Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Vietnam War's Inaugural Medal of Honor Awardee Dies

---- We open most Fridays from 5 pm. Everyone is welcome ---- 

The Vietnam War’s Inaugural Medal of Honor Awardee, Roger H.C. Donlon, has passed away on January 25, just five days before his 90th birthday. 

Upon enlisting in the Army in 1958, Roger H.C. Donlon, already acquainted with military life from a stint in the Air Force in 1953, embarked on a journey that would lead him to become the first Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. Leaving the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1957 after initially enrolling, Donlon chose to pursue his destiny in the Army. Following Officer Candidate School, he qualified for Special Forces and was deployed to Vietnam in 1964. 

It was in July of that year that he displayed exceptional courage and tenacity in defending an Americal training camp, earning him the prestigious Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in the US Military. It's equivalent to Australia's Victoria Cross.
- Read more on Frontline
US Medal of Honor

Friday, January 26, 2024

Happy Australia Day 2024

We wish you a wonderful day celebrating this Australia Day 2024 under the flag of which we all served and many continue to serve. 

Click to enlarge Dorothea's poem

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Ukraine community farewells SA-based Soldiers

---- Come and visit us Fridays from 5 pm commencing 9 February. Everyone is welcome ----
Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), 2nd Health Brigade and Land Combat College were farewelled in a ceremony at Defence Precinct Edinburgh, Adelaide, as they prepared to deploy on Operation Kudu in the United Kingdom. 

Deploying soldiers from 7RAR on parade during
 their farewell ceremony at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, Adelaide. 
The 90-strong contingent will continue Australia’s assistance in training the Armed Forces of Ukraine in response to sustained Russian aggression. 

Alongside family, friends and local and federal politicians, members of South Australia’s Ukrainian community participated in the proceedings on 8 January, which included a Ukrainian Orthodox blessing and traditional Ukrainian customs. 

 Acting Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite said Australians were proud of the troops who heading to the UK because they were standing up in the defence of the Ukrainian people and helping with the assistance of the training of Ukrainian soldiers. “They’re standing up to Russia’s illegal act of aggression and illegal invasion of Ukraine and, most importantly, they’re standing up to the important principles of freedom of liberty,” Mr Thistlethwaite said. 

President of the Association of Ukrainians in South Australia, Frank Fursenko stressed the importance of the strong ties that exist between Australia and Ukraine. “This war has had a devastating impact,” Mr Fursenko said. “Without Australia’s support, Ukraine would be in a very difficult situation.” 

This deployment is the fifth rotation of Australian troops, and the first from 7RAR, to participate in the UK-led multinational training mission. Focusing on basic infantry tactics, leadership and small-team training, contingent commander Major Michael Jack said he was ready to lead his soldiers. “7RAR soldiers are physically and mentally tough, professional, compassionate and courageous,” he said. “We take immense pride and humility in being able to be a small part in these people’s lives.” 

Commander 9th Brigade Brigadier Tim Orders reminded the troops of the significance of the task ahead. “Your presence signifies hope and solidarity in a time of need,” Brigadier Orders said. “Your efforts will not only strengthen our coalition’s resolve, but uphold the values of democracy and peace throughout the world.”

Acknowledgement: Story and photos by Captain Peter March and shared with permission from Contact 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Australian Defence Force Badges of Rank

---- Will we see you on Friday 9 Feb for our first 2024 Happy Hour? Everyone is welcome ---- 
Click on the graphic to enlarge it
When I attended recruit training at RAAF Edinburgh a lifetime ago, I recall we did a session on badges of rank for the Australian Defence Force.

In one's own service (the Air Force for me), it was easy to recall the ranks up to about Group Captain and some of the ranks in the Army as I had been in the school Cadet Corp while at Boarding School in Charters Towers, Queensland. 

However, the RAN was a mystery as I never served anywhere near Navy personnel, even on the exercises I attended. I'd only seen Navy ships from afar in Sydney Harbour.

Later, I knew more about US Navy ranks after watching most of the episodes of "JAG" with the famous Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb and the rest of the crew. 

I'd worked closely with US Air Force members during my RAAF service, so I knew about some of their badges of rank too, even those who appeared to have an overabundance of stripes in their chevrons.

So here it is, the chart that tells all about our Defence Forces ranks from the bottom to the top


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Announcing a Veterans Organisation with a Difference

---- We open on Friday 9 February 24 from 5 pm. Everyone is welcome ---- 

There are now dozens of organisations supporting veterans and our families.

In the editor's view, this is both positive and negative. Let me explain. It's positive because veterans have many options to choose from and may choose what best meets their needs.

The negative comes from the fact that limited government funding is now spread across dozens of organisations, some of which provide similar or identical services. This leads to inefficiency in service delivery.

Having said that, Due South is different in that it states it is, "Australia’s leading self-funded organisation for veterans and first responders."

So, not only does it intend to assist veterans, but also first responders. This means Due South is a unique organisation and does not rely on government funding. This is what has been said about itself in an article from Frontline:

"Our team is very proud to announce our ambassador … Doug Baird OAM, an Australian rules footballer and a devoted ambassador for Due South. Born on 16 November 1950, Doug’s journey encapsulates not only the thrill of the game but also an enduring commitment to honour, sacrifice, and the well-being of those who have served.

In his prime, Doug graced the football fields as a formidable player with Carlton Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) leaving an indelible mark with statistics correct to the end of 1970. Doug played an impressive 130 games for Cooee Football Club, including pivotal roles in the 1978 and 1982 premiership sides also was captain/coach of Ulverstone Football Club 1983/84 before returning to Melbourne. This extraordinary feat speaks not only to his skill on the field but also to his enduring commitment to excellence. 

Doug’s son, Cameron Baird VC MG, emerged as an Australian soldier of exceptional courage, posthumously receiving the Victoria Cross for Australia – the highest military decoration. 

As the ambassador of Due South, Doug Baird brings his passion for supporting veterans and emergency responders to the forefront. His dedication to recognising and honouring the sacrifices of these heroes aligns seamlessly with Due South’s commitment to fostering a community that supports those who served and protected. 

Doug Baird’s involvement with Due South is not just a title it’s a heartfelt endeavour to bridge legacies, Cameron Baird’s rare honour of being one of two individuals to receive both the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Gallantry propels Doug to champion a cause that is deeply personal. 

In ceremonies and events, Doug proudly wears his son’s medals, symbolising the continuation of legacy defined by courage and selflessness. Through Due South, Doug amplifies his voice and influence to advocate for the well-being of veterans and emergency responders, ensuring that their sacrifices are acknowledged, and their stories are told. Doug Baird stands as a beacon, illustrating that the passion for honouring heroes extends far beyond the football field. His ambassadorship is a testament to the enduring spirit of those who serve and commitment to building a community that recognises, supports, and uplifts the brave individuals who have given their all. 

Join Doug Baird in the honour with Due South, where legacies meet, and the heart-felt service beats strong. Doug also holds the following positions: -Patron of the Victoria Cross Trust England -Vice Paton Australian Bravery Association -Ambassador Commando Association Queensland -Vice Ambassador T.P.I Victoria -Ambassador for ANZAC and Yellow Ribbon Australia"

Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year

---- We open again on Friday 9 February from 5 pm. Everyone is welcome ----
To all our members, friends, and supporters:

We hope that 2024 brings you health, prosperity, and happiness that is really all one can hope for. Anything additional is a bonus.