The Royal Australian Regiment Corporation offers its Condolences to the Family of 33rd Soldier KIA in Afghanistan

An Australian special forces soldier on his seventh tour of duty has been shot dead in Afghanistan while hunting an insurgent leader.

The 40-year-old Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) soldier’s death is the 33rd Australian fatality in Afghanistan since the war began and the first of 2012.

Chief of the Defence Force David Hurley said the soldier – who has not yet been named – was shot in the chest while on a partnered mission with Afghan security forces targeting an insurgent leader.

First aid was provided until he was evacuated to a medical facility at Tarin Kowt.

“Sadly, despite the best efforts of all, attempts to resuscitate the soldier were unsuccessful,” Gen Hurley told a media conference on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Gillard said the death was a “dreadful blow” for the nation.

“I know Australians today will stop, will pause, will reflect and will mark with respect the loss of this brave soldier and will honour his service and his sacrifice,” Ms Gillard said.

“On behalf of the Australian nation I extend all of our condolences to his family as they mourn his loss.

“The defence family will be there to support them, the Australian nation will be there to support them, but we know they will face so many difficult days ahead.”

The latest death may cause many Australians to ask why our forces are still in Afghanistan, the prime minister said.

“This tragic incident is part of what we are doing in Afghanistan because that mission is so important to our Australian nation,” she said.

“We went there to make sure that Afghanistan would not continue to be a safe haven for terrorists.

“We will continue our mission in Afghanistan even as we grieve his loss.”

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the loss would be very deeply felt within the special forces community and in Perth where the SASR holds an iconic status.

His death is the first for Australia since Captain Bryce Duffy, Corporal Ashley Birt and Lance Corporal Luke Gavin were shot dead by a man in an Afghan army uniform during morning parade on October 29 last year.

“Indeed, our first in some seven or eight months and over such a period of time, though one constantly says that one has to steel oneself for more fatalities, you can lull yourself into a false sense of security,” Mr Smith said.

“So this tragic loss will reverberate through the Australian community today.”

Gen Hurley said the soldier enlisted in 1990 and joined the SASR in 1995.

He was greatly respected by his colleagues and was on his seventh tour of duty in Afghanistan.

It was “unusual” that the soldier had been on so many tours but he said he was confident there were proper processes in place to ensure soldiers were not being asked to do too much.

“It’s an issue we need to keep a sharp eye on,” he said.

The man was the only casualty and was wearing his normal combat body armour at the time of the incident.

Gen Hurley declined to give any further personal details, including where the man was originally from and whether or not he was married.

“Family still needs to contact wider family so we’ll let them go through that process and then we’ll release those details when we’re ready,” he said.

The anti-insurgent operation is ongoing.

Study measures impact of bomb blasts on soldiers’ brains

Scientists have begun to understand the full impact bomb blasts have on the brains of those who live through them. Over the past decade, scores have been killed and maimed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now new US research compares the survivors to concussed athletes.

Unfortunately the symptoms mimic and often overlap with those of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – and that is now a big problem for the Australian Defence Force.

It literally just goes right through the head in a period of microseconds… It causes direct damage to the blood vessels and the parts of the nerve that transmit electrical signals in the brain.

Dr Lee Goldstein

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ANZAC Message – CO 8/9 RAR (MTF4)

Dear Association members,

I thought Id take a moment to thank you all for your ongoing support to 8/9 RAR, MTF 4 and  our families while we are away, particularly over ANZAC Day. I hope that you all had a terrific day and managed to catch up with friends and family.

 

Where we could we ceased operations for a few hours to commemorate the Day across all of our patrol bases. The Dawn Services were excellent and the RSM WO1 D’Arcy, coordinated the outstanding Service for the hundreds of Australians working in Tarin Kot, including the VIPs’ one of which was the Governor General of Australia. She provided the most memorable and inspiring speech as the sun slowly rose over the assembled soldiers, following which she laid a wreath hand inscribed with all the names of the soldiers we have lost during this war. It was an emotional moment and highlighted the great sacrifice we have made in the name of bringing security to a country far away. Some of our soldiers also participated in a very small ceremony in the dasht during an isolated multi day patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA). Theirs was probably the most memorable as they were without doubt the most exposed and isolated Australian soldiers serving anywhere in the world. The threat to these soldiers was very real, however they established security, stopped in the dark and remembered.

