Former deputy PM Tim Fischer dies

Much-loved former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has died after a long battle with cancer. He died of acute leukaemia on Wednesday night. He was 73.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten said “Vale Tim Fischer. Doting dad and parent-carer, General Monash advocate, veteran, public servant, good Australian,”

Read other tributes here

Mr Fischer is survived by his wife, Judy, and sons Harrison and Dominic.

Opinion Ross Eastgate – Tim Fischer on course for his biggest victory

FORMER national serviceman and deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has been reported as being “gravely ill” in Albury hospital.

Mr Fischer, who as a 1RAR platoon commander fought in the Battle of Coral in Vietnam in May 1968, has made no secret of his decade-long battle with various cancers. His latest, possibly terminal battle is with acute myeloid leukaemia. He has previously battled bladder and prostate cancers and melanoma.

Tim Fischer claimed he was exposed in Vietnam to the defoliant Agent Orange, as were many of his mates.

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RCB Update 4/2019 – Action Changes Things

Facts from the Aust and Malaysian Governments’ records prove that RCB’s operational deployment (1970-1989) to protect the RAAF assets at Air Base Butterworth against the communist terrorists threat during Malaysia’s Counter Insurgency War (1968-1989) was warlike.

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Long Tan – Seeking Recognition

On August 18, 1966, 108 Australian soldiers were ambushed by the Viet Cong in what would become known as the Vietnam War’s Battle of Long Tan. Against all odds, the Aussies won the fight.

Now, the man who led them to victory is fighting to have his troops recognised with the highest honour.

The Battle of Long Tan, in which Aussie troops were outnumbered 20 to one, has gained greater recognition in recent years, but it wasn’t always that way.

The story of that four-hour firefight in a muddy rubber plantation during a torrential downpour will be retold in a new Australian movie, Danger CloseThe Battle of Long Tan.  Directed by Kriv Stenders (best known for Red Dog), it will premiere on the battle’s 53rd anniversary,  August 18.

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RARA QLD – eNews 2/2019 April

RARA Queensland’s eNews replaces the previously printed Newsletter “The Spirit”. This is the second quarterly edition.

Enjoy the Read

Vale – Brave Warrior – Ron Perkins 3RAR, Korea, AATTV and Vietnam

It is easy to write of an old soldier such as Ron Perkins who demonstrated strong qualities of life including leadership and love of country. Ron left the army after a very distinguished career including operational service in both Korea and Vietnam.

Even in retirement, supported and encouraged by his ever wonderful and devoted wife, June, he was very much involved in pursuing the interests of fellow veterans. Always to the fore was welfare, promoting pride and camaraderie.  No easy task, given that the aging veterans were scattered over vast distances.

As a soldier of the Third Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, his baptism of fire was in the early days of the Korean War. The many bloody encounters included the historic Battle of Kapyong where his battalion, despite incredible odds, defied the might of an advancing communist army. For this outstanding and seemingly impossible delaying action, the battalion was awarded the most prestigious United States Presidential Unit Citation.

Years later, he was among those few, selected for service in Vietnam with a recently formed unit, the Australian Army Training Team. (AATTV)  Given that this unit received many awards during operations, the term ‘Training’ became very much a misnomer. AATTV was awarded two foreign unit citations, thus Ron became one of a very few at that time to be wearing three foreign unit citations along with his impressive array of other military awards.

Join me as I picture him and his mates, mostly young, and perhaps distant from the front line, camped on reverse slopes, and around a small campfire. There would be laughing, joking and often singing of their favourite songs which included “The wild colonial boy” and another where in loud voice, they claimed they were all illegitimate and preferred vice and sin to fighting for their country. Such was their wry humour.

