Army Newspaper Edition 1421 – 14 June 18

The latest edition of Army News is now available to view online:

RECOGNITION: Soldiers receive Queen’s Birthday honours for going above and beyond the call of duty. – Pages 2-3

AIR SUPPORT: Exercise Predator’s Walk marks first time RAAF C-27J Spartan works with Army combat brigade. – Pages 4-5

COMBINED ARMS: 7 Bde demonstrates its lethality during Exercise Diamond Strike. – Centre

 And in sport:

SPIRIT: Soldiers compete against allied wounded, injured and ill athletes at the Warrior Games. – Pages 23-24

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2018 Major Events

Members and Friends of the RARA SA.

We are ready to take bookings for a number of major events occurring in 2018.

On Saturday 23 June we will have our annual Regimental Dinner.  This event is fully booked.

We will also be having an Italian night on Friday 12 October.  Again, food will be only $10.

On Friday 23 November, we will be combining a the Regimental Birthday with Xmas drinks for our friends.  Again this is going to be externally catered by Cheryl’s Cuisine at a cost of $10 per head, but free for our invited guests.

Finally, or Friday 14 December, we will have our Xmas party for members with a BBQ.

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Introduction of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018

 The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Darren Chester MP, introduced yesterday the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018 into the House of Representatives. 

If you would like to access the Bill and Explanatory Memorandum, they can be found on the Parliament House website at:  

In addition, DVA’s legislation web page contains explanations of each of the measures in the Bill: 

Briefly, the Bill contains six measures:

  1. Incapacity stepdown: pay former Australian Defence Force members’ incapacity payments at 100 per cent of their Normal Weekly Earnings while they are undertaking full time study as part of an approved rehabilitation program.
  2. Suicide Prevention Pilot: provide intensive support to those who have attempted suicide, are experiencing a suicidal crisis or are at risk of suicide following their discharge from hospital.
  3. MRCA wholly dependent partners: give wholly dependent partners under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) 2 years instead of 6 months to decide how they would like to take their compensation.
  4. Long Tan Bursary: amend the Long Tan Bursary Scheme to provide financial support for the education of the grandchildren of a Vietnam veteran who has operational service in Vietnam.
  5. Submarine Special Operations: deem a submariner who has served on a Submarine Special Operation between 1 January 1978 and 31 December 1992 to have rendered operational service for any time they were on a submarine between these periods.
  6. MRCA compensation claim: remove the requirement for a claim for compensation under the MRCA to be made in writing (it will be able to be made orally.


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Veteran support program gets leg up from DTC and Uni SA

You can read about it here


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Latest Photos from the RARA SA

Greek Night – 4 May 18.

A highly successful evening with more than 65 guests enjoying a feast provided by Tim, Tas, Con & Sia.

and the 3RARA SA Quiz Day – 6 May 18

Photos courtesy of Jeff & Carol

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Anzac Day 2018


A selection of photos, all self-explanatory

And, 7RAR Parading

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Kapyong/Korea Commemoration Service at RARA SA HQ

Troops, young and old

Kapyong_Kore Service 2018

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April 2018 Edition of the Infantryman

This is the current issue of the Infantryman

Infantryman final 2 March 2018

Below is December 2017

Infantryman December 2017 Dec 4

Below is the August 2017 issue

Infantryman August 2017

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Baria Remembered

An interesting article via Mal, courtesy of Mr Thai Dang and Ricochet

Baria remembered

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RARA SA Wine Tasting 25 March 2018

What a great afternoon of eating drinking and generally making merry with wonderful friends along with our two very learned wine experts in William Smidmore and Mike von Berg.  Of course without the wonderful team of workers who made it all happen and come together  and of course the Caterers who did a fabulous job and making life a little easier for the team – if I mention names then sure as eggs somebody will be left out and we cannot let that happen.    

So a great day had by all. Cheers. Mrs. Vice (aka Lynn Graham)

And photos – courtesy of Penelope & Bruce Forster – below, as always, click on photos for better viewing and captions.


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Colonel Don Beard

Esteemed elder of the RARA SA Colonel Don Beard AM RFD ED has provided an interesting article and a number of photos of  his time in Japan and Korea.  Another esteemed elder, Colonel Peter Scott, has provided the captions.  You may have to rotate a couple of the photos whilst viewing.

Article by Colonel Don Beard AM RFD ED

L to R Major Don Beard, Medical Officer BCOF Hospital Kure, Randolph Churchill visiting journalist, Jean Irvine, Nurse in BCOF Hospital, Kure, circa 1950

Stretcher Bearers of 3RAR carrying casualty through the snow. Captain Don Beard RMO 3RAR Somewhere at the rear. Probably during early 1951.

