Junior combat officers ready for command

PHOTO: Army lieutenants prepare a M1A1 main battle tank during Exercise Gauntlet Strike at Puckapunyal Training Area. Photo by Corporal Dustin Anderson.

The Australian Army’s newest qualified combat arms officers rose to the challenge of command during Exercise Gauntlet Strike

The group of 56 lieutenants were tested on their ability to confidently lead their troops or platoons before they join the trained force in one of Army’s combat brigades.

The exercise was the culmination of the Regimental Officer Basic Course (ROBC) for the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and for the Mechanised Regimental Officer Course (MRCO) for infantry officers to learn manoeuvres in the Army’s armoured personnel carriers.

Exercise Gauntlet Strike replicated a conventional medium to high-intensity operation and was planned and executed by the School of Armour, School of Artillery, School of Military Engineering and School of Infantry under the supervision of the Combined Arms Training Centre.

Officer Commanding B Squadron 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment Major Mark Montague said it was extremely rewarding to watch the trainees put into practice what they had learned.

“Our objective for Gauntlet Strike is to provide the best training possible for the young lieutenants, and to give them the best possible early exposure to the combat team environment,” Major Montague said.

“In the lead-up to this exercise, trainees became proficient at platoon and troop operations and learned the importance of situational awareness, communication and working in the combined combat team environment.

“This is a unique experience for the lieutenants that allows them to put their new found skills into practice and I’m glad that I get to be a part of it.”

Lieutenant Zoe Monck from the School of Armour said that she really enjoyed the course and the progress made during the training.

“We learned a lot of things from individual vehicle manoeuvre to commanding four tanks in a live-fire environment,” Lieutenant Monck said.

“It’s been fantastic seeing my peers and myself starting off knowing absolutely nothing about tanks at the start of the course to being able to command a troop and move confidently into our regiments in the coming weeks.”

Commandant of the Combined Arms Training Centre, Colonel Patrick Davison, said that this exercise provided important combined arms context to Army’s combat arms lieutenants.

“While they are artillery, engineer, armour or infantry officers first, Army expects them to confidently lead teams that can achieve combined arms effects – a combination of army capabilities – to fight and win,” Colonel Davison said.

“Exercise Gauntlet Strike provides excellent exposure to the other combat arms these officers will be working with and tests their ability to plan and execute realistic missions.

“The Combined Arms Training Centre provides world-class training that is purposefully demanding to ensure the next generation of combat leaders is equipped to fight and win under arduous conditions and challenging circumstances.

“Their performance has been outstanding. I’m confident that they can meet the challenges of command and are equipped to face the complexities of warfighting now and into the future.”

The lieutenants who finished ROBC or MROC will move out to the combat brigades to join armoured cavalry regiments, mechanised infantry battalions or combat engineer regiments, to move into a troop leading or platoon command position for one to two years.


Fleet Air Arm celebrates 75th anniversary

By Lieutenant Brendan Trembath

PHOTO: Mayor of the City of Shoalhaven Amanda Findley, left, Maritime Logistics Personnel Leading Seaman Stephanie Hart and Commander Fleet Air Arm Commodore David Frost, cut a cake to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the FAA. Photo: Leading Seaman Ryan Tascas

The Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) hosted a black-tie reception at the FAA Museum in Nowra as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations.

Former Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, local Indigenous Elder Uncle Sonny Simms, Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley and past and present FAA members mingled with other guests on a viewing deck above the museum’s historic collection of Navy planes and helicopters.

Commander Fleet Air Arm Commodore David Frost said the FAA has contributed to Australian Defence Force operations in war and peacetime, including the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

“More recently, it has contributed to humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Fiji and Tonga, and also bushfire and flood relief in eastern Australia,” Commodore Frost said.

“While we reflect on the distinguished service of our naval aviators, I’d also like to express our gratitude for the enduring support we’ve received from the public, in particular the Shoalhaven Community, in which we live and work.”

Mayor Findley said having a big Navy community in Nowra was important.

“We appreciate what it is that you men and women do for our country every single day,” Mayor Findley said.

The FAA was built on the shoulders of accomplished aviators such as Korean War veteran Commodore (retd) Norman Lee, who joined the Navy as a recruit rating pilot in 1948.

