October 5, 2011

The Legend of the bean bag baby

September 7, 2011

This story is not true, it never happened, and if it did I definitely was not there and I have no knowledge of any such event. Any similarity to any person place or event is purely coincidental, and I mean that in a very legally binding sense.

In the armoured corps a drivers licence is an essential item, you need one to drive things. Obvsiously this is part of the cunning ploy by Soviet era Russians, Al Queda the Teleban, Inland Revenue and other enemies of civilisation to render the armoured mobility of her majesties infantry impotent through the tactical deployment of traffic cops. Therefore losing one’s licence through being found intoxicated could be regarded as a “bad thing”. The example for us all was one soldier who lost his licence for 6 months to a DIC, then got pinged for another 6 months the day after that ran out as a result of his “I got my licence back party”, then followed this up by getting pinged for an additional 9 months the day BEFORE he got his licence back. Having been put in the admin troop to count shit for the duration of the suspension was a non-productive use of a trooper which strained the temper of our Squadron 2IC. The third suspension was the 3 ton bag-o-anvils that broke the camels back.

Trooper “S” was cordially invited to change the colour of his beret to green (infantry) as his services in the armoured corps were no longer required. He elected to catch flight 717 and return to Australia where his record turned out to be considered more of a recommendation than a hindrance, but he is now not part of our story. The rest of us considered that losing our licences to be “bad” as I mentioned, but to not drink was a clear violation of collateral rights and religious beliefs!

Consequently we considered the best option was find somewhere safer to drink… preferably with a patsy driver just in case. We found a handy collection of patsy’s in the form of Bravo and Charlie companies 2/1 RNZIR. After exercise Trojan Horse, in which the RF enemy party had mistaken the regular drivers for territorials and made a habit of running up the front of the wagon to butt stroke them, there had been a period of “err yeah.. sorry bout that” and the regulars had been making a special effort to be nice to us. Like not randomly smacking troopers in the head at the baggies bar and such like. So consequently we acquired a system of getting rides to the West Melton pub with grunt drivers. The West Melton being cunningly located on back roads between Burnham camp and nowhere. Obviously no cop would even bother being on that road because there was no one using it… cept soldiers looking to get home from the West Melton.

The cops were happily bagging a fair haul of infantry drivers who didn’t give a crap because A. There was a lot of them and B. you didn’t need a licence to frikken walk anyway. However there was one guy we got a ride with one night with a guy who had interest in being grounded thanks very much. We figured he was different when we piled in to his Holden the size and apparently speed of the NC1701 as we spotted an apparent baby in the back seat in the blanket. It turned out to be a bean bag baby with plastic head and hands, complete with little booties and blanket. He told us not to worry about it and he’d let us know if we’d need it on the trip home. Glances were exchanged , followed by shrugs as we headed for West Melton at Warp 4. Mr Sulu was an odd chap but the proximity to beer was diminished with speed so who cared.

Our mission to get faceless was achieved in due course and we piled back into the Enterprise for the trip home. This time at a light bending Warp 6 we headed back with all the windows open. We got a clue that it wasn’t going to be a perfect 6 parsecs run when the car was illuminated with a festive red flashing light. After a few moments of collective highbrow discussion we arrived at the agreement that we might have run afoul of the resident constabulary. We commiserated with diver who for some reason was noticeable not slowing down… odd once more. Discussion was held and a deputation questioned our pilot as to what the deal was. He was Han Soloesque in his not slowing downess and consternation and alarm were gathering amongst the roughly 10 or so troopers who were his now unwilling ship mates.

Don’t worry he informed us, I have a plan! Being armoured corps we were naturally sceptical about ANYONE who claimed to have a plan. We’d seen plans, plans were things not conducive to a good nights sleep or health come to that. We all felt that things were in a state of bad and traveling towards shithouse at high speed when announced it was ok, he didn’t have rear plates. We were less than impressed because he seemed to have over looked the obvious factor of the high speed appendage of the law being dynabolted to our bumper.

“Ok… you got that bean bag baby?”

“Err what… yeah I guess… why?”

“Right… throw it out the window!”

