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November2006

 

AUSTRALIAN COMMANDOS RECEIVE DECORATIONS FOR GALLANTRY

The Governor General His Excellency MAJ GEN Michael Jeffery, AC, CVO, MC, joined with
Prime Minister of Australia the Hon John Howard, MP, the Hon Dr. Brendan Nelson, MP and the
Chief of the Defence Force ACM Angus Houston AO, AFC, to welcome home Eastern Australia
based members of the Afghanistan Special Forces Task Group (SFTG) in a ceremony at Tobruk Lines,
Holsworthy Barracks on 26 November 2006.

The soldiers, predominantly from the Sydneybased Fourth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
(Commando) (4RAR(Cdo)), formed part of the 200personnel strong SFTG operating in Southern
Afghanistan since late last year.

During the ceremony the GovernorGeneral and Prime Minister praised the professionalism and
courage of the SFTG who were involved in some of the most ferocious fighting since the Vietnam War
during their 12month deployment to Afghanistan.

The dangers faced by the SFTG were highlighted by the presentation of Australia’s first
Star of Gallantry and a Medal for Gallantry to 4RAR(Cdo) members by the Governor General.
Commando Sergeant “A” and Commando Corporal “B” were decorated for gallantry in recognition
of their outstanding actions, leadership and bravery in Afghanistan.

During the awards presentation the GovernorGeneral praised the actions of the two soldiers and
described them as being “in the highest traditions of the Special Operations Command Australia,
the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.”

The GovernorGeneral also announced the awarding of a Unit Citation for Gallantry to combat
elements of the SFTG, whilst the Task Group as a whole has been awarded the Meritorious Unit
Citation.
These awards will be formally presented at a later date. This means that 4RAR (Cdo) has been
awarded two unit citations for the one campaign. 

 

Dear Members ,

I am saddened to report that due to severe medical problems, Bob ‘Yogi’ Pearson has been forced to stand
down as President/ Treasurer of the Association. Bob was our President from 2000 to 2006 and his wife Jan was
of course Mrs President. Jan however preferred to be the quiet achiever, always there.

Bob was a president who like his predecessors, had one aim in life and that was to make a difference in
the way that the 4RAR Association, Queensland presented itself and achieved for its members. Wearing his
treasurers hat he was always concerned about accounting for the Association’s assets, spending money only
if it benefited the members or the Association as a whole. I was always appreciative of his concern and loyalty
to the Association. Although Bob has stood down as President/Treasurer his legacy can be displayed in the
achievements attained by the Association in the past few years.

The 4RAR Assoc, Qld is in fact a misnomer. Because this association as well as being responsible for Qld
members is also responsible for members in Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and overseas. Bob hasn’t
left us completely as he is still on the new committee and his advice will be eagerly sought by those who
now attempt to fill his shoes. The Association has done some great things over the past six years under Bob’s
guidance and it is with some trepidation that the new committee works to maintain and improve that level
of accomplishment. Bob, on behalf of all the members of the 4RAR Associations Australia wide, thank you.
You did make a difference. Well done!

We have had the great fortune to have elected to the committee, unanimously Don Zerner as Vice President,
 Ross McGregor as the new Secretary, Noel Fairley as the new Treasurer, Bob “Spin” Woodbury as our Hospital
Visiting Officer and Bob ”Yogi” Pearson, Derek Firth and Noel Kelly remaining as committee members. I was
fortunate to be voted in as President and will continue as Editor. This is a good team who only have the
interests of the Association and the Battalion at heart and I welcome them to the committee and thank you all
for your confidence.

The Presidents and Committee members of years gone by have steadily worked for the benefit of members
and in assisting the Battalion. In recognition of the efforts of those who unselfishly gave of their time, efforts,
 knowledge and application, 6 members were made Life Members of the Association at the recent Nui Le Dinner
held on 23 September. Those elevated to Life Member with the privilege of the post nominal (LM) were:

Noel Huish OAM, (LM): President 19871996; Allan “Blue’ McLean (LM): President 19962000; Bob “Yogi” Pearson
(LM): President 200006; Max ‘Yogi” Upton (LM) posthumous: Secretary 19872002; and Alan Price (LM): President
198587 and Secretary 20022006;

It also must be taken into consideration that they continue, to contribute and without them, the Association could
not continue to improve.

