1st Australian Task Force 1967 to 1969 – Vietnam War.

Covers the work of the units supporting the Australian infantry battalions in Vietnam. Shows 105mm Howitzers of the artillery; Centurion tanks and M113 Armoured personnel carriers; Cessna fixed wing spotter aircraft and Sioux observation helicopters marking targets; signallers using various types of communications equipment in the field; the establishment of an artillery Fire Support Base; Bushranger gunships of 9 Squadron RAAF in action firing rockets and machine guns, the work of intelligence units; destruction of Viet Cong tunnels by the engineers; resupply of units in the field; tanks and APCs supporting 5 RAR the battle of Binh Ba; a cordon and search of a Vietnamese village; winning the hearts and minds through the Civic Aid program; road building; repair of a bridge blown up by the Viet Cong.

VALE: 1732643 John (Flags) Cornelius TOOHEY – 4RAR

John Cunnington has advised that John (Flags) Toohey has passed away at 8.08 PM on the 20th of May after a long and courageous battle against cancer.

His funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church Goondiwindi at 11.30 AM on Tuesday the 30th of May.

Flags was a member of 4 Platoon B Coy. first tour.

Condolences can be sent to:

Mrs. Gail Toohey,

16 Hilderson Street,

Goondiwindi 4390


Wendy M McLean


Pacific soldiers see more joint exercises, tech than ever before.

By Todd South

The most junior soldiers serving in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command train in more exotic locales and use more futuristic tech in their first assignments than even greying sergeants majors saw over decades-long careers.

That’s the distillation of remarks from a panel of highly placed senior noncommissioned officers in the Army who spoke on May 16 at the annual Association of the U.S. Army Land Forces Pacific Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The combination of putting junior soldiers and NCOs into a variety of exercises, the main thrust being the annual Pacific Pathways exercises, and handing them new technologies, from communications equipment to new drone and strike capabilities, continues to grow.

The program began in 2014 under then-Gen. Vincent Brooks, U.S. Army Pacific commander during the U.S. strategic “pivot” from U.S. Central Command-based operations to an Asia-focused effort. That effort was focused on moving the service away from training for the types of operations that were ubiquitous in Iraq and Afghanistan — such as striking terrorist leaders or talking with tribal elders — and toward the sorts of missions they may face in a large-scale conventional conflict, which ran range from targeting enemy ships with sophisticated drone-sensor combos to detecting social media chatter aimed planting disinformation in an ally’s elections.

What started with a brigade or less in a handful of Pacific nations for a few weeks or more has grown significantly.

In 2018, then Gen. Robert Brown announced the program would see longer duration deployments, running four to six months. That “Pacific Pathways 2.0″ version began with emplacing soldiers for a four-month rotation in Thailand, the Philippines and Palau in 2019.

Beyond the training, soldiers now have some of the new technology, such as the first long-range hypersonic weapon fielded to the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington earlier this year, due largely to modernization work that’s spanned everything from new field uniforms to missiles and pocket-sized “Black Hornet” drones, in recent years.

Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn F. Carns, the senior enlisted NCO for I Corps, which oversees Army units in the Pacific and the Pacific Pathways military exercise program out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, spoke candidly about his own Army experience regarding joint and partner exercises.

“I never got that opportunity until I was a sergeant major,” Carns said.

It wasn’t until he served on separate assignments, one with Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras and the other with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa that he had a true multinational, joint mission experience.

“I didn’t understand joint,” Carns said.

But he’s seeing that change at the lowest echelons within his own unit, I Corps.

“Now we are getting that experience to the soldier, that private, just coming out of (Advanced Individual Training) and he or she a couple of months later going over to Singapore, going over to Australia, going over to Indonesia and doing some of these exercises that are joint and multinational,” he said.

U.S. Navy Fleet Master Chief David Isom, the senior enlisted leader at INDOPACOM, had a similar observation in the same panel.

“I see NCOs strengthening our posture and building those relationships every day across the theatre and it’s fantastic,” Isom said.

A real-world example came in a separate panel, held on May 18 on training for future warfare.