Likely 3RAR soldiers cleaning weapons in Korea circa 1951

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RARA SA Regimental Dinner 19 Aug 2017

Here are a few photos of our highly successful dinner.  As always, by selecting a photo you will be able to view a better photo as well as the caption for it.

And some nostalgic memories of our May 2013 Regimental Dinner


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Vietnam remembers 50 years after Tet Offensive

Courtesy of VN Express

Vietnam remembers victory and losses 50 years after Tet Offensive

By Manh Tung, Tuyet Nguyen, Tran Duy   January 30, 2018 | 01:55 pm GMT+7

Vietnam remembers victory and losses 50 years after Tet Offensive

Bay Son talks about the Tet Offensive attacks in 1968, where he lost 16 comrades. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tran

Heroic memories are accompanied by pain and guilt, say veterans who lost hundreds of comrades.

Half a century since his troops helped land heavy blows on key U.S. bases in Saigon, Bay Son still carries the guilt of not being able to find his dead comrades.

One morning in late January 2018, he woke up in a room at Thong Nhat Hospital, a treatment facility for high-ranking officials and veterans in Ho Chi Minh City.

His daughter-in-law pushed his wheelchair into the corridor, which was bathed in sunlight.

He gave a newspaper to a former comrade who was already sitting there, showing him a piece about the Tet Offensive in 1968.

Vietnam is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attacks that changed the Vietnam War. Banners, exhibitions and media reports can be seen everywhere.

Son, 93, remembers the victory with pain.

“My brothers, Five, Seven, Ten…,” he said, referring to his former comrades by their code names. For confidentiality reasons, he only knew them by these names, and they fought wearing masks to hide their faces too.

“16 people died at the U.S. embassy and I never knew who they were or where they came from,” Son said.

“After the attack, I tried to look for their remains but I could not find them. I will owe this debt of blood to my brothers for the rest of my life.”

Surprise attacks

The Tet Offensive in 1968 stuns the U.S.-backed South Vietnam regime, targeting more than 100 sites across southern Vietnam. Photo by AFP

The Tet Offensive in 1968 stunned the U.S.-backed South Vietnam regime, targeting more than 100 sites across southern Vietnam. Photo by AFP

The Tet Offensive was launched on January 30, the first day of Vietnam’s Lunar New Year in 1968. More than 80,000 soldiers from the north and the Vietnam National Liberation Front (NLF) launched surprise attacks on more than 100 cities and outposts throughout southern Vietnam.

Saigon, then the capital of the south, and the former imperial city of Hue were transformed into fierce urban battlegrounds. The attacks came at a crucial time when most U.S.-backed southern soldiers had gone home for the Tet holiday, and the anti-war movement at home had caused distractions and divisions in the American leadership.

Son was then chief adviser of the NLF’s elite Special Forces Unit.

He had been preparing the campaign to attack crucial targets in Saigon, including South Vietnam’s presidential palace (now the Independence Palace), its radio and television stations, the Navy Command office, its police and prisons.

A week before the attack, Vo Van Kiet, who was in command of the communist forces in Saigon and the surrounding areas, suggested they add the U.S. embassy to the list of targets.

Sparing the embassy would have meant no attack, said Kiet, who was Prime Minister of Vietnam between 1991 and 1997.

Son said the offensive had been three years in the planning, but they did not have much time for actual preparation. The U.S. forces were hundreds of times bigger than Vietnam in terms of financial backing, personnel and technology.

He personally took 16 young soldiers to the city center three days before Tet, and they were all eager and ready to fight, “even it if kills us”.

On Lunar New Year’s Eve, nearly half of the South Vietnam forces were off duty, but there were still many patrolling the streets.

On the evening of the first day of Tet, the order was delivered.

At 2 a.m. on the second day of Tet, a battalion fired eight mortars at Tan Son Nhat Airport, signaling the start of the attacks.

The 16-strong team from the Special Forces Unit entered the U.S. embassy, firing rifles and killing two American guards.

They blasted through a wall using explosives and marched on inside.

The U.S. sent more troops and a helicopter to fight back.

After six hours, 15 members of the unit had been killed, while the other was arrested. Among the casualties was Vinh, a 17-year-old boy who had planned to return home to get married.

Despite the losses, the mission was considered a success.

Gunfire was heard at other major American offices in Saigon, and similar attacks were launched in major towns across the southern region.

