CO’s Hour (Presidents Report)
FROM COLONEL COMMANDANTS DESK
BRIG LAWLER’S ADDRESS TO 2000 AGM
BK’s O Group (Secretary’s Report)
ANZAC DAY 2001
3rd FIELD REGIMENT RAA ASSOCIATION MISSION
3rd FIELD REGIMENT RAA ASSOCIATION OBJECTIVES
Welcome to our first newsletter for this year. Our first function for2001 was the cocktail party held at the Sea View golf course on Friday the 2nd of February. Our numbers were not as high as we had hoped but the company of fellow gunners and their partners, backed by the magnificent views over the Indian Ocean made for a very enjoyable evening. Due to the success of the night your committee is planning to have another in September.
Also planned for this year is the traditional Anzac Day March and function at Hobbs Artillery Park, a mixed formal dinning in night on Saturday 14July to celebrate the 3 rd Field Regiments birthday, and Gunners Day in November 4th.
On Anzac Day we will again be marching with the Royal Artillery Association but this year due to the kind donation by Ron Jager we will have our own banner. Please make every attempt to march and bring along other gunners who you know or served with. This is our big day of the year not only socially but for recruiting as well so please support your Association.
At our AGM the matter of incorporation of the Association was raised and the committee has been pursuing this issue, but at the same time the question of an overall organization representing all gunners in WA has also been discussed. While these discussions are taking place we have decided to wait for an outcome before pursuing incorporation further.
All members of your committee are involved in sub committees that work on specific projects between our meetings. One of these is the membership sub committee that comprises of Ted Barton, John O’Brien, and Ken Hepworth. Apart from following up past gunners that they know, they are also willing to follow up lost trails, etc. If you have any one you vaguely remember or have lost contact with please pass these names onto one of the sub committee and they will be happy to chase them up.
I look forward to seeing you on Anzac Day, and remember if you still have a beret wear it.
On 30 April 2001 I will conclude my term as Colonel Commandant RAA Western Region. The two year term which commenced in 1995 was extended twice, and in total, will be just a few weeks short of six years when I hand over the role to my successor.
To have served The Regiment in this capacity has been a great honour and I am most grateful for the opportunity. I wish to record my appreciation to former Colonels Commandant Brig. Bob Davis, Brig. Doug Collins, Col.George Earnshaw and Col. Don Rae for their guidance and encouragement.The support from serving Gunners has been an important aspect and I wish to thank the three Battery Commanders Bob Farrelly, John Blylevens and Peter Mahoney for their interest and co-operation.
The future for The Regiment here in Western Australia is most promising with a great band of dedicated members in the ex-service organisations, a RAA Historical Society with an impressive record of achievement and the recently formed 3FD Regt Members Association already very active and keen to retain Gunner heritage and traditions. It is my view for us to maintain the Gunner presence the challenge is to raise even further the profile of the umbrella organisation the RAA Association of Western Australia.
It is vital that the effort and dedication displayed by RAA Association President John Hobbs (and his colleagues) not be allowed to diminish and now is the time to provide support to ensure that an even stronger Association results. I encourage all Gunners (in particular, the emerging and next generation) to offer your time and talent to serving in some capacity in the name of The Regiment.
I extend to you all every best wish and congratulate Brig. Richard Lawler AM on his appointment to succeed me as Colonel Commandant RAA Western Region.
RAY BIRD RFD, ED
2. To initiate and maintain a close working relationship with 7 Fd Bty3. To provide access to the RAA Association amelioration fund.4. To promote social interaction between serving and former members of 3rdField Regiment RAA
Warning Orders -
ANZAC DAY - 25th April
Battery Birthday Function 14/7/2001
Members are advised to block out their diaries for Saturday night 14/7/2001 for an All Ranks Formal Dining-In Night to celebrate 7th Fd Bty RAA Birthday.
All serving Gunners and Association members are invited. More information to follow.
Gunners’ Day - November 4th
Peter Rowles (President) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Jager (Vice President) Email: email@example.com
Tom Arnautovic(Secretary) Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgLes Herbert (Treasurer) Email: email@example.comTed Barton (Committee)Gabby D'Uva (Committee) Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPeter Farrell (Committee) Email: email@example.comKen Hepworth (Committee) Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgJohn O'Brien (Committee) Email: email@example.comRay Bird (Ex Officio) Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPeter Mahoney (Ex Officio) Email: email@example.com
Membership fee is $10 pa. Application forms are available from the Secretary. – Email - firstname.lastname@example.org Members are requested to advise Secretary of contact name & addresses of former 3rd Fd Regt personnel and application for membership kits will be forwarded direct.
