Hear, hear!

Ken (Rocket) Rundell, OAM 



I am not a Notable nor am I an Attention Seeker, my concern is only for Australian Soldiers and their well-being. I perceive they 
are not being well led and poor decisions are being made in regards as to their welfare. As a retired (2002) Vietnam Veteran and Regimental Sergeant Major with 35 years service, there are a number of Issues that I see are currently affecting the Defence Force. I have no influence and can change nothing but where are the people who do have influence and can speak up? In that regard I want to know where are the “Critics” within the Current Defence Department, the Ex Defence Senior Officers and Defence Organisations? I want them to wake up, make a statement, to remember the Soldiers who have worked tirelessly for them, who have given them respect and shown them loyalty and return it! 

The Defence issues that concern me and should be out in the Defence arena being discussed for me are as follows: 

1. Employment of women within the Royal Australian Infantry. 

2. Movement of Defence assets to the North and West of Australia. 

3. Australian Soldier Deaths in Afghanistan. 

4. Current and Ex Senior Defence Members and Defence Organisations. 


1. Employment of Women within the Royal Australian Infantry. 

There is no Army in the world that actively employs women as Infantry Assault Troops or has mixed sex Infantry Combat Forces, it just doesn’t work for a number of reasons including but not limited to physical, cultural, emotional, medical and social interaction and expectation. I feel there is no logical or adequate justification for the Australian Army to be doing this except as a socio-political vote winning exercise, for some portions of the Federal Governments feminine lobby to feel good over an issue that soldiers know is not practical. 

The issue has little to do with passing a physical barrier test as a qualifier, if this was the case we should have elite women athletes playing and competing in the AFL, NRL, Rugby Union, Men’s Basketball, Men’s Swimming; but we do not! The Defence Force is all for women not being discriminated against, having equal employment opportunities and being in combat roles; however in this situation there is no ethical, moral or justifiable reason for women to be employed as front line infantry assault troops. Are our recruitment targets that low? Ask yourself why then is only the Defence Force being singled out in one tiny element of its employment parameters? 

Anyone who agrees with ‘this’ concept of ‘Women in Infantry Sections’ has never really been a soldier in prolonged Active Infantry Combat or seen how destructive and degenerative this type of Warfare is to the actual participants. I am not going to elaborate any further, you either know it or you don’t enough said! If there is ANY Infantry Veteran out there who desires to see and agrees with the concept of Australian Women in extended line advancing on an enemy defensive position, just so we can get a tick in some Feminist Federal Government box, that says Equal Employment Opportunity, then you have ‘rocks in your head’! 

2. Movement of Defence Assets to the North and West of Australia. 

We have been told by Senior Defence Officers and Analysts that we need to move more Defence Assets and Personnel to the North and West of Australia just in case China or India decides they need our Coal and Iron Ore fields. That China and India own most of these assets and if they require any more they can just buy them, must have escaped the attention of these Defence personnel! We already have enough Defence assets in the North and West that if either of these countries wanted to invade it would require a major undertaking and a large fleet, with large reserves and a huge supply line; (remember D Day?). A situation that would take many years to build up and would undoubtedly be detected by USA surveillance, who would more than likely ask them what are you doing? So WHY would they do it, when they can legally buy it? 

The threat to Australia is not from China or India but from Fundamentalist Islamic Extremists living in Melbourne and Sydney, who are conducting open meetings and conferences demanding sharia law, demanding that they should not have to be part of any democracy including Australia, not be subject to Australian law, the open rejoicing and support for the killing of Australian Defence personnel, supporting and recruiting of suicide bombers, wanting us to live like they do in Iran and Saudi Arabia; all condoned by and under the approval of the Australian Government. 

No! We need Southern bases and Southern military forces, China and or India are not going to invade Australia but radical Islamists are going to try to be as disruptive to the law and government as they can; that is Australia’s problem as it is in every other country. What our military should be training for is Aid to the Civil Power within Australia’s major cities. A home domiciling policy that allows/capture and retains the “Hearts and Minds” of our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and their immediate and extended families, not just some quasi Defence barrier system to the North. 

3. Australian Soldier Deaths in Afghanistan. 

In regards to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians, I am proud that the Australian defence Department has such courageous and highly trained soldiers as the EOD Technicians in Afghanistan. However that is not the point, the point is this; we have been observing the number of Engineer EOD Technician deaths in Afghanistan and have read the REVEILLE magazine of May-June 2011 article ‘A Bomb Disposal Expert’ after reading this article it would have become clear to all of us who know that what we thought is happening in Afghanistan is in fact true! That these EOD personnel are dying in some vain exercise to disarm IED’s that are lying in the middle of nowhere in the hope of maybe being able to glean some forensic or origin type evidence, a reason that is hard to ascertain, justify or act on, as most of the bomb makers are not on any personnel database and the materials are quite often recycled munitions from the coalition or abandoned Russian munitions. Why these IED are not just destroyed by whatever is in location without having to go near these IED is hard to fathom? 

