LOOKING FOR: 39352 Richard Graham Jones – 5RAR Vietnam

Good morning, Ray,

I am trying to locate a former soldier from 5 RAR who served in Vietnam.   The situation is… I am on a Vietnam Facebook Page and an American Vietnam veteran has asked me if I could locate this bloke.   They are old mates but have lost contact with each other.   I told him I would make some enquiries, and I have done that with the 5RAR Facebook page but have had no response from them at all.

Is Veteranweb the platform to put the request out?   Happy to receive any replies on my email address [email protected] and I will pass them on to the enquirer from the U.S.

For all I know Richard may now have passed on, but if anyone knows him or any other contact details it would be appreciated.

If you wouldn’t mind letting me know your thoughts, please.

Regards,

Niko

(Ian Nichols)

[email protected]

 

If you can help contact Niko direct, please.

Richard Jones was a Corporal and served from 28/01/1969 till 4/03/1970

Our Sacred Flag Is Not For Sale

From George Mansford:

I often wonder why we are no longer a lucky country and the reasons have been staring me in the face for some time and yet I refused to accept the stark reality of it all. …

We keep giving power to morons who are only concerned with their own egos. Brandt’s tantrums and traitorous behaviour toward the people he should be serving are totally unacceptable.

No doubt here there is much activity in a very dark room where political correctness and woke are breeding

Luv al all or at least most of you

George

 

 

 Our Sacred Flag Is Not For Sale   

 

Our proud flag was with life long before me and you  

Some who speak poorly of our beacon wish it a quick adieu  

While we, a mute majority, would weep in sorrow 

Our heads drooped in shame in all our tomorrows

Oh, such betrayal by political chameleons so sly

Hidden agendas, masked by falsehoods bleed Treasury dry

Greedy green pockets heavy with gold and Castles galore 

Hidden daggers to murder our flag and all it stands for   

 

Their agenda has no Southern Cross to guide us well

No footprint of proud history to our infants for us to tell 

Distorted deeds of those who gave sweat blood and tears 

Ignorant of a flag of freedom and unity with no chains of fear  

 

Why do such Suits offend and spoil annual joyful scenes?

Where a sea of beloved Aussie flags waving in triumph is seen  

Are they blind to all Races, black to white, striving as one? 

Under one flag, seeking the same national goals until life is done 

 

We salute the fallen, draped with our flag at their final farewell 

A National signal of pride, respect and honour for Kin to tell

So which elected Suits would shun such heroes passing by 

Covered in such sacred cloth for which they did serve and die?  

 

Recall our flag’s past with fiery heart and bursting pride

Seize it, be it in peace, war or Nature taking us for a rough ride  

Despite peril, hunger and misery, our flag stands tall  

Snapping in the breeze, telling us, “all for one and one for all” 

 

Stand fast, True Blues, and brace in this hateful storm   

Our flag will still fly, surrounded by brightness of early dawn  

Listen carefully, and ghostly echoes of cheering you will hear 

Past generations, their spirits still with us, neath a flag so dear

George Mansford ©June 2022

57 Years Ago on 26th June 1965

On the 26th June 1965 at Bien Hoa, Vietnam, a grenade exploded as diggers were returning to their camp in a crowded semi-trailer at the time killing three and injuring ten. Two Australian soldiers and an American were killed in an explosion on that day. Another digger died three days later of his wounds.

Ten other diggers and two Americans were wounded in the blast in the C Company lines at Bien Hoa air base.

The grenade exploded as diggers clambered over the side of the semi-trailer, dubbed by the digger’s “cattle trucks”, when the pin of a grenade on the outside of the webbing of one of the diggers killed, caught on the side of the truck crowded with soldiers as they were returning to camp after their first operation.

Three U.S. helicopters were called in by radio to fly the injured to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Saigon.

The troops had just returned from the battalion’s first “search and destroy” mission since the First Battalion Group had arrived in Vietnam only about three weeks previous.

One of the two Australian soldiers seriously injured in the explosion at Bien Hoa died in the U.S. Navy Hospital on the 29th June 1965 He was Dutch-born Private Arie Van Valen, of Western Australia.

A fourth Australian was flown to the Clarke Air Force Base in the Philippines with serious head injuries. Eight other Australian troops of the 1st Battalion suffered minor injuries in the blast. An American 173d Airborne paratrooper was also killed and two other Americans were injured.

57 years on they are still remembered along with those wounded on that day.

The Australian soldiers killed were all members of C Company, 1 RAR:

37867    Michael Alwyn Bourke                   19yrs

37010    William Thomas Carroll                  21yrs

54320    Arie Van Valen                              20 yrs

The American killed only had 15 days left to serve in Vietnam.

THEY WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan: The Australian Experience – Tarin Kot, 2011

From the Australian War Memorial.

