By Ross Eastgate

IN a long military career one seemed to spend more time studying the profession of arms than practising it.

The old instructors’ motto was, “teach and repeat” until subjects were drummed into trainees.

Such fascinating topics as “The bayonet; they don’t like it up ‘em!” and “Mr Hand Grenade is not your friend” held a fascination beyond their droll descriptions.

“Garrotting chickens for survival” and “Chicken recipes for one” had a distinctly useful application.

Why, in the days before videos and PowerPoint there were even films on various topics, including the British classic Zulu, shown to every recruit.

In those days soldiers wore brightly coloured uniforms, went to exotic locations, met the locals and killed them. No low visibility combat uniforms then!

Like soldiers immemorial, more than a few fraternised with the local ladies, for it was an all-male environment, apart from the obligatory camp followers, and a cuddle a long way from home went a long way to boost morale.

If there was ever any cautionary advice, it was usually about incautious relationships with ladies of loose morals, and the possible consequences.

In World War I Australian troops posted to the Middle East and France suffered more casualties from sexually transmitted diseases than battle.

In that pre-COVID environment, no one thought to spray hand sanitiser wherever soldiers had been or were going, though hands weren’t the primary issue.

Sailors were a particular problem with multiple port visits, pocketsful of cash and young ladies ready to exchange it for physical entertainment.

There were similar consequences.

Loose lips sink ships if you get the drift. Now bright coloured apparel is the off duty choice for many in an ADF which is determinedly changing sexual identity rules.

The Australian Defence Force is calling for military personnel to go on a $12,000 Gender Peace and Security course that will draw on “feminist theorising” and make them “gender-sensitive, gender-inclusive and gender-responsive”.

The Monash University course is being run by two feminist professors who believe “masculinist politics” are to blame for most of the world’s political problems.

One suspects the ADF hierarchy is closely monitoring applications.

Aspirational individuals who don’t apply may be considered chicken.

All others could end up like the chickens of old.



Veterans and their families in north Queensland are a step closer to easier access to services and support with the successful contractor to build the next stage of the Oasis Townsville announced today.

Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester and Queensland Minister for Communities and Minister for Disabilities Services and Seniors, the Hon Coralee O’Rourke MP, announced Townsville-based company Woollam Constructions would lead the major building works for the project.

“This is an important step forward in improving the support and services for veterans and their families in Townsville,” Mr Chester said.

“Once completed, The Oasis Townsville will provide a one-stop-shop for veterans and their families to access assistance from the government, health services, ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community groups.

“The Oasis Townsville will significantly expand and enhance the existing range of services it already offers, ensuring that we are putting veterans and their families first.”

The major building works for the project include partial demolition of the existing building, refurbishment of the remaining half of the building, construction of an indoor/outdoor café, five smaller buildings and other external works.

“The construction of The Oasis Townsville is a truly local project — using local construction companies and local suppliers, supporting approximately 24 full-time equivalent jobs and boosting the local economy,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“Since I was first approached by The Oasis Townsville a number of years ago, I have been working with them to achieve our vision for the site and to provide a truly unique, fit-for-purpose facility to benefit our local community, veterans and their families.

“I have been determined to deliver this project for locals, and I am thankful to the Federal Government for their support and funding contribution to see it become a reality.

“With around 15,000 ex-defence force personnel living in our city and an estimated 500 transitioning into the community each year, I know how important this project is for Townsville and our local defence community.”

Federal Member for Herbert Mr Phillip Thompson OAM MP said the announcement was an important milestone for a long-awaited project.

“This facility and the services that will come with it are going to benefit not only veterans, but current serving defence members,” Mr Thompson said.

“Townsville is the largest garrison city in the country and deserves a place like this where the defence community can come together and seek the support they need without having to find their way through a maze of services.

“I look forward to construction beginning — but The Oasis will be so much more than just a building and I can’t wait to see the positive work that will go on here.”

Mr Chester said the Federal Government committed $5 million in funding for this project and thanked the Queensland Government for its contribution of $4.3 million of funding through the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS).

“We are all committed to seeing this wellbeing centre open and provide services to veterans and their families in the Townsville community by the end of 2020,” Mr Chester said.

Construction of The Oasis Townsville main works is due to be completed during October 2020, with the service expected to begin operating later that month.

The Oasis Townsville is one of six Veteran Wellbeing Centres which will be operated in partnership with ESOs and state and territory governments, announced by the Federal Government as part of a $30 million commitment.