The winners of the last raffle were Bob Dunn who took out first prize of the statuette donated by Psycho
Hughes just prior to his death and second prize as well. (Bob could have bought the prizes with the number of
tickets that he bought.). Alan Deeth took out third prize. Please support our next raffle which is featured in
Emu Bob on page 4.

It was pleasing to see an excellent attendance at the Nui Le Dinner on 23 September. It was a full night with
addresses elections, and presentation of Life Memberships, but that didn’t seem to upset many members who
stayed until Lights Out and some even until Stand Down the following day.

Our next major function is the commemorative service and birthday celebration at the RAR National Memorial
Walk, Enoggera on Saturday 03 February 2007. See page 11.

The 4RAR Association will be presenting the Dawn Service address at the RARNMW, Enoggera in 2007 and will be
leading the RAR in the Brisbane ANZAC Day march. We would really appreciate it if all available members could
attend on that day. Ladies and children have been requested to march behind the men next year.

Please, when you change your street and email address, let us know. A lot of information is not passed on because
we can’t find you!

I am particularly pleased that the 4RAR Honour Contingent and Project Commando have been accepted by our
members.

On the day prior to going to print we heard of the gallantry a w a r d s t o t h e B at t a l i o n . As a result
Curley’s Diary will reappear in the next issue. May we, on behalf of all our members including those in Tas,
Vic, the NT and overseas, congratulate the Battalion We wish you all a very merry Christmas and of course a
happy, and prosperous New Year. Duty First, Alan

                                                                                                                The Brisbane ANZAC Day Parade

 

 

 

 

 

THE STAR OF GALLANTRY

SERGEANT “A”

For conspicuous gallantry in action and leadership as a Commando Section Commander in the Special Forces
Task Group, whilst deployed on Operation SLIPPER in Afghanistan, 2006.

During the conduct of an operation in Southern Afghanistan in 2006, a combined Coalition Force conducted a
Direct Action mission against a target in the Oruzgan Province. Upon insertion, the assault force, provided by
another Coalition partner, was soon surrounded and suffered two soldiers wounded and one soldier killed in action.

A Commando Reaction Force was deployed and tasked to assist the extraction of the assault force by securing
the helicopter landing zone and covering their withdrawal. As Sergeant “A’s” section was the lead element of
the Commando Reaction Force, he received the most intense weight of fire from the Anti-Coalition Militia.

Upon arrival at the landing zone the Commando Reaction Force immediately came under a heavy weight of
rocket and small arms fire from multiple flanks. Due to the requirement to secure the extraction site, the
Commando Reaction Force held the position for over an hour. Sergeant “A” was responsible for securing the
northern flank, repelling a number of assaults whilst being engaged from ranges as close as 50 metres.

Once the extraction was complete, the Commando Reaction Force began its return to base. The Anti-Coalition
 Militia had anticipated the Commando Reaction Force’s extraction route and had prepared a series of
ambushes to prevent their safe return. As the lead vehicle commander, Sergeant “A” led his section with
distinction and courage. Critically, he was the first to be engaged at each of the ambush locations. In each
instance, Sergeant “A” led his section to assault and clear opposition from the route in a rapid and aggressive
manner, despite the frequent heavy and effective fire. On one occasion, with absolute disregard for his own
safety, Sergeant “A” personally conducted an assault on a machinegun position not more than 30 metres to
his front. This action resulted in the neutralising of the threat from the AntiCoalition Militia allowing the
Commando Reaction Force to continue their manoeuvre.

On at least two other occasions, whilst being engaged from positions as close as five metres and receiving
multiple bullet strikes on his vehicles, Sergeant “A” was forced to fight his way through ambushes by driving
directly through the killing ground, which he did without hesitation. These positions were neutralised through
the use of small arms fire and fragmentation grenades. Through his outstanding leadership and composure
under fire, he successfully manoeuvred his section and led the Commando Reaction Force through several ambush
 locations, returning them to base without injury.

During the operation, Sergeant “A” led his section with distinction, displaying multiple acts of conspicuous
gallantry whilst in combat with the AntiCoalition Militia over a protracted period of time. His actions directly
contributed to the success of the mission and ultimately the safe return of the Commando Reaction Force.
His conspicuous gallantry in action was of the highest order and is in keeping with the finest traditions of Special
Operations CommandAustralia, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

The Star of Gallantry with the post nominal SG, was introduced on 15 January 1991 and prior to the award to
Sergeant “A” had not been awarded previously. It is awarded for acts of great heroism or gallantry in action.
 It is second only to the Victoria Cross. This award is another first in the proud history of 4RAR.