“Only claim to fame, 254 Firefly accident-free axial deck landings,” Commodore Lee said.

Commander (retd) Ian Maxwell ‘Max’ Speedy, who joined the Navy as a midshipman in 1962, said his most challenging flying was in the famed Bell UH-1H Iroquois ‘Huey’ in Vietnam.

“I think the remarkable thing is the way we transitioned from essentially sitting out over the ocean in the hover with an anti-submarine mission in mind, to going into a red-hot and steamy landing zone, having people killed and proceeding to do your best to stay alive.”

The retired Commander said the FAA remained a critical arm of the Australian Defence Force.

“Having reached 75 years is a matter of history and the next 75 years will be just as important.”


500-plus drones, extra HIMARS headed to Ukraine in latest U.S. package

By Leo Shane III

The White House will provide 580 Phoenix Ghost drones and five high-mobility artillery rocket systems to Ukraine as part of the latest security package to help in the fight against Russia, officials confirmed Friday.

White House national security council spokesman John Kirby also acknowledged that U.S. officials have begun discussions on potential aircraft acquisition for Ukrainian pilots as part of long-term partnering with America. But he said that work is not likely to produce any short-term changes for Ukraine’s air forces.

“[The White House] is making some preliminary explorations in the feasibility of potentially providing fighter aircraft to the Ukranianas, but it’s not going to be something that they’re going to be able to execute immediately,” he said.

“Integrating and operating any kind of aircraft, especially advanced fighter aircraft, involves complex systems and weapons capabilities, and that’s a difficult Endeavour. So, this is not something that’s going to happen anytime soon.”

But the White House confirmation solidifies comments from senior U.S. Air Force officials earlier this week that they will work with Ukrainian leaders to shift its air force away from legacy Russian MiG and Sukhoi fighters and toward more modern Western-made aircraft.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly said his nation needs more advanced fighters, such as F-15s and F-16s, to counter Russian air forces.

The drones and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, are part of the 16th package of military equipment being sent to Ukraine by the United States. Kirby said altogether the White House has authorized more than $8.2 billion in weapons transfers since the start of fighting in February.

In the coming weeks Ukrainian forces will have access to more than 20 HIMARS, including contributions from Britain and Germany.

The rocket launcher has a range of more than 50 miles and has been hailed by Ukrainian leaders as a key tool in halting Russian attempts to advance further into their country. A senior U.S. military official said the skill of Ukrainian forces in using HIMARS, a wheeled platform, has kept them from being destroyed by Russian forces.

“All of the HIMARS has continued to really be a thorn in the Russian side, and … continue to prosecute [Russian] targets related to command and control, ammunition, logistics, support areas ― all of those having a very significant effect on the Russians’ ability to mount offensive operations,” the official said.

But this week, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that his forces “would need at least 100″ of the long-range weapons systems to sustain an effective counter-offense against advancing Russian forces.


Advice for us oldies

Many of us are between 65 and death.  An old friend sent me this excellent list for aging, and, I have to agree it’s good advice to follow … particularly item 22.

01 – It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for investments, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

02 – Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

03 – Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

04 – Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it together.

05 – Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

06 – Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbour and remember: A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.

07 – Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

08 – Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.

09 – Always stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.

10 – Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.

11 – Never use the phrase In my time. Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.

12 – Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

13 – Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

14 – Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

15 – Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.

16 – Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

17 – Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

18 – If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them. If you’ve offended someone – apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

19 – If you have a strong belief, savour it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

20 – Laugh A Lot. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about? Find the humour in your situation.

21 – Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

22 – And, Remember: Life is too short to drink bad wine!!



Beware of Scams

The DVA is warning veterans to be cautious of potential scammers operating online.

We would like to remind veterans and their families to be vigilant and protect themselves from any incident that may compromise their private or personal information.

If you are a veteran or know someone who is a veteran, please pass on the following tips:

  • If you receive a phone call or letter asking for your DVA client number or banking details, do not provide them. Contact your nearest DVA office to confirm the request is legitimate.
  • Be cautious if you are contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from any government department requesting personal information. Always contact the organisation before responding, using contact details from a trusted source, do not use the contact details provided by the caller.
  • Never give personal details to someone you do not know and trust.
  • Never provide information such as passwords, tax file numbers or bank account details via email links.
  • Do not open suspicious texts or click on links or attachments in emails received from unknown or unexpected sources.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
  • If you think you have provided your DVA number to a scammer, contact the nearest DVA office.