Then in the morning, these warriors from the land down under, went forward, exposed to winter’s freezing icy winds and snow or summers hot and relentless heat. Always they were heavily laden with weapons, equipment and a blackened tea billy used by the sub unit, dangling from someone’s haversack. Many of them were wearing American boots, combat smocks and balaclavas they had “borrowed” from their American allies. They tramped along unnamed narrow dirt roads toward the fog of war and the unknowns of their tomorrow; always with a sense of purpose and trust in each other as well as confidence in their leaders. Always evident from the commanding officer to the most junior soldier was the immense pride in their unit. They knew who they were and what they were about to do.  

Ron was part of all of this and clearly showed his love of country and a firm belief in our precious way of life.  His pride and affection for his old units never faltered throughout his life.  Years ago, I became aware that when the time came, he would want to bid farewell to each and all of his surviving old comrades on Planet Earth who would still be answering “Present” at roll call and thus this note. 

Have no doubt that he is now part of the growing ghost column which follows behind today’s youngsters who serve in the battalion, who march proudly with their unit’s Colours held high. As he passes the cheering crowds, the Spirit of one of Australia’s best, Ron Perkins, marching with old comrades one more, and will salute his beloved wife and family watching from afar.

Ron’s military history is recorded in this interview in 2003 

                   Vale Brave Warrior

Go seek glory with your deeds from a distant past 
Rest with old comrades at long, long last 
Feel the glowing, peaceful warmth of the campfire 
Singing, laughing and then restful sleep; gone forever any ire 
 

Those fields of war now washed clean of blood, sweat and tears
Yet still the faint cry ‘‘Duty First’’ can be heard each and every year While on Planet Earth, a new generation firmly holds the sacred flame
Brave deeds stitched on sacred cloth, proudly carried high, again and again  

George Mansford April 2019

Vale – Ron Perkins

3

Maurie Pears has advised that sadly Ron Perkins, our distinguished Korean War Veteran comrade and pioneer member of 3 RAR passed away after a long illness at 1900 last night 14th April 2019.

“I have conveyed our condolences to June through Ray Deed, who will notify us of funeral arrangements as soon as available.

He will be sadly missed by all who shared the pleasure of his company.

The members of the Korean War Association are devastated.

Ron was with us at the opening night at Beenleigh RSL and has been a constant attendance each year at Cascade since 2009.

Duty Done. “


Ron’s military history is recorded in this interview in 2003

NEWS PAPER REPORTING – FLOODS IN THE NORTH

This is the front page of the Courier Mail in Queensland on Saturday 9th February.  

Makes you feel very proud of the team. This is “second to none” in any language. Well done!

Gordon Hurford
Secretary
2 RAR Association

Report on the RARA’s 2018 AGM and National Council Meeting

The RAR Association’s AGM and the annual National Council Meeting were conducted in Townsville on 7 and 8 October. All State and Battalion Associations were present. It is interesting to note that the Associations which represent the Battalions no longer on the Order of Battle are generally still strong (2/4 RAR, 4RAR, 5/7RAR, 8 RAR and 9 RAR).

Mike von Berg is the Chair of the National Board and the Directors are Ted Chitham, who is also our hard working secretary, Hori Howard, Pat McIntosh, Trevor Dixon, who is our web master and Phil Thompson who represents our young volunteers. Mike and Phil were re-elected for a further three year term.

It was noted that the RAR Association is highly regarded in national circles. Mike is a member of the Ex Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT) which advises the Federal Government on veterans’ policy. He is also the ESORT’s representative on the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and has recently been appointed to the Strategic Governance Board of the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP) .Phil Thompson represents us on the DVA’s Younger Veterans – Contemporary Needs Forum (YVF) and Clem Russell, our national pensions and compensation advisor, is a member of the DVA Operations Working Party.

Guest speakers were The Hon Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and deputy leader of the House, Major General Mark Kelly, who is the Repatriation Commissioner as well as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment and Ms Liz Cosson, the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. They updated us on what is occurring at national level within the Government, DVA and the Regiment.