Light dawned, out went the bean bag baby and I have to say its little arms flailed most convincingly when it hit the road and spun. The head lights of justice receded in most satisfactory manner and our return to camp was achieved with much hysteria.

If there is a sequel to this story it would detract from the legend of the bean bag baby – which itself is fictional – and far be it for me to undermine this legend.

And thats what the new medal looks like.

April 7, 2011

In a decision that will come down to 1 month I’ll either have one or two clasps.

Now lets all play how mnay bloggers you know who will be entitiled to one of thses. I can think of eight off the top of my head.


March 3, 2011

Bradley Manning may face death penalty

Teason and aiding the enemy, not misdemeanors.

Add to it the violation of his oath and its good night nurse.

New Zealand Defence Force Medal Update:

January 20, 2011

From the Veterans Affairs page:

The first stage of the application process is expected to open in late February/early March. Medals will be issued based on the age of the living ex-Service person. The medals will be sent to the oldest applicants first and to those of any age who are terminally ill. To assist NZDF in ensuring the oldest applicants receive their medals first, it is expected that the initial call will be made for applications from ex-Service personnel over seventy years of age. Any applications received from persons under that age will not be processed and persons should wait until the NZDF advises that the next age group should send in their applications. This is also the case for those applying of behalf of deceased spouses, next of kin etc.

If you are entitled to it then apply for it and wear it. The opinions of people who do not understand what it signifies are of no value. New Zealand has one of the most underdressed armed forces in the world and medalic recognition of service is amongst the lowest. Media coments about what consititues being a “hero” are as offensive as they are ill-informed. You’ve earned it and it wouldn’t hurt to remind the nation this ANZAC Day that a LOT of New Zealanders have served and continue to do so making the day as relevant now as ever.

From the NZDF Medals site:

The intent of the New Zealand Defence Service Medal is to recognise the unique requirements of military service. These requirements include: – commitment to service of the Crown (represented by an oath/affirmation of allegiance),- liability for operational service subject to military discipline and lifestyle,- and imposed constraints on employment conditions and personal freedoms.

The things people post on facebook…

January 6, 2011

look at this softcock would you, the only bloody section commander in the entire New Zealand army to carry his own radio. Bloody pampered is what you lot are.

Is that ape like creature back with independantly operating arms and legs with all the military bearing of a ham sandwich Harris the aledged medic? The standign order was that if I was wounded someone had to shoot Harris asap in order to preserve my life. (I had the radio so I was important.)

Medal News

October 5, 2010

Are you a New Zealand ex-serviceman?

Did you spend more than ten minutes in one of the armed services? If so you are probably up for a medal. The New Zealand Defence Force Medal is an also ran decoration for everyone who did their bit without the added bonus of an overseas deployment or the special thrill that comes with getting shot at. (Which by the way is an entirely different thrill to getting shot – See Winston Chruchill for details or the scare on my forehead for an example.)

Anyway, the survey has been done and we’re awaiting a decision. Of course once we get that:

… themedal and ribbon will still need to be manufactured.

The NZDF Medals Office expects a large number of people to apply for the medal and, even with extra staff to process the applications, this could potentially be a two to three year project.

Blah blah get in line. Or just check back here and I’ll let you know when its ready.

Just as an aside this will make my brother the only one who doesn’t have a medal. That’ll teach him to do his time in the IDF. Nyah nyah nyah!

Morrie Stanley MBE. Artilleryman.

September 19, 2010

When Australian and New Zealand forces first  deployed to Viet Nam it they were initially attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in order to take part in big unit engagements of the type the US forces intended to fight. This did not suit the ANZAC experience from Malaya and the force was redeployed as the 1st Australian Task force. The area chosen for the deployment was Phoc Tuy province, a highly active area of VC activity. The base was established at Nui Dat, provocatively between the VC controlled areas and the population centres.

It was the intention to confront and deal with the enemy by separating them from the population with aggressive patrolling and it was entirely reasonable, and intended, that they would react.

On 18th of August 1966 the clash occurred in a rubber plantation where for four hours D Company 6Royal Australian Regiment faced 2,500 VC and NVA of D445 275 Regiments.  I will not detail the battle because I cannot do it justice in this short space. However the battle resulted in 42 casualties for the Australian company with 11 platoon losing 2/3 of its number.