For more information about the new Veteran Wellbeing Centres, visit the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/wellbeing-centres

Beijing Media Calls for Quadrupling China’s Nuclear Weapons as US Continues Encirclement

In-Depth Coverage

Sputnik News

19:22 GMT 08.05.2020

In a Friday op-ed, Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin called for China to quadruple its nuclear weapons stockpile from 260 to 1,000 weapons amid unprecedented pressure by the United States. In recent years, Washington has declared reversing China’s rise and undermining the Chinese Communist Party its primary geostrategic goals.

‘Peaceful Coexistence Cannot be Begged For’

“China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time,” Hu wrote in a Friday op-ed in the Global Times. “It needs to have at least 100 Dongfeng-41 strategic missiles. We are a peace-loving nation and have committed to never being the first to use nuclear weapons, but we need a larger nuclear arsenal to curb US strategic ambitions and impulses toward China.”

The journalist urged Beijing not to be indifferent toward the strategic value of simply possessing nuclear bombs, which can serve as deterrents. The Federation of American Scientists estimated in 2015 that the People’s Republic of China has 260 nuclear weapons.

“Don’t be naïve. Don’t assume that nuclear warheads are useless. In fact, they are being used every day as a deterrent to shape the attitudes of US elites toward China. Some Chinese experts say we don’t need more nuclear weapons, I think they are as naïve as children,” Hu said.

Hu urged that contrary to critics of his suggestion, the label of “warmonger” should instead be applied to US politicians “who are openly hostile to China.”

“Peaceful coexistence between the two countries is not a thing that can be begged for; it’s shaped by strategic tools. This is particularly true as we are facing an increasingly irrational US, which only believes in strength. We don’t have much time debating the need for increased nuclear warheads, we just need to accelerate the steps that make it happen,” Hu said.

The US Aims to Hem China In

Hu’s words come as the US moves to station missiles and bombers just off the East Asian coast, near a string of islands Beijing calls the First Island Chain. The formation includes not only hotly contested Taiwan and nearby islands, but also Japan, Borneo, the Philippines, and the Kuril Islands.

In March, the US Marine Corps pitched a reprioritization toward long-range missiles to the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the intention of combining them with rapidly deployed expeditionary forces to set up “no-go zones” on islands early in a military campaign against China.

“A ground-based anti-ship missile capability will provide anti-ship fires from land as part of an integrated naval anti-surface warfare campaign,” the Corps said in a letter to lawmakers obtained by Defense News. “This forward-deployed and survivable capability will enhance the lethality of our naval forces and will help to deny our adversaries the use of key maritime terrain.”

While some of those weapons include anti-ship missiles launched by air and sea, they also include a new development of the Tomahawk cruise missiles modified for surface launch, which have a roughly 1,000-mile range and would be fired by the Aegis Ashore radar system. The land-based “Maritime Strike Tomahawk” isn’t expected to be operational until 2023, but Russia especially has expressed ire at the mere development of the weapon.

Defense Department conducts a flight test of a ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California, 18 August 2019

However, one of the Aegis Ashore sites intended for construction in the Japanese city of Akita was dropped by the Defense Ministry on Wednesday due to heavy opposition by locals, according to Kyodo News Agency. It’s unclear when Tokyo will select another site or where that will be.

Until last August, such ground-based missiles were banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty the US signed with Russia, but within weeks of that treaty being allowed to lapse by Washington, the Pentagon was testing missiles that violated the treaty’s prescriptions.

This is in line with the Pentagon’s conclusions in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which argued the rise of China and return of Russia as world powers capable of challenging American hegemony heralded a “return to Great Power competition.”

The INF Treaty was drawn up in 1987 to address the severe danger of war created by the US basing Pershing II intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe with the ability to reach Moscow in just six to eight minutes. With such little time to react, the possibility of misreading a false alarm and ordering a nuclear response was palpable – as very nearly happened during the hyper-realistic Able Archer NATO war games in 1983.

The basing of such missiles close to China revives this imminent danger.

‘Peace on More Favorable Terms’

Chinese military experts quoted in another article by the Global Times on Friday noted that US policy toward nuclear weapons differs greatly from China’s. While Beijing has just a few hundred weapons and maintains a “no first use” pledge, Washington has more than 5,000 nuclear weapons and has never held to that logic. Indeed, the US is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in war, when it killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

But more than that, the Trump administration has developed a new type of nuclear weapon with a smaller explosive yield, the W76-2, which nuclear deterrence scholar Andrew Facini called in an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists a “low-yield, high risk” device.

Last June, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff accidentally published an unclassified document that made the case for using nuclear weapons in an otherwise-conventional war if they “could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability.”