John Martinkus takes you into the world of the Australian soldier whose day-to-day realities include training Afghan National Army members and disposing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), identified as the biggest single threat to Australian troops in Afghanistan.

All who go to Australia’s area of Middle Eastern Operations must undertake compulsory pre-deployment training at Al Minhad, where soldiers are trained to identify IED’s.

John then travels to Tarin Kot and describes the work of the ADF personnel based there, including those of the Explosives Ordnance Disposal team, whose job it is to locate and deal with IEDs. John’s coverage at Tarin Kot — its harsh environment, the sparse living conditions, and long hours, provide a frank and compelling look at the reality of the work undertaken by Australian troops.

John’s revealing one-to-one interviews with ADF personnel tell of the changes to the operational environment over the last ten years, and go on to detail some of the harder realities facing Australian frontline soldiers: ..we had a second round land about 45 metres to our flank … fortunately all the fragmentation and blast passed above our heads – tore through our car that we were laying under, busted out all the windows and put a few holes through the car – but fortunately no one was injured, so that was a good day.

This is the first of three stories that John Martinkus produced as part of his commission as the Memorial’s Official Cinematographer.

REPORT INTO VETERAN’S CLAIMS NOW PUBLIC

THE HON MATT KEOGH MP – MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

A key report into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) claims processing system has today been made public.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the report found 37 initiatives which would improve the department’s processes, reducing the wait times for veterans and their families.

“We must reduce this claims backlog. It simply isn’t good enough to have people who have put on a uniform and served our country wait for such a long time to access the support they are entitled to,” Minister Keogh said.

“I believe it’s important to be accountable, and to get on with making positive changes as soon as possible, that’s why I have asked the Department to release the report publicly.

“We are turning a new leaf here and we want to get on with implementing changes as quickly as possible to improve the wait times for veterans. That means employing more staff in the Department and to move away from labour hire so we can build and retain the skills and experience needed to support Veterans and their families as they so deserve.

“We want to alleviate any pressure the veteran community are feeling, and that’s why improving DVA’s compensation claims and payments processing system is so important.”

In September 2021 DVA commissioned independent consultants McKinsey & Company to examine the claims processing system. McKinsey worked closely with the department, ex-service organisations and other members of the veteran community and considered submissions in their investigation.

McKinsey identified 11 priority initiatives and created an implementation plan for the Department.  Some initiatives had not been resourced by the previous government and we are working through those now. DVA has commenced planning and implementation, and is working with Government to prioritise further efforts.

The full report can be read here: www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview/reporting/reviews-and-reports/government-reports#claims-process-diagnostic

French military using winged warriors to hunt down rogue drones.

This is amazing.

A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France.

Following incidents of drones flying over the presidential palace and restricted military sites – along with the deadly

2015 Paris terror attacks – the French Air Force has trained four golden eagles to intercept and destroy the rogue aircraft.

Aptly named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis – an homage to Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” – the four birds of prey have been honing their attack skills at the Mont-de-Marsan in southwestern France since mid-2016.

“A drone means food for these birds,” Gerald Machoukow, the military base’s falconer, told FRANCE 24. “Now they automatically go after them.”

The use of hunting birds – normally falcons and northern goshawks – by militaries around the globe is common practice in the fight to scare other critters away from runways and so cut the risk of accidents during takeoff or landing. But it wasn’t until 2015 when the Dutch started using bald eagles to intercept drones that other militaries started to see the benefit of these winged warriors.

The French bred the four golden eagles – three males and one female — using artificial insemination since eagles are a protected species and harvesting wild eggs is strictly forbidden. They chose the golden eagle because of the birds hooked beak and sharp eyesight.

Also weighing in around 11 pounds, the birds are in a similar weight class as the drones they’re sent to destroy and clocking in at a top air speed of 50 miles per hour, with the capability of spotting its target from over a mile away, the eagles are deft hunters. To protect the eagles from drone blades and any explosive device that might be attached to them, the French military designed mittens of leather and Kevlar (an anti-blast material), to protect the bird’s talons.

A golden eagle carries a flying drone (2017). “I love these birds,” Machoukow told Agence France-Presse. “I don’t want to send them to their death.” The birds are first taught to attack in a straight line before graduating to diving from heights. Soon they’ll be patrolling the skies over the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France and could possibly be deployed at airports and special events, such as political summits and soccer tournaments. The French air force already expects four more eagles to join the fleet.

 

How the Nabiac RSL Sub-Branch has improved local veteran support

Copied from the RSL NSW Newsletter

The Nabiac RSL Sub-Branch holds its meetings in the park on a Saturday afternoon and puts on sport and rec activities four times a week. And it’s making a big difference in the local veteran community.  