During the battle FO officer Captain Morrie Stanley controlled first 161 Battery RNZA, then a full regiment including another battery of Australian 105’s and an American battery of 155mm’s in keeping the enemy force  at bay. At one point Sgt Bob Buick, who had taken command of 11 platoon when its commander 2Lt Gordon Sharp was killed, called in fire on his own position believing they were about to be overrun. Stanley refused to carry out the mission and kept his fire as close as he could to 11 platoons position (50 metres) although Buick believed that Stanley has walked it much closer. It clearly effected Stanely when Buick advised him that his platoon had been reduced to 12, however Stanley continued to direct the guns professionally allowing Buick to withdraw those of 11 platoon who were still alive.

Over 4,000 rounds were fire during the battle with the rate of fire reaching 8 rounds/minute for some guns with almost every spare body at Nui Dat helping serve the guns.

D Company was surrounded on three sides and the VC were preparing for a final assault on dusk when APC’s from 1st APC Squadron arrived and their will to fight  was broken. The initial sitrep at the end of the battle was: Twenty two wounded, four conformed dead and 17 missing. Of those missing all were from 11 platoon and two were found alive the following day.

Many participants and military historians attribute a lot of the credit of D Company’s survival to Morrie Stanley’s handling of the artillery that afternoon. Certainly in the lecture I received on the battle recently it was the opinion of the lecturer that this was the case. As he had been at Nui Dat at the time I’m certainly not going to question him. It is also apparent that the members of D Company fought with great professionalism and tenacity.

The casualties taken by D445 and 275 are disputed, however the battle resulted in a reduction in their operation ability in the province and it is clear they had a bad of tangling with Australian force.

In 2006 a documentary was released for the 40th anniversary of the engagement and many of the participants were interviewed giving insights into what took place and is essential viewing for many reasons. You can see a small slice of it here.

Morrie Stanley was awarded a military MBE  for his work and earlier this year received a Presidential Unit Citation, the approval of which was fast tracked due to his ill health. It was at the ceremony that he actually met Bob Buick for the first time. The Australian War Memorial also dedicated  part of its Long Tan exhibition to him. Morrie Stanley died on Thursday and will be buried on Wednesday.

You may have been in the army too long if…

May 10, 2010

You use target indication to point out hot chicks…
Becuase its the quickest way to scan onto a target.

You use the term ‘chicks’
Correct target identifcation is important and you wouldn’t what to get this one wrong would you?

You insist on dancing like a —-, whilst your civie mates insist on trying to dance ‘properly’.
I have no clear recolection of any such event sir.

Your civie mates don’t understand any of the terminology you use such as ‘no dramas’, ‘squared away’, ‘take a knee’ etc….
What the hell is a “civie mate”?

You can’t help saying “Roger”, “Say again” and other snappy bits of VP
You have a problem with clear communication now?

You use acronyms thinking your civie mates will understand what you are talking about.
Diligaf! also see above.

You don’t have any civie mates….
See above.

You cringe, and mutter under your breath ‘haircut’, when you see men with `long” hair.
I do NOT mutter, hippies need to be shouted at to get their attention.

You walk at a ridiculous pace and are physically incapable of walking at the shopping pace of your girlfriend.
Are we going somewhere or not?

You refer to personal organisation as “admin”.
You have a real issue with clear comms don’t you.

Your girlfriend is stored in your mobile phone address book as ‘Zero Alpha’
Well she did outrank me.

You use patrol hand signals in a night club if people can’t hear you.
OK admit it you actually hate the ability of others to communicate don’t you.

You always use the 24 hour clock.
And you can’t stand accurate commincation either.

You keep trying to box your duvet.
You hate tidy now?

You iron your socks & underpants.
Sweet Enola Gay son son… are you a HIPPIE or something?

Everything in your locker (wardrobe) is folded, ironed, & stacked 9 x 9.
And look everything is IN the locker.

You bull your Reeboks.
Reeboks are for civie sissies.