In that panel, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, commanding general of the Philippine Army, told the audience that when his country, which has been in the crosshairs of Chinese military provocations and influences operations in recent years, saw what was happening in Ukraine.

“We saw in the Ukraine-Russia conflict how effective Stingers and Javelins are when it comes to this type of land warfare,” Brawner said.

The Stinger missile is a man-portable air defence system, capable of firing from helicopters, ground vehicles and by individual users. With its infrared-homing system, it is primarily used to destroy aerial targets.

The Javelin is a surface-to-air missile that can also be vehicle-mounted or shoulder-fired, carrying three rounds. A user can fire up to two missiles a minute and the system can be used against armoured targets.

Once Brawner and his colleagues saw the successes Ukrainian forces were having with these weapons, he said they requested training from the United States, even though the Philippines doesn’t have the weapon, yet.

“We want our soldiers to be able to use these weapons systems in case there is a need for us to use this weapon system even if they are not yet in our inventory,” Brawner said.

While the Stinger and Javelin are older than many of the soldiers now firing them, new tech is making its way into nearly every training exercise, officials said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hester, the senior enlisted at Army Futures Command, said in the panel that the service has ramped up its “soldier touch points” in the development of all new gear. Those touchpoints pair soldiers, often in field settings, with scientists and engineers developing the tech to get real-world feedback as experts design the material before fielding.

Hester said the “end user feedback” helps developers understand what doesn’t work right, fit right or integrate with the existing kit a soldier must use.

In fiscal 2022 futures command held 200 soldier touchpoints, he said.

There are 250 such touchpoints that have either already happened or are scheduled for this fiscal year, he said.

Half of those integrated into current military exercises, Hester said.




Sadly, we have been informed that James (Jim) HUSBAND, BEM, OAM, passed away at 4.30pm Sunday 21 May 2023 in Coolum.

Jim was the 5th RSM 6 RAR and a Korean (2 RAR 1953) & Vietnam Veteran (AATTV 1964/65 and 7 RAR 1970/71).

Funeral information is as follows:

  • Monday 29th May – 1300
  • Viewing from 1215 -1230
  • At St Peters Catholic Church, 28 Elizabeth St, Coolum Beach Qld 4573, (07) 5443 3488
  • Wake to be held afterwards at the Coolum Beach Bowls Club, 7-13 Elizabeth St, Coolum Beach QLD 4573,  (07) 5446 1153, only a short walk away.
  • Live Stream – details to be advised.

Please join with us in offering our deepest sympathy to those who will mourn the passing of a loved one.  Another 6 RAR family member, taken too soon.


New resource for ADF and Veteran carers!

Do you provide care for a friend or family member in the ADF or a veteran? Or are you a current or former member who cares for a friend or family member?

You can get help through the new Defence and Veteran Carers Network. Run by Carers Australia with funding from the Department of Defence, it provides support, resources, and an advocacy platform specifically for Defence carers.

Carers Australia is also collecting stories of Defence and veteran carers to help raise awareness of their important role and unique challenges.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/43F0Rva

New B-21 Bomber Will Fly Unmanned Missions & Control Drones

The question of pilotless fighter jets has been around and extensively demonstrated for years

By Kris Osborn, President, Centre for Military Modernization

Several years ago, Air Force weapons developers made clear that the B-21 will be engineered for both manned and unmanned missions, and more recently service leaders have said the B-21 will likely control drones from the air.

An Unmanned Future?

These are important and well-known developments, as autonomy, AI-enabled dogfighting, and unmanned combat has long been in development with the Pentagon.

Years ago, former Navy Secretary Ray Maybus said it seems likely the F-35C will be the last manned fighter ever to exist. This is more than likely not the case, yet few would question the growing significance of unmanned systems for survivability, forward surveillance, and even precision weapons attacks when controlled by a human.

We are already seeing the more likely scenario, which is that drones and unmanned systems will increasingly be controlled in large numbers from the air, something that massively reduces latency, streamlines operations, and greatly widens the mission envelope.

The question of pilotless fighter jets has been around and extensively demonstrated for years. The concept of an unmanned bomber seems to make even more sense, particularly if the actual bomb dropping and lethal decision-making is still made remotely by humans. Bombers do not need to manoeuvre or dogfight like a fighter jet, so wouldn’t there be even more of a rationale to move toward unmanned bombers?