 

THE MEDAL FOR GALLANTRY

                               CORPORAL “B”

For gallantry and leadership in action as a Commando Team Commander, of the Special Forces Task Group whilst
deployed on Operation SLIPPER, in Afghanistan in 2006.

During the conduct of an operation, Corporal “B’s” commando platoon was tasked to carry out the clearance
of an AntiCoalition Militia sanctuary in the Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. The platoon was partnered in support
of a Coalition infantry company. At approximately 1pm the infantry company came under heavy rocket propelled
grenade and small arms fire on multiple flanks resulting in six wounded and one soldier killed in action, effectively
halting their advance. Through thick vegetation, facing large numbers of dispersed AntiCoalition Militia and
under heavy fire, the commando platoon commenced manoeuvring to provide assistance to the element
which was pinned down. During this move, the commando platoon received a volley of four rockets which
impacted in the centre of the platoon’s position resulting in six Australian soldiers wounded in action. Unknown
to the Commander at the time, Corporal “B” had also been wounded in the foot by fragmentation from the rocket
 propelled grenade barrage.

In order to regain the initiative, Corporal “B’s” team was tasked by the Commando Platoon Commander to
assault forward and clear a group of compounds from which they were receiving AntiCoalition Militia fire.
Under these daunting conditions Corporal “B” commenced this task without hesitation, completing a rapid and
aggressive clearance of numerous threat compounds. Once achieved, Coalition elements were free to continue
with the battle providing the necessary time to effect the back loading of the wounded by helicopter to the
Forward Operating Base.

Throughout the afternoon, numerous and relentless probing attacks by a determined opponent followed.
Corporal “B” displayed extraordinary leadership and courage, inspiring his team and the remainder of the
commando platoon to repel the continued attacks. He then successfully led a team to infiltrate the AntiCoalition
Militia held territory killing several AntiCoalition Militia. Only after the engagement had been completed and the
threat to the platoon subsided did Corporal “B” inform his Commander of the fragmentation wound that he had
 sustained during the original contact earlier that day. Corporal “B” was then evacuated to the Casualty Collection
Point where he was provided with medical treatment and later extracted.

Corporal “B’s” actions as a Commando Team Commander were testament to his leadership, fortitude and sense of
 duty to his team and the platoon. His determination to continue to lead his team during the battle in
extremely hazardous circumstances despite being wounded ensured that the commando platoon regained the
initiative and contributed significantly to a decisive victory. His gallantry and leadership in the face of the
enemy has been of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of Special Operations Command
Australia, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

The Medal for Gallantry with the post nominal MG, was introduced on 15 January 1991. It is awarded for acts of gallantry
in action and ranks third after the Victoria Cross. This award is another first in the proud history of 4RAR.

Introduction to the 4RAR Association, Qld Honour Contingent project. Other state associations and members of
4RAR (Cdo) and their families are invited to participate. Thirty families so far have joined Introduction.

The 4RAR Association, Qld Honour Contingent is dedicated to keeping alive the names, memories, deeds and
histories of those of the battalion who have fallen in battle or who have since died of any cause. This is done by
a family member, descendent, representative or volunteer wearing a 4RAR Honour Plaque in memory and honour
of, a 4RAR deceased veteran.

The Project encourages families, especially children, to develop an interest in their own family history, the history
of the Battalion and the history of our nation. The project enables descendents and friends of our fallen and
departed to participate in community, school and Battalion remembrance and commemorative services as a
personal representative of a 4RAR war or service veteran who has sadly passed away. Activities include, but are
not restricted to, ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, 4RAR Association activities and other commemorative services.

 

How much does it cost? The total cost for each plaque is $8.00 including postage.

What if we do not have a relative or friend who served in 4RAR, but would still like our family to honour a veteran
and participate? Easy….You may select a member by name, by campaign, or period of service or, have a veteran
allocated for you by the committee. You will still be required to purchase an Honour Plaque. You may not know of
the veteran but it is the representation itself that is important. A resume of the veteran’s service and a description
 of his displayed medal ribbons will accompany each plaque.

Can all members of my family including my children, wear an Honour Plaque for the same veteran? Yes, it is
common for several people to wear an Honour Plaque for the same veteran, but you must order multiple copies
and pay the calculated costs.

