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.

1.   Our first major event is a Wine Tasting Afternoon on Sunday 25 March, from noon till 4pm.  It is fully catered meal prepared by Rob’s Roasts.  The wine selection will be made by our President, Mike von Berg.  For those who have attended in the past you will recall that Mike has offered up some excellent wine choices and they have been very enjoyable afternoons.   Cost for food will be $10 each.  Bookings are essential.

2.  We will be reviving our Greek Night on Friday 4 May.   Tim Kara and family will be doing the catering.  They have excelled in the past.  Food will only cost $10 each.

3.   On Saturday 23 June we will have our annual Regimental Dinner, again catered by Hand Made Catering.  These have always been hugely successful events, just look at the photos on this website.  Cost will be $65.  Payment in advance essential.

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

5.   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.

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

To help with catering, please send and email to rar01@internode.on.net and in the subject line input “Booking”, then indicate the event which you would like to attend, and the number of people  attending.  We would appreciate an early response to the first 3 events.

 

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Army Newspaper Edition 1413 – 22 February 18

The latest edition of Army News is now available to view online: www.defence.gov.au/news/armynews

SHOW OF FORCE: Special Air Service Regiment soldiers demonstrate counterterrorism tactics for regional leaders. – PAGES 1 and 7

SETTING THE AGENDA: Commanders lay out their priorities for the year.–pages 2-3

MAJOR MILESTONE: Task Group Taji trainers’ significant achievement with more than 30,000 Iraqi soldiers trained since 2015. – CENTRE 

And in sport:

SUPERSTARS: Soldiers begin their AFL Women’s season with a bang. – PAGE 22

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CALLS TO INCLUDE CSC IN BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY ROYAL COMMISSION

Further to the CSC in Banking etc

 Dear ADSO Members,

All will undoubtedly recall that late last year we issued a joint ADSO/RSL Media Statement calling on the Government to amend the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference into Banking and Super to include an examination of the military superannuation funds administered by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

Well, this afternoon, representing ADSO as a whole, I was invited, along with the National President RSL, to the Shadow DVA Minister’s office for a preview of what the Opposition planned to do in that regard. As we found out, their decision was to proactively support the joint advocacy of ADSO/RSL to include CSC in the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference by way of formally writing to both the Treasurer and to the Minister for Veterans Affair – copies of those letters are below.

Media Release Rishworth 8Feb18

Rishworth Letters 8Feb18

Alf Jaugietis

 

Dear ADSO Members,

Below is a copy of the covering email I’ll be sending out along with the Joint RSL/ADSO Media Statement very soon. Everything should be out in cyberspace to the media plus all Federal politicians around 1400. The Statement will be posted on the ADSO web site sometime this afternoon as well. As they deem appropriate, ADSO Alliance partners are cordially requested to do the same on individual Association sites.

Also attached herein are a series of suggested dot points that could be used to start conversations among your members and potentially with local politicians as and when opportunities arise. Your Association members who may have experienced issues with CSC should be encouraged to provide feedback comments via email to either info@veteranclawback.com.au or ComSuper-Military Entitlements at pb250571@gmail.com.

More details here  Joint RSL_ADSO Media Statement 18Jan18DFWA Dot Points

 

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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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December 2017 Edition of the Infantryman

This is the current issue of the Infantryman

Infantryman December 2017 Dec 4

Below is the August 2017 issue

Infantryman August 2017

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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

7RAR_Certificate1

 

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Two Items Worth Revisiting

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

PayRates

Join Army

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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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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.

http://tunnelrats.com.au/pdfs/newsletters/Holdfast-31.pdf

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

http://tunnelrats.com.au/pdfs/newsletters/Holdfast-30.pdf

Here is the link to the Tunnel Rats Newsletter page

http://tunnelrats.com.au/newnewsletters.php

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The Casualty List

The Casualty List has been off line for some time, here it is revived.

Note by clicking on the sub-headings, unit or coy/pl for example, you can then filter your searches.

http://www.thecasualtylist.com/

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Infantryman Editions

Here is the April 2017 edition Infantryman April 2017

You can view the November 2016 edition here Infantryman November final 16.11.2016

the August 2016 edition here Infantryman August

and the April 2016 edition here Infantryman+April+2016

There are numerous excellent articles and a list of activities at HQ for the foreseeable future.

Archived Infantryman are under the Infantryman tab.

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Pocket Book for National Servicemen

Courtesy of the 5RAR website, here is some historical information which may help revive a number of fading memories

http://www.5rar.asn.au/history/information-book-for-nashos.pdf

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7RAR Presentation to RARA SA

The RSM and CO of 7RAR presented a flag to the RARA SA on 14 December 2016.  This flag represents one of the 7RAR soldiers Killed In Action and was flown over the 7RAR base in Iraq during September 2016.

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2016 RARA SA Xmas Show

A number of photos to view, as ever, click on the photo to increase the size

2016 RARA Xmas1 2016 RARA Xmas Women with crackers 2016 RARA Xmas Raffle winner Joy 2016 RARA Xmas Heather Dwiar & Joy Johnson with hams 2016 RARA Xmas Craig Nicholls & Penelope with pudding. Margery Parkes background 2016 RARA Xmas Craig & Co 2016 RARA Xmas cracker shot 2016 RARA Xmas Arthur & wife and ann Dennis serving pudding 2016 RARA Xmas  John Hadaway & Mike Bevan with hams

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Jock (Robbie) Buchan – a 6RAR Soldier lost but now found

An interesting article concerning Jock Buchan, KIA 11 December 1969, his ashes found in Scotland!

You can read it here  Buchan Article

========================

Further to the above article, comments and a link from Paul Jackson, Jock’s Platoon Commander.

Hi Fred, 

What a special journey. It is hard to believe that after almost 50 years we have finally completed Jock’s story. We have come so far over the past year or so. A little over 12 months ago those involved in the action, Jock’s closest mates, did not even know where his body had gone after watching him being wrapped in a hutchie, tied on to a jungle penetrator and then winched slowly up to the hovering Dustoff chopper. Due to the tireless and dedicated work of a group of committed brothers-in-arms, Jock’s sacrifice has now been properly recognised, first with a Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial and now with your special service at his gravesite in far off Scotland. 

Most of you reading this email would not be aware that Jock Buchan’s death holds a very special place in our Vietnam war history. On the day of the action, an official Army photographer was moving with the company and took a series of photographs immediately after the contact. Of the many thousands of photographs taken during the Vietnam War, these are the only ones that actually record the death of an Australian soldier. For this reason I believe that Jock’s death has become symbolic of all those Australians who lost their lives in that conflict. Too graphic and politically sensitive to be publicly released at the time, the images are a poignant reminder of the human cost of war. 

The importance of this series of photographs is also well recognised by the AWM who have been corresponding with me recently seeking help identifying other members of the platoon captured in those iconic images. With your agreement Fred I would like to send your article to the Head Curator, Photographs, Film and Sound at the AWM. She has already expressed interest in the Dundee ceremony. I believe that this would also be an appropriate place for ‘Jock’s Story’ to be recorded.   

On behalf of all Jock’s 12 Platoon brothers, well done and thank you. 

Regards 

Paul 

ps For those interested, the AWM link to those photographs is attached below: 

https://www.awm.gov.au/search/all/?query=11+december+1969&submit=&op=Search&format=list&section%5B0%5D=collections&filter%5Btype%5D=Photograph 

 

 

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Regimental Dinner Photos (25 June 16) – click on the photo to enlarge

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