Remote drone attacks have been successful for years in Iraq and Afghanistan as they have enabled precision attacks yet retained humans in a key command and control capacity, making decisions about lethal force.

Computing, satellites, and targeting technology clearly seem to make this possible, so could one envision a scenario wherein a B-21 was to drop bombs over enemy territory while being controlled half a world away by ground-based pilots? This has been the case with drones, yet in the case of a bomber the question of technological reliability becomes even more pressing.

What if an AI-enabled sensor found a false positive or came across something not in its database? Are sensors always 100 percent reliable? Particularly when it comes to a need to integrate new intelligence or targeting specifics during a mission.

Human decision-making simply cannot be replicated in all its nuances by computers, and may not be anytime soon, so there is doubtless a strong argument to ensure that bombers at least retain the ability to be flown by human pilots.

However, should there be confirmed and clearly identified targets that have been established without question, a stealth bomber flying at high altitudes in a linear fashion to drop ordnance may well benefit from being unmanned. This would be particularly true in a high-threat environment wherein stealth aircraft might be detected by advanced enemy sensors, radar, and air defences.

Finally, there is the key question of nuclear weapons. Even if computer systems were shown to be reliable and less prone to human error, would anyone want a nuclear attack ultimately performed by a machine operating in a warzone? The gravity and potential implications of that kind of decision strike me as far too intense to be performed or even fully executed by machines – without carefully considered, deliberate, human control.

Hard yakka for 3 Brigade on Ex Brolga Run

Posted by Brian Hartigan

More than 1500 infantry, combat engineer, artillery and enabling soldiers, and more than 200 military vehicles from 3rd Brigade deployed to the Townsville Field Training Area in late April to conduct combined-arms training against a simulated enemy.

CAPTIONAustralian Army soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, conduct an assault on their enemy’s main defensive position during Exercise Brolga Run 23 at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. Story by Captain Joanne Leca. Photo by Lance Corporal Riley Blennerhassett.

The exercise also involved stability, security and evacuation operations against a simulated insurgency in Ingham, Queensland.

This is the second major training exercise for the Brigade this year, preparing for Exercise Talisman Sabre with partner forces in July.

Commander 3rd Brigade Brigadier David McCammon said soldiers from all units had worked hard over two weeks.

“Our soldiers worked up to 48 hours straight with constant attacks from the simulated enemy,” Brigadier McCammon said.

“This is deliberate as it adds a level of complexity, testing how our soldiers operate under significant strain as an individual and if they can work together as a team to achieve a tactical outcome.

“It amazes me the level of initiative and ingenuity we’ve seen from soldiers at every level.


Photo: Private Tyson Woods, 3RAR, listens to directions during an assault. Photo by LCpl Riley Blennerhassett.

“Talisman Sabre will be a great opportunity to put those skills that we’ve learnt over the past two weeks to the test against our friends down in Brisbane.”

Exercise Brolga Run was designed to test the ability of 3rd Brigade’s designated ready battle group, predominantly from 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), to respond to a range of combat operations.

During the exercise, soldiers conducted assaults on different environments, such as established trenches and the urban operations training facility, which involved a simulated engagement of military forces from 3RAR and 1RAR.

Lieutenant Darcy Anderson, a platoon commander from 3RAR, said Exercise Brolga Run had given him a greater understanding of the big picture and how a battle group could make a difference in a fight.

“On exercises like this we can work with other units, each with their own strengths, to form effective battle groups, preparing to operate in a multi-domain contested environment,” Lieutenant Anderson said.

“This is my second exercise within this platoon, and it gave us the opportunity to figure out how we can improve.

“We’re pretty tired, we’ve had a lot of long days and nights, but we’ll always go the extra mile to get the job done.”




Army Reserve soldier foundation training reduced to just three weeks.

The Australian Army’s 2nd Division is making training more accommodating in an effort to streamline recruit training.

