Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Surrender? Don't be bloody silly, we're Australian…

The other day I received conduct records regarding my father’s service in the Australian Army. He was a career soldier – starting as a Nasho (National Serviceman) and then going through peace keeping in Korea, the Malay Emergency and later in Vietnam working with US Special Forces and then with the Army on home soil. He would always tell of the time a US Colonel came up to him after a particularly hard battle in Vietnam and declared that my father would be awarded a US medal for his part in it. My father told the Colonel to piss off. Like most Aussie soldiers they didn’t do the job for medals and they sure as hell didn’t care for clean skinned, never-out-in-the-field officers pouncing about. Nah, he didn’t get the medal and he never regretted his words

Anyway, I requested the records from the Army due to accusations I consider slander. As expected the records didn’t indicate much at all in his 30 year history. In fact it was only between 1954 and 1957 that any charges were filed against him. Not so bad for a kid from the slums who had been smacked around by the local cops who told him to go into the Army or else. He went – naturally. What were the charges for? Things like not wearing the right hat or uniform or turning up late. I think of the man he would have been back then – 21 years of age, fresh from the slums of Sydney, a fighter, a survivor and someone who would turn out better than anyone expected.

As for the slander? Greed, jealousy based and un-Australian and I will not countenance it.       

Surrender? Don't be bloody silly, we're Australian…

I cannot surrender. I am in command of Australians who would cut my throat if I did.

Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash.

**Photo is my father outside the Nee Soon Barracks in Singapore 1958 (serving with 3RAR)