gap in its team supporting Defence.

“Our newest recruit has been trained by the best in the industry and not only demonstrates aptitude, integrity, determination, and passion, but also brings valuable life experience underpinned by his SANS studies – all of which are key to a high performing cybersecurity team.”


Russia is preparing for next stage of offensive


Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official says, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in “all operational areas”.

As Western deliveries of long-range arms begin to help Ukraine on the battlefield, Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days.

“It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea,” Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said on Saturday.

“We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.

“Clearly preparations are now under way for the next stage of the offensive.”

The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping units for an offensive toward Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.

The British defence ministry said on Sunday that Russia was also reinforcing defences across areas it occupies in southern Ukraine after pressure from Ukrainian forces and pledges from Ukrainian leaders to force Russia out.

Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in Russian shelling of urban areas since Thursday as the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 intensifies.

Rockets hit the north-eastern town of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv region on Friday night, killing three people including a 70-year-old woman and wounding three others, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

“Three people lost their lives, why? What for? Because Putin went mad?” said Raisa Shapoval, 83, a distraught resident sitting in the ruins of her home.

To the south, more than 50 Russian Grad rockets pounded the city of Nikopol on the Dnipro River, killing two people who were found in the rubble, said Governor Valentyn Reznichenko.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was continuing to sow grief and death on Ukrainian soil eight years on from the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine by what international investigators have said was a Russian surface-to-air missile likely fired by Russian-backed militia in the region.

“But nothing will go unpunished!” he said. “Every criminal will be brought to justice!”

Moscow, which calls the invasion a “special military operation” to demilitarise its neighbour and root out nationalists, says it uses high-precision weapons to degrade Ukraine’s military infrastructure and protect its own security.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians.

Kyiv and the West say the conflict is an unprovoked attempt to reconquer a country that broke free of Moscow’s rule with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered military units to intensify operations to prevent Ukrainian strikes on eastern Ukraine and other areas held by Russia, where he said Kyiv could hit civilian infrastructure or residents, according to a statement from the ministry.

His remarks appeared to be a direct response to what Kyiv says is a string of successful strikes carried out on 30 Russian logistics and ammunition hubs, using several multiple launch rocket systems recently supplied by the West.

The strikes are causing havoc with Russian supply lines and have significantly reduced Russia’s offensive capability, Ukraine’s defence ministry spokesperson said on Friday.