It’s Saturday afternoon in Nabiac, a small town near Forster on NSW’s mid-north coast. At the local park, a couple of dozen men and women, the majority over 50, some just below that milestone and a few in their 30s, stand about having a chat. A few keep an eye on kids in the playground. Others prepare for a barbecue. Keen observers would note that only six weeks ago, this group was much smaller.

Arthur Chapman, President of the Nabiac RSL sub-Branch, has gathered his members here for their regular sub-Branch meeting. It doesn’t sound like much out of the ordinary, but it’s a far cry from the stereotype of an RSL sub-Branch meeting.

“A lot of our members have work or family commitments, so we have our meetings in the park on Saturday afternoons,” he says. “There’s a playground so people can bring their kids, and sometimes we put on a barbecue afterwards.”

Removing those small barriers to participation, along with regular activities the sub-Branch puts on as part of the RSL NSW Sport and Recreation Program, has almost doubled the membership of the small group from 16 to 28. It’s also having a great impact on local veterans and their families

“We’ve got Pilates, Zumba, gym classes, beach walks and coffee occasions,” Arthur says – adding that as a ‘young 60’ himself he participates in everything. “And that’s just the start. I was talking to the wife of a veteran just this morning in the dog park and she suggested a regular dog walking event which I think is a terrific idea. Nothing brings people together like dogs.”

We caught up with Arthur for a Q&A about the activities and initiatives bringing new members in and helping the sub-Branch reach out.

Q: How do you reach out to local veterans?

I post on the community Facebook pages of the different towns like Forster-Tuncurry and Taree – the word ‘free’ really helps, especially these days when times are a bit tough. And people have responded so positively.

Lots of people still think that the sub-Branch is just for pensioners sitting around drinking beer, so they’re amazed when they see we offer activities like this.

We met one young Afghanistan veteran who’s in his 30s and he was just shocked to hear there was so much more to the sub-Branch – he’s gone on to help spread the word.

We are a small sub-Branch but have taken our membership from 16 to 28 in less than six weeks. So, we’re pretty excited about that.

“When you’re in the services or you’re the partner of someone in the services, you get used to there being a lot of activities and things for you to do but when you’re finished, that all goes away. This program helps to fill that gap.” 

Q: Why do you think the response has been so dramatic?

I think people are really looking for opportunities to connect with like minded people, people who understand what it’s like to be a veteran or the partner or family of a veteran.

When you’re in the services or you’re the partner of someone in the services, you get used to there being a lot of activities and things for you to do but when you’re finished, that all goes away.

The Sport and Recreation Program helps to fill that gap.

Q: Who is attending the events and joining the Sub-Branch?

I’m pleased to say our new members are a mix of men and women, under 50 and some under 35.

For the activities we get veterans, people in active service, children, grandchildren, and partners. We’ve got one woman who is the grown-up granddaughter of a veteran and she brings her grandchildren to Zumba each week.

I know of one couple who were going through a rough time and feeling very unsupported. Through our activities they’ve connected with a pension officer at the sub-Branch and some counselling, and that’s helping a lot.

There are some great mentors in the group too, men and women. There’ve been a few kids who were going off the tracks a bit and it helps them to have these people in their lives.

Because it’s not just about the physical stuff, is it? It’s about mental wellbeing and building up camaraderie. The RSL has provided a coffee machine at the gym and that gives people the chance to stick around and have a chat.

Q: So reaching the families of veterans plays a big role in the program?

It’s so important. We sometimes forget about the partners, the children, the families a bit, don’t we? And they need support too. They need to come together with others and realise they’re not alone.

Sometimes there are a few nerves when people show up for something for the first time, but it doesn’t last long because they have something important in common. They have that conversation-starter.

Q: What’s next for the program?

We’re excited for the ‘challenge’ part of the program to take off, which will involve competing with other Sub-Branches. We’ve got darts, badminton and snooker, people are keen on lawn bowls and there might even be competitive ANZAC biscuit baking! I’d love to see a kind of mini-Olympics where we all get together and play each year – that would be fantastic. The program is still in its infancy, but I know it’s just going to snowball.

I was at a meeting with one of the bigger Sub-Branches the other day and the fellows there said their wives are sick of them just sitting in the club drinking – they asked if we would consider adding fishing to our list of activities. I said, “Absolutely!” and this bloke was surprised – he marvelled that the question of what we would try is really “How long is a piece of string?”. But that’s exactly right – we’ll try anything.

We want to keep reaching people to let them know that being a member of their local sub-Branch means a lot more than just meetings at the club and beer afterwards. It can give you an opportunity to get out and connect with people.

 

 

Teachers Nightmare

This video came to me back in 2020, today while hunting through some old files and found this again, having three teachers in my family I just shared it with them and my eldest said I should share it with everyone … so here it is, turn up your volume and enjoy.

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

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