In Afghanistan there is no justification not to blow them up where they are found! No IED is worth the loss of 1 Australian Digger. Have these Diggers families been told there is no justifiable reason that their son has died, we sent him to dismantle an IED when we could have just blown it up! Who is instigating this disarming of IED policy? Why aren’t there Commanders saying this is a B/S policy and the policy of disarming IED’s must cease? I have some background being a Demolition Supervisor and a Mine Warfare and Booby Trap Operator qualified and trained at SME and Pioneer Wing the School of Infantry and Instructing on these fields. This does not make me an EOD Technician but it does mean I have some insight into the Subject. 

In regard to the Infantry Soldiers at Platoon and Section level, they are completely outgunned and outranged by the Small Arms in use by the Taliban. The Australian Army’s choice of weapons to fight an Infantry War in Afghanistan and earlier in Iraq is sub-standard. I took part in previous Trials to purchase new Infantry Small Arms for the Australian Army and at that stage the Army was advised and informed that the current issue Steyr and Minimi weapons were not the preferred or recommended weapons as they would have shortfalls in just this type of ‘open’ warfare. The 7.62mm machine gun that is currently in use within the Infantry Sections and is demonstrating its superiority (and is saving their hide) was not purchased for that role and in fact Senior Infantry Officer’s had demanded its removal from the Regular Infantry Battalions in the 1990’s preferring not to listen to the advice of their own Warrant Officers because as we all know, only Senior Officers are smart enough to make sound and well informed decisions on such matters as Infantry Tactics, Weapons and Equipment. 

4.Current and Ex Senior Defence Members and Defence Organisations. 

Current Serving Senior Officers. In regard to the above Issues, I find it impossible to believe that ALL Current serving Senior Officers agree with the implementation of these policies, if this is the case then their job has become more important than speaking out, defending their principles and the soldiers they are entrusted to protect? Where is their backbone? Where do the RSM’s stand on these issues? The very men who are supposed to put their life on the line for their soldiers? Where is their backbone? 

Today’s Defence Force appears to be run by Political ‘YES’ personnel who will agree with anything just to maintain their employment. Where are the articles against these proposals, where are the soldiers willing to speak out? That’s all I ask! 

Ex Defence Force Senior Officers. What is even worse, where are all the Ex Defence Senior Officers in all this that disagree with these policies? Excuse me if I am slightly cynical for a moment. Could it be that these Ex Senior Officers are ensconced within cushy Government jobs, or boards or Committees, or in employment that depends on Government contracts or maybe it’s more important to be on the ‘gravy train’ so as to be invited to visit past Battlefields or go on Ocean Cruises to Commemorate the sinking of HMAS SYDNEY, than to defend soldiers? I don’t know but it would appear that if the Serving and Ex Rank and File Members of the Defence Force are waiting for any Ex Senior Officer to speak up, we will be waiting a damn long time! 

RSL. I thought the RSL was formed to represent Ex and Current members of the Defence Force on issues of Defence and keep the Government ‘honest’! But, when I read the current issue of REVEILLE what important ‘Motions’ do I see that the RSL Branches are discussing at the NSW State Congress, with regard to timely and topical matters of Defence and Foreign Affairs? 2 items = Recognition of Australian Defence Force (ADF) Volunteers and Ribbon bars to be put on medals to represent ‘Multiple overseas deployments’. Hardly matters of National importance I would have thought! 

RAR COUNCIL. The esteemed RAR Council of all matters Infantry, (don’t get me wrong I want them to have a voice). But do we see them demanding and making accountable Senior Infantry officers, The Director of Infantry, Battalion Commanding Officers or Infantry RSM’s over the above issues. If the RAR Council is limited to only discuss topics such as the Duke of Gloucester Cup or Berets or Stable Belts and not problems or issues effecting the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and its members, then what is the point of this Council? 


I am bloody angry and any caring Australian soldier should be bloody angry, that we can pick up any magazine (Duty First, Reveille), National Newspapers; listen to Television Current Affair programs or Talkback radio programs and there is no visible voice of contradiction from people who have the ‘power’ invested in them to do so, Current and Ex Senior Defence Officers! Where is the leadership and loyalty that these Officers demanded of us, that which they are supposed to display, in return for the loyalty shown to them by the Rank and File during their service and after service life? 

Ken (Rocket) Rundell, OAM 

Mr K.E. Rundell 
18 Reservoir Rd 
Mt Pritchard NSW


Post a Comment