Photo: Australian Army soldier Private Paula Pires, from 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, during Exercise Waratah Run at Singleton, NSW. Story and photo by Corporal Jacob Joseph.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Carter, Headquarters 2nd Division, said training needed to be flexible to reduce the recruit and ab-initio training attrition rate, which historically resulted in as many as 40 per cent of people not completing their training.

He said the role of the 2nd Division had evolved considerably in recent years and the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) reinforced its “clarity of purpose”.

Army senior leadership recently approved changes to the Army SERCAT [service category] 5 Initial Foundation Training Continuum to address the attrition rate, including reducing the five-week 1st Recruit Training Battalion recruit course to three weeks for all SERCAT 5 general entry soldiers.

Lieutenant Colonel Carter said training must provide the “agility and scalability” to support the workforce and enable 2nd Division preparedness for domestic and homeland security operations.

“We’ve created shorter training blocks, put flexibility into the system for people to off-ramp at certain points, and take ownership of their individual training through use of the electronic Competency Management Tool, which is current being trialled,” Lieutenant Colonel Carter said.

Once soldiers complete recruit training, they could be immediately deployed on domestic support operations like COVID-19 Assist, and to support flood and fire events.

Combat corps then complete a two-week land-combat module which gives them the skills they need to deploy on homeland security operations.

In the future, trade initial employment training should be modulated, exportable and completed under on-the-job conditions as much as practicable, supported by the electronic Competency Management Tool, which will give ownership of training progression to the individual soldier.

“They can then say to their section commander, ‘when are we next going to throw grenades or do section attacks? Because I want to come along and learn those skills and satisfy that proficiency’,” Lieutenant Colonel Carter said.

“The standard SERCAT 5 soldier doesn’t have the time to do five weeks and then another three weeks, and then another three weeks residential training – their employers won’t release them for such a long time, on top of the family pressures that many people are also trying to balance.

“We have a collection of amazing people contributing to our workforce and we’re making it easier for them to serve because we’re getting smarter about how we enable their training.”

One such person is Private Paula Pires, the daughter of a Brazilian paratrooper, who you could say prepared for Kapooka her whole life.

“Growing up, I hated the military,” Private Pires said.

“Every weekend, Dad would flip our rooms upside down and make us reorganise everything.

“Then I went to Kapooka and it made me feel like I was home — I loved it.”

While Kapooka makes some question their choices, the infantry reservist went the other way and asked to go full-time.

Instead, she was offered a position in the Reserve Accelerated Training Scheme (RATS), a program that can take a reservist from recruit school to private proficient in six months, and provide a lived experience that complements their training.

It’s a process that usually takes years.

Next month, Private Pires and 21 others will be the first to finish at the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.

While it may be easier than ever for people juggling civilian life and service, soldiers like Private Pires are going all in.

But when you grow up in a military family with a chin-up bar in your room, it was likely a foregone conclusion.

“I thought it would be a great idea to do RATS for six months to see whether I like full-time Army life,” Private Pires said.

“I was recently accepted for another CFTS (continuous full-time service) contract for six months.

“Once that ends, I’m going to transfer to ARA (Australian regular army).”




Photo: Artist’s impression of the proposed Museum.

“Over the last five years, the NVVM has spent considerable time and over $1m to design a museum which received unanimous local council approval.

We are extremely disappointed with the VCAT decision to reject our proposed development, but we do accept their decision in accordance with the rule of law.

We now need to consider the options available to us, but we do so acknowledging that time is of the essence as our Veterans age and pass as each year goes by.

We want to get this done so our Vietnam Veterans can see in their lifetime, suitable recognition for their service and sacrifice, which will leave a legacy for future generations.

The National Vietnam Veterans Museum has a collection of over 40,000 objects donated and collected from Veterans and their families over a period of 25 years and the collection needs to be housed in fit for purpose facilities to ensure its preservation and presentation to the public.

The Veterans and volunteers who have assembled and built this museum are a resilient bunch and whilst this may well be a speed bump it is by no means a roadblock.

In recent years there has been a growing movement to recognize and honour the service of Australian Vietnam Veterans and we can probably all agree, that in the fighting spirit of our Vietnam Veterans, we will endeavour to find a way to build our new museum.”