You have sewn-in creases in your boxer shorts.
And now efficiency is on your shit list????

Nothing soldiers do shocks you any more.
Well thats because I probably showed them how to do it.

You can’t watch war movies without giving a running commentary.
Well if anyone could make a war movie RIGHT we wouldn’t need to!

People in prison have more contact with women than you do….
They get a bigger food budget too.

Whenever you spell something out you use the phonetic alphabet….
You just can’t let the communication thig go can you.

You don’t trust your mum/wife/girlfriend/any woman to iron your kit because deep down you think that your ironing is better….
Nothing deep down about it.. STEP AWAY from the green uniform woman.

You point using your whole hand in a karate chop motion….
It’s rude to point.

You find that the conversation somehow always comes back round to you, because you’re more interesting than most topics of conversation….
It could be related to my ability to communicate in a clear and accurate fashion.

You think not shaving is a treat….
One that I have indulged in for some years now.

You keep a mess tin of water in the fridge for washing & shaving on dark mornings…..
See above.

You get really irritated when people you don’t know call you ‘mate’….
Damn right I do.

You can read a junk mail catalogue from cover to cover and refer to everything that is useful as a Gucci bit of kit.
It’s called being well informed.

You refer to smoke as ‘a double edged sword’.
Yes and?

You spend hours wondering where in civie street you can get an equal disposable income and at least 6 weeks holiday a year, by completing an inversely proportionally tiny amount of tangible work.
thinking probably journalism or poltics, you can save time by not having to worry about facts.

Your blood boils when you see civies wearing DPM.
It’s usually a hippie at a protest and they’re calling better people baby killers… and we get pissed off you say… gosh.

Going out on Thursday “international army night out” wherever it may be, or whichever course one is on, involves forming the ring-of-steel, talking about ourselves and the army and aggressively staring at girls; who if they don’t immediately come over are obviously lesbians.
They’re EVERYWHERE now.

Should any man dare break this ritual, and despite talking to the prettiest of girls – as we would like to do, if it weren’t for the fact we tend to chew our own tongues and dribble – he is clearly gay!

You come out in a cold sweat if you find yourself still working after lunch on a Friday….
Now you’re using four letter words.

You have to stop work at 10am for NAAFI break or else you might not make it to lunch….
Menawhile about the same time 90% of the rest of the world is STARTING work.

At least half of your DVD collection are war movies….
What do you mean “at least”?

Even though your disposable income is twice that of a civie you still manage to spend it all, every month, with nothing to show for it, about a week after you’ve told all your soldiers that you ‘can’t believe how much money they waste on the ****’….
You think this beer gut was free?

The sight of rolling countryside makes you scan for ‘enemy depth’….
You only need to be prepared once for it to pay off.

You think that eating every meal for a week with the same spoon that you licked clean and kept in the pocket of the same shirt you’ve worn all week is perfectly normal….
Don’t be disgusting, I wiped it off on my sweat rag as well.

All of your food has to be prepared by a chef because you’re incapable of cooking anything that can’t either be boiled in a bag or eaten cold….
Don’t be silly, anything can be fried with onions.

You lie when people ask you what you do for a living…..
Need to know.

When leaving your phone number on a voice message you can’t just give it once, has to be repeated.
And how many times have you had to replay messages because you dind’t hear it the first time?

When surveying open ground (when not looking for enemy in depth) you think, good tank country. If a forestry block – I could get a platoon in here.
Once, it only needs to pay off once.

You survey open ground.
You’re like a dog with a bone aren’t you. ONCE.

When you are pointing out some natural feature you begin with “Reference bushy topped tree etc etc”
And now we’re back to clear communication again. See what drugs does to your brain.

Your girlfriend has started saying “admin” and gave you the “Chop” when telling you to put the bin out.
Clear communication works so well its catching.

When meeting mates in a pub you always turn up 5 minutes early and are secretly angry that nobody else has.
So rude.

Worse still, if it’s a venue you haven’t been to before, you turn up 15 minutes early to put in a CTR, in order that you are definitely there 5 minutes early!!!
And I can’t tell you how many times I HAVEN’T been late for an appointment.