 

Later in the Day we took the opportunity to play a bit of sport however, unfortunately the selected Australian Army Cricket Team was defeated by the ANA in a highly competitive and contested cricket match. In another patrol base those soldiers not on duty took the opportunity to have a BBQ next to their newly filled inbuilt emergency water supply. Strangely this facility looks similar to a large swimming pool and coincidently was build adjacent to an array of lounges and a volley ball court. It would appear our MTF soldiers are often required to change into swimmers and inspect the water supply for extended periods! That said on this particular day the soldiers, whilst inspecting the water supply, eating BBQ and enjoying one of their two cans of beer were rudely disturbed by the Insurgents who decided to attack an adjacent police check point. Unfortunately the men in their haste to respond evidently spilt all their allocated beer and naturally immediately sought me out for another two cans. Nice try but fail!!

 

Our soldiers are doing magnificently and you can all be very proud of their achievements. They have fully embraced their mission and role as mentors. Their achievements in regards to developing the confidence, skills and capabilities of the ANA have been outstanding. Others now look at the MTF 4 model as that which they strive to achieve. Our relationships with the ANA are built on trust and have been proven in combat against an exceptionally tenacious and dangerous enemy. We never underestimate the enemy although our results are proving we are better than them. We have been tested repeatedly since we arrived and each time our soldiers have walked away and can be proud of their achievements. I am immensely proud of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time is getting short for us now and the days longer and hotter, we are tired but not exhausted. We are still winning and mission achievement looks a certainty for us. That said, it’s not over and the hardest part of our mission is yet to come. The challenge for us is to maintain the same rate of effort, high standards, achievements and morale so that we come home together and satisfied we did our small part in a big war. I would also like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank all the people at home who have sent us their wishes and care packages. We really have been spoilt and your thoughts mean the world to us. It’s truly appreciated and I can’t thank you enough. We look forward to seeing you when this one is over.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Kahlil Fegan

Lieutenant Colonel

Commanding Officer

Commander says Afghan job will soon be done | Herald Sun

From Evernote:

Commander says Afghan job will soon be done | Herald Sun

Clipped from: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/commander-says-afghan-job-will-soon-be-done/story-fn7x8me2-1226217665878?mid=54

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Diggers will be able to hand over security to Afghan forces within 18 months, according to Commander of Joint Operations Lt-Gen Ash Power. Picture: LS Paul Berry Supplied

MOST of the Australian forces in Afghanistan will have finished their job by the end of next year, their commander says.

Commander of Joint Operations Lt-Gen Ash Power said the Diggers would be able to hand over security to Afghan forces in Oruzgan province between six and 18 months from the start of 2012.

That is more than two years ahead of the deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops set by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

An early draw down or "transition" would relieve pressure on the Gillard Government from the growing anti-war movement.

One of the four battalions being trained by the Australians is ready for independent operations and the other three will follow during the next 18 months.

"We are setting up the 4th Brigade to be prepared to start its transition process," Lt-Gen Power said. "My assessment is that sometime early next year Oruzgan may well be announced as being very close to, if not ready for, transition.

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"That will then take six to 18 months for transition. Certainly, I would like to see as many Australian soldiers come back out of Afghanistan as possible."

Lt-Gen Power said no one had put pressure on him to speed up the process and he was not pushing to accelerate the transition.

"It is conditions-based. The Afghans are ready to take charge," he said.

He predicted the level of violence would fall in Oruzgan during 2012.

His comments were supported by the commander on the ground in the Middle East, and soon-to-be deputy chief of army, Major-General Angus Campbell, who joined the briefing at the new Joint Control Centre outside Canberra via video link from his headquarters at Al Minhad air base near Dubai.

"The insurgency is clearly disrupted in Oruzgan, but it is not defeated," he said.

Lt-Gen Power also revealed the Diggers had adopted new security practices to ensure they were better protected from attacks by rogue Afghan soldiers.

Despite a massive manhunt, he said there was no sign of an Afghan soldier who wounded three Diggers last month.

The new $300 million control centre 30km from Canberra has 100 staff who work around the clock monitoring military operations around the globe from a bank of massive TV screens.

Message from Commanding Officer Mentoring Task Force – 4

It has been a long journey and we have covered much ground. As you well know, our role in Afghanistan is to mentor the ANA 4th Bde and by doing so give them the skills, capabilities and confidence to continue the war against the insurgency and protect the people of Uruzgan.

