Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 9 2009 Contents 22
CDF salutes VC winner
The Chief of the Defence Force, air Chief
Marshal angus Houston, saluted Trooper
Mark Donaldson, VC when he was awarded
a Victoria Cross on 16 January – australia’s
highest military honour and the country’s first
in almost 40 years.
Trooper Donaldson, VC was awarded his
Victoria Cross for acts of bravery in Afghanistan.
His actions ensured the safety of his comrades,
and saved the life of a coalition force interpreter.
Tradition holds that even the most senior
military officers salute a Victoria Cross recipient,
as a sign of respect for their act of gallantry.
Air Chief Marshal Houston said it was his
honour to salute Trooper Donaldson.
Trooper Donaldson said he couldn’t be more
proud as a soldier following his investiture.
“I don’t really feel any different to being me,
to being a dad and being a soldier and being a
mate,” he said.
same-sex discrimination ends
same-sex discrimination was removed
from a range of Commonwealth laws
relevant to aDF members. The changes
removed discrimination in areas including
social security, taxation, Medicare, veteran’s
affairs, workers’ compensation, and
The changes made by the Same-
Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in
Commonwealth Laws – Superannuation)
Act 2008 ensure that same-sex couples are no
longer denied the payment of death benefits
from superannuation schemes, or the tax
concessions on death benefits, currently made
available to opposite-sex couples.
Defence helps Victoria
rise from the ashes
Just hours after australia’s most devastating
firestorm tore through large parts of Victoria in
early February, Defence was there.
In the weeks that followed, more than 600
personnel provided specialist and emergency
support to hundreds as part of Defence’s
coordinated relief effort, Operation Vic Fire Assist.
Under the watchful command of Brigadier
(BRIG) Michael Arnold, the Joint Task Force (JTF)
included full-time and Reserve members, primarily
from the Army’s 4 Brigade.
Major contributing units also included the
4 Combat Engineer Regiment, 22 Construction
Regiment, 4 Combat Service Support Battalion,
108 Signals Squadron and 4/19 Prince of Wales’s
Light Horse Regiment. BRIG Arnold said it was
challenging two weeks for his soldiers.
“They quickly adapted to the significant
demands of the task and have interacted extremely
well with the police, who’ve been leading the
search, and the local residents of the affected
communities,” BRIG Arnold said.
Insect vision a guiding force for
studying how insects see and navigate
resulted in a smart weapon seeker and
guidance technology, developed by the
Defence science and Technology Organisation
with the support of several small-to-medium
enterprises under the Capability and
Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program.
The Bioseeker technology has a range of
possible defence applications, including enhancing
the capability of the rocket on the Aussie Tiger
Helicopter, various air delivered weapons and
shoulder launched or mortar-based land weapons.
new head of
Future submarine Program
Rear admiral (RaDM) Rowan Moffitt was
appointed to the new position of Head Future
submarine Program in Defence Materiel
The future submarine is planned to replace
the Collins class submarine commencing in 2025.
RADM Moffitt commenced duties on 23
February and reports to the Chief Executive Officer
of DMO, Dr Stephen Gumley, and will lead a
combined Navy, DMO and Capability Development
Group Future Submarine Project Office.
The year began with
the sombre news that
Gregory Michael sher
had been tragically killed
on 4 January following a
rocket attack in Oruzgan
Province in afghanistan.
A member of the Sydney-based 1st Command
Regiment, PTE Sher was with a Special Operations
Task Group element that had deployed from Tarin
Kowt to a provincial patrol base.
“Greg epitomised the characteristics all soldiers
strive for: he was brave, loyal and determined.
Greg was a quiet achiever who never sought praise
or recognition for his work. He will be fondly
remembered and deeply missed,” Special Operations
Commander Major General Tim McOwan said.
skills passed to the
afghan national army
about 50 members of the afghan national
army (ana) completed training in the vital role
of combat engineering support, conducted by
the australian Mentoring and Reconstruction
Task Force in afghanistan.
Corporal Michael Cole from 1st Combat
Engineering Regiment (1CER) was an instructor on
the graduating course and said the engineering
capability will be of lasting benefit, especially in
terms of providing the ANA with the skills base to
continue its own training.
7 RaR deployable ahead
The 7th Battalion of the Royal australian
Regiment (7 RaR) achieved a major milestone
in its growth to a full infantry battalion well
before the directed timeframe of 2010.
7 RAR was raised in Darwin in January 2007,
as the first of two battalions to be raised under the
Enhanced Land Force (ELF) initiative. The battalion will
relocate from Darwin to Adelaide in 2011 and continue
to grow to a full mechanised battalion by 2013.
The second additional battalion – 8th/9th
Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR)
was also raised in Brisbane in October 2007, and
will be a motorised infantry battalion, using the
Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles.
Changing of Command
With the new year came two notable
changes of command.
On 12 January, the Command of Joint Task
Force 633 in the Middle East was passed from
Major General Mike Hindmarsh to Major General
Closer to home, Commodore David Gwyther
was appointed the new Commander, Northern
Command (COMNORCOM) – the ADF’s operations
in Australia’s north and northern approaches as
directed by the Commander Joint Operations.
Commodore Gwyther succeeded Air
Commodore Ian Meyn who had been in charge of
Northern Command since February 2007.
arunta rescues Frenchman
The crew of the Royal australian navy ship
HMas arunta rescued a badly-injured skipper
of a yacht in the Indian Ocean earlier this
year, approximately 850 nautical miles off the
Western australian coast.
Frenchman Yann Elies was competing in the
round-the-world Vendee Globe yacht race when he
suffered a broken femur. At the time of the rescue,
race officials had classed Mr Elies as being in a
Using a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, specially-
trained crew from Arunta extracted Mr Elies from
his yacht, Generali.
Shortly after the rescue, the ship’s Commanding
Officer, Commander Stephen Bowater said his crew
displayed exceptional professionalism during the
two days to reach the French sailor.
2009 In reVIew
– the understatement of 2009
defence magazine ›
e we? AlsoInsIde
The people of Defence, of the Austral ian Defence Force, are a world-class
group of professionals. They are the m ost v al uable capability of a modern
defence force. Theirs is our nation’s highest calling. S upporting them is one
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