If you, or someone you know, has been approached by someone posing as a DVA representative please contact your nearest DVA office.

If you have shared personal information and believe you may be at risk, you can contact IDCARE, a not-for-profit organisation that provides assistance and support to victims of identity theft and other cybercrime. Visit idcare.org or telephone 1800 595 160.

For additional information about scams, visit scamwatch.gov.au – you can also subscribe to a free alert service to receive updates about the latest scams.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre also provides advice for individuals, a free alert service to help you understand the latest online threats and the ability to report online crimes via the ReportCyber page.


Ukraine Uses French Newest Artillery

Ukraine showed off one of its new French-made self-propelled howitzers, it is the CAESAR 8×8 self-propelled howitzer. Firing toward Russian-controlled areas, Kyiv urges Western countries to provide more military hardware.


The AH-1Z Viper: Most Advanced Attack Helicopter in the World

The AH-1Z Viper is the Marine Corps’ primary rotor-wing ground attack aircraft. The AH-1Z attack helicopter provides rotary wing close air support, anti-armour, armed escort, armed visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities under day night, and adverse weather conditions.

The AH-1Z Vipers are fielded in Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons or HMLAs. Detachments from the HMLAs are deployed as part of Marine Expeditionary Units to support ship-based amphibious exercises and operations.


Bravo Jacinta Price!

On July 1 my term as Senator for the Northern Territory officially began, and already I’m dealing with the left’s woke nonsense.

Rather than focus on solutions for the REAL issues, our new government is more concerned with its own virtue signalling.

Let me make this one clear for the Adam Bandts and Anthony Albaneses of the world: just because someone is Indigenous does not automatically make them marginalised.

I’m tired of the paternalistic and condescending narrative that says that by virtue of lineage, Indigenous Australians are somehow in need of help and incapable of success without the aid of some privileged inner-city lefty.

Simply having Indigenous heritage doesn’t automatically make someone disadvantaged.

In Australia, we have a growing Indigenous middle class, successful people lucky enough to have the advantage of the generous education system, services and employment opportunities that our great nation has to offer ALL Australians.

They’ve done that WITHOUT a constitutional Indigenous “voice” to parliament, they’ve done it WITHOUT a treaty, and they’ve done it WITHOUT any need for some hero-complex lefty’s virtue signalling.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a constitutional “voice” to parliament is redundant. The Australian people have freely elected TEN Indigenous Australians to Federal Parliament.

According to the recent census, Indigenous Australians account for 3.2 per cent of the population – they now make up 4.5 per cent of the Australian Federal Parliament.

You don’t need a constitutionally mandated representation for a group overrepresented in Parliament.

Yes, many of the most marginalised in our country are Aboriginal, but the “gap” is not only between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

It lies between successful Aboriginals and marginalised Aboriginals just as much as it does between successful and marginalised people of ALL backgrounds.

It lies in the more remote Indigenous communities where our nation’s most disadvantaged live, not in the big cities. Out there they’re not concerned with virtue signalling or flag waving, they don’t need smoking ceremonies or acknowledgments of country.

In those communities where English is not the primary language is spoken, where education is not adequate, where jobs are limited and welfare is rife, that’s where the gap is the widest.

And you don’t need a new “voice” to parliament to tell you that.

There are plenty of voices telling us that now, and they’re being ignored by the political elite trying to win woke social points.

Instead of making this about race, instead of virtue signalling for political gain, we need to focus our efforts on the REAL problems, with REAL solutions to improve the lives of marginalised Australians – no matter their background.

We should be focussing on ensuring that ALL Australian children can adequately read, write and speak English to gain an education that leads to employment.

I don’t know how many times I need to call on Australian leaders to focus on the REAL problems, but I’ll continue to do so until they listen – because we need them now.

Yours for REAL solutions,

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
Country Liberal Senator-Elect for NT