“Employment of nuclear weapons can radically alter or accelerate the course of a campaign,” the military leaders argued. “A nuclear weapon could be brought into the campaign as a result of perceived failure in a conventional campaign, potential loss of control or regime, or to escalate the conflict to sue for peace on more-favourable terms. The potential consequences of using nuclear weapons will greatly influence military operations and vastly increase the complexity of the operational environment.”

Chasing the Nuclear Triad

“The complete development of a nuclear triad – nuclear weapon launch capabilities from sea, land and air – is necessary for China as the US’ strategic weapons are a threat to China, and China needs to continuously upgrade its nuclear arsenal,” the Global Times paraphrased Chinese military expert Song Zhongping as saying.

An oblique image of China’s Xian H-6N bomber carrying an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) in “Modern Ships” magazine

The ability to guarantee a nuclear response strike by land, air and sea is held by only a handful of nations: the US, Russia and India. However, in recent years China has made headway toward the achievement, which promises an effective deterrent to an attempted nuclear decapitation strike.

On the one hand, the modification of a DF-15 ballistic missile into an air-launched version capable of being fired by a Xi’an H-6N bomber would give Beijing a third – if unconventional – method of nuclear reach. However, a more typical air delivery could also come via the H-20 stealth bomber, which Sputnik reported could debut at the Zhuhai Air Show later this year. China already possesses submarine-launched ballistic missiles and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, the other two arms of the triad.

235202 Brigadier Philip Davies AM (Retd)

I have been advised of the passing of 235202 Brigadier Philip Davies AM (Retd). Phil served with 1RAR IN South Vietnam 27 March 1968 – 28 February 1969. He passed away on Tuesday night (21st) in his sleep after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.


The family are holding a small funeral at Sorrento because of the COVID 19 and then we the veterans will be included in a memorial service when the Virus lets us.

First LRIP Hawkei vehicles delivered to 1RAR

The 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) based in Townsville, Queensland, disclosed on its website that it had formally taken delivery on 24 March of at least five Hawkeis to complement its current motorised capability of Bushmaster Protected Military Vehicles – Medium.

Under an AUD1.3 billion (USD975 million) contract signed in October 2015 Thales Australia was to supply 1,100 of the seven-tonne vehicles – along with 1,058 companion trainers – to replace the majority of the army’s blast-protected Land Rover fleet in command, liaison, utility, and reconnaissance roles.

The Hawkei project has been delayed because of reliability and design issues. In July 2019 Thales bought bankrupt Hawkei engine manufacturer Steyr Motors after the Austrian company went into receivership in February 2019, putting at risk the supply of engines to the Hawkei programme.

Rodney Cox 6RAR 1st Tour Vietnam, C Coy

Rodney Cox C Coy 1st Tour

I am greatly saddened to learn that Rodney Cox passed away today, Wednesday 18 March.

As you may know Rod and Lorraine moved to Darwin to be near three of their four children.

Their eldest son, Trevor, rang me with the devastating news a few minutes ago.

Trevor will call me again in the next few days to advise funeral details.

Rod Cox was an outstanding young soldier and junior leader and a good mate of 55 years. I will miss him greatly as I know you will.

VALE Rodney Cox.


Thorack Chapel, Deloraine Road, Knuckey Logan

10am Thursday 26 March 2020.

BIO – Brigadier John Essex-Clark

To complete your file on me: My regimental number was 311479,   I was a ‘311’ because I enlisted in the UK because I was attending the British Staff College at Camberley at the time. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved I was a member of its army and could have been out of a job by the end of the year.  The Australian Army was looking for officers to complete the Pentropic organisation so the Australian DS at Camberley took me to Australia House in London where the Australian Army staff enlisted me at a lower rank while still serving in the Rhodesian Army. I came to Australia posted to 1RAR as 2IC of B Coy. From there you know my story, but the ‘311’ number didn’t mean that I was a Pom. My nickname in the Rhodesia was ‘Digger’ and I was commanding an independent rifle company of the RLI, as a major,  in the Congo before I went to Camberley, and I’d already been BM (S3) of Rhodesia’s IS Ops Bde before then.

In 1RAR I served under Sandy Pearson, Don Dunstan, Lou Brumfield, and Paddy Outridge, as Bn 2IC, before leaving to instruct at Canungra.

My jobs in 1RAR were 2IC then OC B Coy, then GSO2(ops) then OC support Coy and ‘Battle Major’ / Ops Offr/ S3 (US); then Bn 2IC when we got home from Vietnam.

I’m sorry to bore you with all this guff: but once you said that you had a file on our time with the RAR, I was hooked. I also commanded 9RAR from Sep 1971 to Dec 1973 when we were linked with 8RAR. Then went to DINF before commanding the Infantry Centre at Singleton: enough said!