Mr Peter Rowles, president of the 3rd Fd Regt Association, and fellow members.
I am honoured by your invitation to give the keynote address to the year 2000 Annual General Meeting. I’m sure you’re all aware that I have never actually served in the regiment, but as a leader of the LCOMD ARTY Assessment Team in 1985 as a gunner LTCOL, and as I now own the unit, I feel that I qualify to take my place as a member.
Personally I see the Association as a critical platform for fostering the serving gunner relationship with the wider community from which it is drawn. YOU have a unique combination of experience, skills, knowledge, connection and influence which has great potential to add tangible value to the efforts of those still serving. In ensuring the continuance of the unit’s strength and traditions. I don’t think we’ve tapped that yet.
Rest assured, this is a capacity I intend pushing BC 7 FD BTY to press. In the twilight of my career I have concluded that we in the General reserve have been too passive in marketing our message to the community to which we belong. I have come to understand that our community is not apathetic to defence matters: indeed I find there is a great deal of community interest in the subject!! We in the GRES have not taken all available opportunity to actively inform our community of the sort of public support we need! But frankly, there are many occasions when it would be patently inappropriate for myself or my 13th Brigade Team to make public comment on issues; whereas you with your special community position and network potentially provides avenues of accessibility I would be unable to achieve from within the army. Thus, until I leave the GRES in December this year, I will continue to ensure that those who I command and work with understand the advantages that an Association such as ours is able to provide.
I’m sure most of you would be aware of the very recent and unique opportunity that every Australian has had to comment of the future of Australia’s Defence Policy and the structure of the Defence Forces to meet the policy. The green paper consultation process has so far demonstrated some salient issues for us all:
As we’ve gone out and around the community we’ve found that their support for Defence issues is very strong. But the detailed understanding of the implications for Defence Policy, the reason for purchasing certain fighting ships, aircraft, armoured vehicles, guns and ammunition systems and other capital equipment, is thin. As I mentioned earlier, the ADF, and therefore the GRES, has very much left garnering community support and/or education the wider community on Defence matters to Government, or organizations like ours. I have no doubt that those of you who were able made a strong and well-defined submission to the community consultation team when it was here. We in the GRES are certainly optimistic as to the outcomes inthe Defence White Paper that will follow, due for release later this year.
The indicators so far are promising for an enhanced ADF, with recent purchases of light armoured vehicles; enhancements to the F111 strike fleet, and the continuing improvement of our Collins Class Submarines. I guess that the issue of the Early Warning and Control Aircraft remains fairly topical. My view is that the need for a state of the art airborne early warning capability is essential given our large island nation with numerous approaches requiring significant surveillance: not only for conventional military reasons, but also the more recent and refugee issue.
I note our last Governor’s recent public comments, which recognise and raise the issue that the few refugees, who enter Australia illegally, via our broad coastline, are minimal in comparison with the many thousands who cross the land borders of nations within South East Asia. If we are to partner with our near neighbours, we may have to recognise that we have some role in accepting refugees from them while they stabilise internally as their political structures change. This may impact on the employment of the ADF, and again the GRES, in the future.
Our Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Barrie, bears this out in his recent “Crawford Address” to many of the non-government humanitarian organisations that abound. I will quote some of the matters he mentions:
“;Today, other factors such as poverty, infrastructure development, living standards, the impact of globalisation and access to life’s essentials are commanding more attention and a more rigorous discussion. This is a serious debate that we need to have because our future security may depend on it.
What he’s saying is that our understanding of the causes of conflict has grown considerably in the last 20 years. Up until the late 1980’s,the debate on development, conflict and security was dominated by the traditional concerns of history, ideology and geography and viewed through the prism of east/west relations.
We have no territorial disputes with our neighbours. But, we are also located in a region which features developing economies, infant democracies and increasing political instability from tensions pre-dating the end of the cold war. We are fortunate to enjoy a living standard, which is the envy of most of the world. However, our basic character is formed from making the most of a harsh environment, leading to a ‘can-do’ innovative culture. Many of use travel and note that we have to create successfully on the world’s more advanced multicultural societies. Our young people have always been, and still are, passionate about getting out there and making a difference to shape a better world.
The Defence Force has also become an important resource, which provides Government with a range of options not associated with force-on-force considerations. In short, we have a dual role: we must actively work for peace, as wells prepare for war’. The CDF concluded his address saying ‘If Australia is to shape regional development in favour of security and prosperity, then we need to ensure our place at the negotiating table and be able to act in times of crisis.’