We will not win the war during our deployment however we will contribute significantly to doing so in the long term. We will do this by, not focusing solely and simplistically on killing Taliban, as we all know the Afghan enigma is not that simple. We will do it by assisting the ANA to stand on their own feet and resist the cultivation of extremist terrorist organisations like Al Qedia. We must give them this opportunity at every opportunity. We must accept that at times they will get a bloody nose.  We just need to make sure it never gets broken. This is why we are going to war!

Building skills, capabilities and confidence and standing back to give the ANA the opportunities to use them will be our greatest challenge and does not come without risk. In particular over the last few months there has been much talk about rouge ANA soldiers turning on their Australian mentors. It is a fact that the people of Afghanistan have grown up with extreme violence. If they have a serious dispute they cant ring the Army Fair Go Hotline. In some rare circumstances a rouge individual may resolve a dispute or a grievance – be it real or perceived, with an AK47.

The important thing for us to remember is that the critical majority of 4 Bde soldiers and officers are horrified that in recent time three of their own have turned on their Australian mentors. They can not believe it and they are sickened by it. So now is not the time to take a step back from the ANA, but to take a step forward and continue to increase our relationship with them. We need to work more closely with the ANA soldiers and officers so that we can build trust, and together identify rouge individuals and deal with them appropriately.

We must also never forget that we are guests in the people of Afghanistan’s ancient country, and as guests we must be aware, tolerant and respectful of their culture and traditions. Never disrespect the Afghan soldiers or people for they have a proud history and we are in their country. Remember this always as it also applies to our enemy. If he chooses to fight us, then we will not hesitate to destroy him. But, if you capture him or he surrenders, he is no longer a direct combatant and is now under your protection, so treat your prisoners properly, with respect and make sure no harm comes to them.

Ladies and gentlemen we are going to war and there are some standing among us who will become casualties during our deployment. It is my intention that we all come home alive, however that may not be possible and if one or some of us fall then they and their families will be looked after with great respect and dignity. I ask you not to be naïve, and while on leave make sure you prepare yourself and your families and make peace with those you need to. Our first casualty is standing here now, possibly thinking it wont happen to me.

That said the training we have had has been outstanding and so is the equipment we have been issued. It may not be 100% perfect but it never will be. We are ready for this job and we will deploy as the best trained and best equipped Task Force to leave Australian shores. Don’t forget that the eyes of those that have gone before us, the Army and the Australian people are upon us. Ours is a huge responsibility, but provided we apply our training we will perform magnificently.

Lastly there are five enduring things I ask of you to remember over leave and while we are deployed:

1.            Remember the mission and keep thinking about why we are there and what our long term goals are. It will be HARD at times, but its essential.

2.            Live ‘Every soldier a mentor’. If you cant mentor directly then do it by supporting others and setting an excellent example for the ANA.

3.            Maintain normal and professional standards in all matters – it dosnt matter if its dress and bearing or the execution of a counter ambush drill – don’t be weak, go HARD and don’t ever let the standards drop.

4.            Promote the professional reputation of the Australian soldier. Don’t forget we are in a coalition environment and our reputation as soldiers will be based on our actions. Remember if you compromise our security or reputation by your actions then you have been weak and I will send you home to live with that shame.

5.            Lastly, go HARD on your PT over leave. You can’t let the standards that you have achieved with your physical preparation to decline. So keep working!

That’s all from me, and this is the last time I will address you all together until we get home next year, enjoy your leave, stay safe, and good luck next year.

Kahlil Fegan

Lieutenant Colonel

Commanding Officer Mentoring Task Force – 4

AWESOME “ANGEL FLIGHT”

This is a US video but its sentiments apply equally to our Aussie heroes who also have fallen in Afghanistan!

AWESOME “ANGEL FLIGHT”

This video is about a song called “Angel Flight”… It is terrific. The song is being performed with “effects.” Listen to the words of the pilot and the tower, and make sure you sit quietly and listen at the very end.. You will understand why one of the singers said he would be glad to help with the song…..if he could stop crying. This is beautiful. God bless our Vets!

Angel Flight (Radio Tower Remix) – w/ Lyrics – YouTube

Australian Marines to flex muscles | thetelegraph.com.au

From Evernote:

Australian Marines to flex muscles | thetelegraph.com.au

Clipped from: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/australian-marines-to-flex-muscles/story-e6freuzr-1226175648532

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We’re following suit … US Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force on exercises in Rockhampton / Pic: Gary Ramage Source: The Daily Telegraph

AUSTRALIA’S first batch of dedicated amphibious soldiers or "marines" will be ready to sail off to war when the navy’s new landing ship enters service early next year.