Can one person represent more than one veteran? No, only one Honour Plaque may be worn at any one time.

My children and I have friends who would like to honour a 4RAR veteran; may they do this and march on
ANZAC Day? Yes,

May we, representing a 4RAR veteran, march with the 4RAR Association contingent on ANZAC Day? Yes,
participating 4RAR associations in capital cities will organise this but prior approval may need to be granted by
local representatives or ANZAC Day organising committees such as RSL or local councils in other areas.

What happens to the Honour Plaques when they are not in use? They are kept by you.

Must I attend meetings or pay annual fees? No, but you do become an Associate Member, if not already a member
and you will be invited to attend 4RAR Association conducted activities and where appropriate, child members
may attend.

May I purchase additional Honour Plagues to complement a family tree, photo album or to use as a keepsake? Yes,
it is common for families to do this.

If I wish to participate in the 4RAR Honour Project, what do I do next? Simply contact Maureen Price at :

4RAR Assoc, Qld Honour Contingent 11 Dellforest Drive Calamvale Qld 4116 Tel: (07) 3273 7973
Email: apriced4@bigpond.net.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did not write the following but I wish that I had because it
epitomises what our Battalion has forever been and
what every member of 4RAR, present and past has been attempting
to say about our Battalion.

‘An Infantry battalion at battle strength is made up of about six
hundred men, but six hundred men do not make a battalion. The
six hundred men have to learn the soldiers’ trades and disciplines.
Even then they are not a battalion. An effective
battalion in being ready to fight implies a state of mind – I am not sure
if it is not a state of grace. It implies a
giving and a taking, a sharing of almost everything; possessions, comfort,
 affection, trust, confidence and interest. It implies a certain restriction, and at the same time a certain enriching and widening of the
human spirit. It implies doing a hundred things together: marching to
the band, marching all night long; being hungry, thirsty, exhausted, filthy; being near but never quite mutinous.
It involves not the weakening but the deferment of other bonds and interests; the acceptance that life and home are now with the battalion. In the end it is possible to say, “the battalion thinks’ or, “the battalion feels’ and this is not an exaggeration.’

(Gullet, Henry, Not as Duty Only: An Infantryman’s War, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1976.)

The inaugural Nui Le Dinner conducted at the 6RAR Long Tan Sergeants’ Mess at Enoggera was a total success and in turn characteristic of the quotation by Henry Gullet. Over eighty members attended representing all service and campaigns of 4RAR.

Guests included the OC D Coy 4RAR (Cdo) and his lovely wife, The President of the RAR Association, Qld Branch,
 Lt Col Ted Chitham MC and the now Mrs Karyn Chitham. Ted and Karyn were married on 11 November and we
all wish you both a very happy life together. Our Association later presented Karyn and Ted with a family crested
matching pair of tea spoons. Also in attendance as guestswere Mrs Mary Anne White, the Helensvale State
Primary School Liaison Officer for Project Commando and Mr White, Mrs Trish Hansen, the wonderful lady who
 sends ANZAC biscuits and Christmas cakes to our 4RAR (Cdo) warriors overseas and SGT Frank N. Stein.
Addresses were presented by Noel Huish OAM on the origin of SSGT Frank N. Stein, by OC D Coy 4RAR (Cdo)
on the Battalion’s efforts in East Timor and by Gary McKay MC on the battle of Nui Le. Presentations of a
4RAR (Cdo) plaque were made to Mrs Trish Hansen and to the Helensvale State Primary School. Bob Pearson
was also presented with a statuette as thanks for his service as President and Jan received some beautiful red
roses in appreciation of her service.

 

Alec Illin

Please thank the committee for a wonderful and informative newsletter. I consistently look forward to
receiving the Fighting Fourth as it keeps me updated on all valuable information on the best battalion. I express
 my sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. I also hope that Jock Richardson and John
McGhee are feeling better because we will all be looking forward to Jock buying us a beer. Many thanks to you
all and keep up the good and happy work.

Anne Green (Sister of Sammy Grahame KIA SVN 31 Jan 69)

It was great to talk to you after 31 years since Sammy was KIA. Thank you very much for the newsletters. We
had a lovely day in Batemans Bay on Vietnam Veterans Day. I led the march and the MC read a few details
about Samuel. It was a hard day for me but I felt so proud. I am going to try and make the 2008 reunion. Many
thanks for everything.