Some significant items were:

  • A veteran is now someone who has served for one day.
  • A White Card medical treatment card for mental health issues is now available to anyone who has had one day’s full-time military service.
  • DVA now has details of all those who have served. This will permit quicker responses to claims.
  • 40 medical conditions have been added to the list which requires no additional evidence during the disability claims process.
  • VVCS will be renamed “Open Arms” which is expected to emphasise that it is open to all.

All Associations presented their reports. The main theme was the need to attract younger veterans to our associations. It was reaffirmed that our policy is that those leaving the service should as a matter of priority join their Battalion Associations, but if there happens not to be an active Association in their home state, they should join the State Association so that they can still continue to be members of the RAR family. It was also confirmed that those Associations which had close links with the serving Battalions were the strongest. This is seen as the best way to get through to those leaving the service. RARA support is available to all who have served in the Regiment and their families.

The Queensland Branch of the RAR National Association which manages the RAR National Memorial Walk, presented their report on the RAR Memorial. The Walk, which is located within Enoggera Barracks, is an outstanding tribute to our fallen. It is maintained by RAR volunteers, the Queensland Branch of our Association and serving units from 7 Brigade . The Walk is well worth a visit to anyone who is in Brisbane but patience is required to gain entry to Enoggera Barracks due to the current security level.

There were many items on the RARA’s NCM agenda including the following:

  • Suicide and self-harm – critical group assessment and assistance.
  • Homeless veterans – solutions.
  • Future of the National Memorial Walk.
  • The future of advocacy including delivery.
  • The Productivity Commission inquiry into DVA.
  • Indexation of pensions and superannuation.
  • Incarcerated veterans. Statistics and support.
  • Defence or partnership hub test for those leaving the ADF.
  • Soldier Recovery Program.
  • Transition of ADF families.
  • Conditions of Service including the Workplace Remuneration Arrangements.
  • The need for a Military Covenant between the Government and the ADF.

Issues which were reported on and  discussed included the following:

  • The status and future of the upgrading service at RCB to warlike service.
  • RAR MIAs from the Korean War.
  • The need for a day to commemorate the service of contemporary  veterans.
  • The award of a medal for those wounded in action.
  • The need for our Associations and members to provide feedback on matters requiring advocacy.
  • The need for Associations to be active in the social media space.
  • Mental Health- transition – suicide – employment.
  • Well-being.
  • Veterans Support Organisations “fostered” by the RARA

With the Federal election not too far away we will be working to put together a short list of key issues which we alone and with The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) will put forward to the major parties. We will engage with our Associations in this task and we will ask that they will join us in putting them before their local candidates.

Just some of the contemporary issues are:

  • The exclusion of  the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (trustees of our military superannuation schemes) from the Royal Commission into misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial services industry.
  • The fact that TPI and Special Rate disability compensation payments have not kept up with the cost of living.
  • Superannuation matters including Fair Indexation for all military superannuation payments, MSBS portability and access to employer benefits, removal of MSBS Maximum Benefit Limits and DFRDB Commutation
  • Mental health and Veterans’ suicide.
  • Transition including employment post military service.
  • Support and care for members and former members of the ADF who were involved in the Quinoline anti-malarial drug ‘trial’

The importance of communications in achieving our strategic directions (outlined in our Road Map) was a major topic for discussion. The key priorities determined were to open up membership to all former and current members of the RAR and their families and to enable a simplified, seamless, digital communications network that will allow us to engage with our members.

The weekend was rounded off by a visit to 1 RAR where we witnessed an imaginative program designed to improve marksmanship and urban warfare tactics.

The 2019 meeting is planned for Adelaide.

 

 

The RAR Foundation Bulletin – Issue No 36 – October 2018

From the Chairman Major General Mark Kelly AO DSC

2018 has been a big year for the Foundation. The New Direction for the Foundation was launched with its emphasis on supporting the development of the Regiment and its serving members.
READ THE BULLETIN