More than 1000 infantry troops from the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade are being trained in amphibious operations and up to 350 will be at sea permanently from 2014 when two massive 27,000 tonne landing helicopter dock ships (LHDs) are due to enter service as part of a new era of "power projection".

The former Royal Navy 16,000 tonne Bay Class landing ship Largs Bay, purchased by Australia for $100 million to become HMAS Choules, is the first of the three new vessels to arrive and will be ready for low-level amphibious operations next year.

"When one of these ships leaves Townsville she will have soldiers on board rigged and ready to go," Defence’s head of modernisation and plans, Major-General John Caligari, said yesterday.

The amphibious force will provide the government with a capability the nation has never had before, allowing the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to take a lead role in East Timor-style missions or humanitarian relief operations from the Pacific to anywhere in Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

When combined with the RAAF’s five C-17 Globemaster transport jets, the ADF will be able to move a force 10 times bigger than today.

Chief of Army Lieutenant-General David Morrison will soon announce which of the 3rd Brigade’s three infantry battalions will become the army’s first full-time amphibious (marine) battalion.

The battalion will be broken into three combat teams of about 350 troops each.

One team will be at sea virtually full-time, one will be in lead-up training and the third will be resting.

This force will be known as an amphibious ready element (ARE). When a bigger force is required, the entire battalion will be embarked in what will be known as an amphibious ready group that will include more than 1000 troops supported by armoured vehicles and helicopters.

Tanks and artillery, possibly supported by destroyers and jet fighters, could also be deployed if necessary.

Both of the LHDs, being built in Spain and assembled in Melbourne, will be able to carry 1000 troops and all their "enablers", including engineers, helicopters and vehicles.

Major-General Caligari said the Aussie marines would undergo intensive training.

 

The RAR Corporation offers its Condolences – 22nd August 2011

The Chairman of the RAR Corporation, Michael von Berg has offered his deepest sympathies to the family of Private Matthew Lambert, who was killed in action during operations in Afghanistan on 22nd August 2011.

Private Lambert was a member of the Mentoring Task Force – Three and was from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) based in Townsville, North Queensland.

He was the eighth soldier to die this year and the 29th of the decade-long war.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew’s family, and his mates serving in Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) .”

“We honour Matthew’s service and grieve the sacrifice he has made, his spirit will live on in the nation’s military history”

APC accident injures soldiers on Exercise Talisman Sabre 11

An Australian soldier participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 has been admitted to a Brisbane hospital after being seriously injured in an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicle accident.

The accident occurred within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area overnight.

Talisman Sabre 2011 spokesman Brigadier Bob Brown said the APC was carrying nine Australian Defence Force personnel when it veered down an embankment and landed on its turret.

“The Armoured Personnel Carrier, carrying nine Australian Defence Force personnel, rolled over after veering down an embankment and landing on its turret while travelling cross-country at night,” Brigadier Brown said.

“Emergency medical assets were notified immediately and, after initial medical care, eight of those injured have been treated and released. One ADF member has been transferred to Brisbane Hospital for further specialist care.”

All of the soldiers are expected to make a full recovery and their families have been notified. 

A full and thorough investigation of the accident will take place and further details may become available once the investigation is complete.

The exercise is continuing as planned.

Vision from a press conference on this incident will be available at: http://www.facebook.com/talismansabre

Media contact:
EX Talisman Sabre 2011 Media Room 1800 675 601

Sergeant Todd Matthew Langley

 


 

 Our condolences to Reigan and their children

 

and

to parents Val and Neville Langley.

From

 

The RAR Family

A Warrior’s Farewell

Go now and travel beyond the void
Seek the green column and when you meet
See once more those smiling faces
Hear again laughter and sounds of marching feet

No more the visions of the bloody past
Gone are the nightmares and lingering pain
Soon you will be home at long, long last
United with fallen comrades once again

And when the final roll is called
Another page of history complete
You will rest with brave spirits such as they
In a camp where you will find restful sleep

Go swiftly now and seek your past
Your duty done for all to tell
With pride of who and what you were
And now we bid you a fond farewell

(George Mansford – December 2007)