The Saigon regime later reported 371 soldiers were killed in the attacks between January 30 and February 4, 1968. It said 23 others were missing, 997 were injured and 1,041 weapons were lost.

The NLF’s Special Forces Unit also lost 67 soldiers – 41 killed and the others arrested.

The battalion that attacked Tan Son Nhat airport lost at least 380 fighters and the remains of more than half of them have not been found.

Bui Hong Ha, an artillery veteran, said that it was “painful” to leave his dead comrades behind and not be able to even bury them.

“There’s no winners or losers in a war. We all lost,” Ha said.

Son shared his mixed feelings, although he said the attacks were something they had to do to have a political impact.

And that they did.

Historians see the Tet Offensive as a major turning point in the Vietnam War, which forced the U.S. to change its strategy from defeating the North to finding a way to withdraw.

The Tet Offensive is widely seen as a turning point of the Vietnam War. Photo by AFP

The Tet Offensive is widely seen as a turning point in the Vietnam War. Photo by AFP

James Willbanks, director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and an officer who served in Vietnam, said the attacks had a strong impact on the American public. They were shocked and lost confidence in President Lyndon B. Johnson, who then replaced his defense secretary and fired William Westmoreland, the commander of the U.S. forces during the Vietnam War.

On March 31, 1968, he announced he would not be seeking a second term in office, and suspended bombings in North Vietnam.

In May 1968, Johnson sat down to negotiate with Hanoi in Paris.

The U.S. withdrawal caused widespread conflict and depression among the Saigon forces.

After the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973, the U.S. withdrew all its forces, paving the way for the assault in spring of 1975 and the end of the Vietnam War.


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Decimation of the Engineer Patrol

February 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968, widely accepted as the turning point of that War.

During that time the Australian Army engaged in joint operations with NZ and American troops and, for the first time, North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong forces attacked an understrength Australian Fire Support Base, code named Andersen, set up near Bien Hoa.

The history books have for too long ignored the battle at Fire Support Base Andersen, probably because the Commander of the Australian Force Vietnam at the time, Major General Arthur MacDonald, saw the results (ie small number of Enemy dead) as ‘not spectacular’. Body count was his measure of success, and the sacrifice of his Diggers (Infantry, Artillery and Engineers) and their families of apparent little consequence.

 One of the most tragic outcomes of the battle was the decimation of an Australian Army Engineer patrol (acting as Infantry) outside of the base; four sappers were killed on one night (two more a month later) and three wounded, that is, of the section of ten, nine became casualties. The battle was a precursor to battles at FSB Coral and Balmoral but fails to get proper recognition in the history books, even those covering sapper history.

 I have interviewed and corresponded with a number of Commanders and Soldiers who were there at Andersen (including COL John Kemp AM, OC 1 Field Sqn at the time) and have compiled their story into an article title ‘A Night in the Year of the Monkey’, copy attached. This full article formed the basis of a story that appeared in condensed form in Edition 30 of the Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association’s Holdfast Newsletter No. 30. 

The sapper survivors of FSB Andersen, particularly those from 3 Troop 1 Field Squadron RAE, are living treasures within our Corps.

Yours sincerely, 

Peter Scott

Sapper, 1 Field Sqn RAE, SVN 1969-70

Foundation Member, Vietnam Tunnel Rats Assn Inc.

You can read the article here FSB ANDERSEN A NIGHT OF THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY 1968

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Members 2017 Xmas Party

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7RAR – Freedom of the City – 8 September 17

Below are a selection of photos of 7RAR’s parade and march through Adelaide.  As ever, click on the photo for improved viewing.

7RAR 2ic Major Scott Golden with Certificate granting Freedom of the City



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Two Items Worth Revisiting

Click on the image for improved viewing, 1967 I think.


Join Army

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Long Tan Day 2017

See a selection of photos taken at the Long Tan Day Service held at the Torrens Parade Ground.  As always, click on the photos for improved viewing and captions.


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RCB Update

Please view the latest news on the RCB campaign here RCB Update

There is an extensive history to this campaign under the Advocacy tab (above).

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Latest Issue of Holdfast for July 2017, Issue No 31

Here is the latest Holdfast.  In this edition, there are numerous excellent articles and photos including one of 5 RAR’s Sergeant Rod Lees after the mine incident in June 1969 – the photo was supplied by Rod.

There is a very interesting article about FSB Andersen during February 1968.  Many of our 3RAR comrades will remember this Operation

Here is the link to the Tunnel Rats Newsletter page

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