His points are certainly food for thought. It certainly points to the need for a credible reserve Force.
From my personal experience of commanding the 13th Brigade I can tell you that last year when the call came for volunteers to round out the regular 6RAR, I was overwhelmed with the response. Both with number swelling to transfer to the Regular Forces, and those volunteering to give18 months full time service as Reservist to that Battalion or the supporting logistic services.
My young men and women were ready to act!! Sadly, a class of senior ARA decision makers concluded that the state of capability available from the GRES was not sufficient and many of my good junior officers and NCOs were overlooked and only Pte level solders were accepted.
That said, as I speak our men are serving on the East Timor border with the UN force which, as recently as last week, has been engaged in fire - fights with the militia. That kind of brings the issue closer to home.
Currently the ADF relies on the contribution the Reserves can make to the effective conduct and sustainment of Defence operations. “Reservists now make up about 42 percent of the total ADF and are soon to grown to about 50 percent”
Our Government expects a more significant and shorter-term contribution from its’ Reserves. In recognition of this, the Govt recently announced an increase in spending on ADF Reserves of some $20m and introduced a raft of new legislation to enable the ADF Reserves to better meet its’ contribution and obligations.
I truly believe that these changes will assist us in removing some of the barriers that we currently face with the common induction-training regime. This scheme requires much longer periods of army wide, formal, competency based training. The extra time needed is more than more army reservist is able to commit due to the impact on their civilian jobs or tertiary studies.
I note with some interest that, in 1913, one of my predecessors as Commander of 13th Brigade, the late General Sir John Monash, who at the time, also had a youthful and inexperienced Brigade to train, faced similar challenges with the Universal Training Scheme, which was also designed to ensure a common national standard of training for the militia forces. However, unlike our extended courses driven by competency based training and the myriad of technologies required to give the Australian soldier the edge on operations, Monash had some 7-to-8 days of musketry, long hard marches and Brigade drill to engender the development of a soldierly spirit and unit identity. No doubt that was the precursor for the common induction training.
The reality is though, that if our men and women are not able to achieve the same competencies as their higher readiness full time colleagues, they will not be able to deploy on operational service. There can only be one standard as I’m sure you will agree.
I will conclude with a challenge for us as an association. Simply put; it is to use our influence and connections to help 7 FD BTY in it’s recruiting and retention efforts. I note, and applaud, the Association’s donation of a prize to a soldier of the unit this year. What a great move. But let’s not stop there! Imagine the effect on the Unit’s strength if we all brought in one recruit. That’s our challenge!!!!!
If we are successful in meeting that challenge, then fostering the Regimental History and Traditions will follow.
Currently we have 107 members of the Association. New member nominations have slowed over the last quarter presumably due to the festive season and the New Year period. All members are urged to give a fellow gunner mate a call and encourage them to also join our Association. If they have any doubts about joining, then encourage all gunner mates to come to Hobbs Artillery Park this coming Anzac Day Wednesday 25/4/01 to experience some great gunner camaraderie and catch up with old mates and meet new ones. Application to join kits are available by ringing Tom A on 9332 3309or email: email@example.com
On 2/2/01 the Association held a Cocktail function at the Sea View Golf Club in Cottesloe. 37 members with partners attended and had a fun time with fine finger foods, enjoying a champagne cocktail on arrival, continuous (delightful) fruit punch all night and of course witnessed a splendid western sunset on a beautiful summers evening. Those members not there missed out on a great function but have the opportunity to attend the next Cocktail function we are planning to hold next September. More information on that function later.
We congratulate member Brigadier Richard Lawler on being presented with AM as an Officer of the Order of Australia.
All members are invited to march this coming Anzac Day under the new3rd Fd Regt RAA Association Banner and or the other Gunner Banners (individual choice), Wednesday 25/4/01. Form up point is on corner of St Georges Tce and Irwin Street at 0900 hrs. After the service all members are invited to attend an Anzac day get-together at Hobbs Artillery Park commencing from 1300 hrs. If unable to attend the March and Service then turn up for the Anzac day function anyway. You will be most welcome. 7th Field Battery Regimental Funds committee will be hosting the function, food and drink available at mess prices with a small cover charge for entry to the function. Due to the celebration of Federation this Anzac Day, will be special and we look forward to seeing a large turnout from members and gunners young and old. To assist with catering figures please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave message on 9332 3309 of your attendance and numbers attending.
Issues of ‘TAKE POST’ will be posted to members on a quarterly basis with next “TAKE POST’ in June 2001.