Robert Sims

Thank you for the newsletter. I did not know that 4RAR existed. It’s good to know that they do and are
Commando—well done! I was a forward scout in 11 Platoon and fought in the battle of Nui Le. It was bigger
than Ben Hur yet it never gets a mention. It’s beyond me! (It does now Bob; Ed) Look forward to the next
Fighting Fourth.

Des Blazely

Anne and I are propped on the Murchison River for two months playing golf and bowls. Heading for 9RAR reunion at Perth mid Nov 96 and will be back home around Easter 07. Special g’day to Don Zerner whom I haven’t seen since relieving him as Chief Clerk 8/9RAR in 86. Kindest regards to all.

John McGhee

John is still not coping too well . He is in Greenslopes at the moment but may be moved to a new nursing
home shortly. Bob Pearson, Bob Still, Rusty Reeves, Steve Young, Scobie Beasley and Peter Webber have been in contact with him and he is in good spirits.

Brian Avery

Brian had a hip replacement operation in the first week in November and he is recovering quite well.

Paddy Muir

Remember Paddy Muir, our first pay sergeant? His daughter Kathy is still desirous of finding out all she can about
her father who passed away in 1990. Kathy would be grateful for any photos, information, or anecdotes about
her father, good and bad. Please contact: Kathy Murray on (07) 3807 2787 or murrayk@iprimus.com.au

Gary Todd

Thanks for the Newsletter, a great read. Am going to WA in a few weeks to meet up with Toad Fletcher.

Mrs Lisa Mountney

My children attend Helensvale Primary School and I must congratulate you on your project involving the children
with your soldiers serving overseas. My children are grandchildren of a 4RAR soldier and I cannot think of a
nicer way to show our appreciation for our soldiers. Keep up the good work, you are a credit to our soldiers
and you make me proud to be an Australian.

The 2008 Melbourne reunion is gaining momentum with the Victorian Reunion Committee working
hard to ensure that this reunion will be the best of all. Over 600 hundred members and wives have registered so
far. A non refundable registration fee of $30 is required. To request a registration form please contact :

The Secretary, Joe Tite

(03) 9435 5726 or fayeandjoe.tite@bigpond.com

The agenda for the reunion is:

Monday 28 January 2008 Registration Tuesday 29 January 2008 Tours Wednesday 30 January 2008 Photographs and
BBQ at the Shrine of Remembrance Thursday 31 January 2008 Tours Friday 01 February 2008 Battalion Birthday
Parade, church service and

Battalion Dinner at the Carlton Crest Hotel. (Formal dress, miniatures)

The team has access to some well priced hotels, motels and caravan parks. Contact Joe as soon as possible or go
to: www.zunta.com then, Useful Links then, 4RAR Reunion 2008 (Melb)

Have you received your AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MEDAL or PINJAT JASA MALAYSIA ? If so, you will need to have
them mounted. Who better to mount them for you properly and in the correct order than Alan Deeth? Alan is a
qualified tailor and was our unit tailor during our first tour of South Vietnam. You must remember Alan, he was
the first Army tailor ‘ordered’ to cut the cuffs off JG shirts so that the folded sleeves could be ironed flat
(an offence both civil and military). He was lucky that the RSM didn’t find out!!! He was also the one who
made our medal ribbons in South Vietnam so that we could wear them as soon as we got home.

Please contact Alan:

Mr Alan Deeth 38 Delaney Circuit CARINDALE QLD 4125

(07) 3849 1125 uncleal@tpg.com.au

THE FOURTH BATTALION, THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT ASSOCIATION, QUEENSLAND

PLEASE ADDRESS ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO:

The Secretary 4RAR Assoc, Qld PO Box 802 Aspley Qld 4034 Email: 4rarassocqld@gmail.com

President/Editor Vice President Secretary Treasurer Committee        

(07)
3273 7973 ........Alan Price

(07)
3264 3939 ......Don Zerner

(07)
3882 2678 ......Ross McGregor

(07)
3856 2490 .....Noel Fairley

(07)
3341 5404 .....Derek Firth

(07)
3275 2589 .....Noel Kelly

(07)
3312 4884 .....Bob Pearson

(07)
3344 3229 ....Bob Woodbury

(03)
6395 6288 ....Allan Wood (Tas)

If undeliverable return to:

4RAR Assoc, Qld PO BOX 802 ASPLEY QLD 4034

The Fighting Fourth 20 November 2006

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