ISSUE 516 SEPTEMBER 2020
OPERATION PROTECT The Army involvement increased
INFANTRY CORPS TRAINING Mastering the required skills
SIGNALLERS IN THE SOUTH Technical and leadership attributes tested
TŪ KAHA COURAGE
TŪ TIKA COMMITMENT
TŪ TIRA COMRADESHIP
TŪ MĀIA INTEGRITY
SMA.NET ISSUE 516 SEPTEMBER 2020
NEWS Changes to Defence long service awards
OPERATION Op Protect – the Covid battle
PEOPLE New CO for 2/4
SSGT David Fiu, Bandmaster
The Invictus Games – what now?
SIG Louis Talbot, Sikh and soldier
Ruapehu tragedy remembered
EXERCISES Infantry Corps training
2/1’s top soldiers
Infantry skills tested
Sigs in the South
SPORT Army Sports Awards
Cover: PTE April Ma’a, Depot Coy, trains in combat in Tekapo. Photo: CPL Sean Spivey
The Army News is published for the Regular and Territorial Force and civilian staff of the New Zealand Army. Editor: Judith Martin Ph: 021 240 8578 E: email@example.com www.army.mil.nz Printing: Bluestar, Petone. Design: Vanessa Edridge, DPA, NZDF Editorial contributions and letters are welcomed. They may be sent directly to Army News and do not need to be forwarded through normal command channels. Submit them to The Editor, Army News, DPA, HQ NZDF, Private Bag 39997, Wellington, or by email. Deadline instructions: Army News is published on the third Tuesday of each month, except January. Please have all contributions to the editor by the first of the month. Nothing in the Army News should be taken as overriding any New Zealand Defence Force regulation. Readers should refer to the relevant service publication before acting on any information given in this newspaper. ISSN 1170-4411 All material is copyright, and permission to reproduce must be sought from the editor.
SMA has invited me to address the Army on two key issues that are at the forefront of thinking in the Land Component at the moment; safety in training and adjusting to operating in the Covid-19 environment. Safety in training This is an area that the Land Component Commander and his staff spend a great deal of time and effort on to ensure that training is as safe as reasonably practicable. As we come to terms with the impact of supporting Covid-19 operations, and the effect that this will have on how we train, it is timely that we reassess the impact from a safety in training perspective. Training won’t stop as we still need to prepare our people for operational deployments offshore and in New Zealand. We also need to maintain our ab-initio, training and development pipeline BLOC training at The Army Depot, Army Command School and the schoolhouse, and DLOC training for a number of force elements
that are required to be on reduced notices to move. One aspect that doesn’t change is the requirement to master one skillset or level of training before moving on to the next level. Be assured that there is no pressure from the higher levels of the organisation for force elements to progress to more complex activities if they are not prepared to do so. If you do not believe you or your team are ready for the next training level then don’t move on. There are a number of lines of effort that are currently being reviewed such as confirming we have the right policies that governs our training, and ensuring that this keeps pace with an ever increasing capability introduction programme. The next layer down looks at providing the right training at the right time to ensure that our trainers are qualified, current, and competent to conduct the training. If we have any of these pieces out of alignment then there is the potential for accidents to occur. A key driver in avoiding a serious incident occurring is the reporting of less serious incidents or near misses. Research shows that for every serious harm accident there are many near misses that occurred previously. These near misses may not have been with the same unit or activity but if we can increase our near miss reporting and analysis there is a good chance that we will be able to change training, policy or processes, to avoid accidents in the future.
Covid-19 There has been a great deal of adjustment over the last month or so as we have come to grips with what is required of Army in the ever-changing environment of Operation Protect. Our contribution to the All of Government response will grow, and whilst there will continue to be changes, I believe there are three key elements that we as individuals and the wider collective can focus on to ensure that we are prepared for the long haul. Firstly is resilience. There is no doubt that resilience across the force will be tested as we support the GoNZ response to Covid-19. Our individual resilience will be pushed and there are many resources on the Defence Health Intranet site that we can utilise to assist us with this. Our whanau resilience will also be tested. It is likely that many will be rotated into Operation Protect a number of times and we need to prepare our families for this and ensure that mechanisms are in place to support them whilst you are deployed. We generally do this well when we deploy offshore and we now have to use this same mind-set in New Zealand. The next key element is readiness. Operation Protect will be a long-term commitment and we need to ensure that we maintain our readiness over a protracted period to meet our obligations in support of the Covid-19 response. Own your individual readiness and if you are in a command appointment ensure
that your team are good to go. Every soldier that is not capable of deploying adds stress to the organisation and puts pressure on others to do more. The third key element is a positive attitude. Above all else I believe that a positive attitude can overcome 95% of the issues that will be encountered over the coming months. You are all well trained soldiers who have volunteered to serve New Zealand and this operation is a great opportunity to do that in a manner that the people of New Zealand can be proud of. The roles that you are all doing directly impact the safety of our most vulnerable. You are assisting in keeping the country in as stable a position as possible given the circumstances. Keep up the great work. Warrant Officer Class One Paul McIntosh
Fairer system for Defence long service awards
CAREER MANAGEMENT CORNER
A range of changes to the New Zealand Defence Force long service awards system has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen.
This is the first in a series of regular future articles on important issues affecting your or your people’s careers.
“A fairer system has been developed to recognise the vital contribution Regular Force and Reserve Force military personnel make by serving the New Zealand Government and the public,” said Defence Minister Ron Mark. “The changes will resolve a range of legitimate grievances held by both serving and ex-serving personnel, relating to inconsistencies in the eligibility criteria between the various awards. “The eligibility criteria changes will immediately qualify about 650 current military personnel for their first long service award, and entitle more than 1,700 other current military personnel to a clasp to
a long service award they have already received.” Up to 4,000 ex-Service persons will also now qualify for a long service award and/or clasp(s). “Previously, the service of many former military members could not be recognised and honoured by means of a long service award, but now they will be able to show that they have served their country in uniform,” said Ron Mark. “Our Defence Force recognises and rewards excellence. It is only right that we celebrate these achievements and that military personnel are recognised for the contribution they make to benefit New Zealand.”
We, DACM (Directorate of Army Career Management), aim to provide you with career related news, updates and critical dates. Inter-regional posting notices were issued on 7 September for a posting date of 7 December. If you are posted outside your current region please start checking your entitlements, including unaccompanied posting entitlements, as soon as possible. The DIXS HR Toolkit provides all the information you need for a smooth move. Intra-regional posting notices for a posting date of 7 December will be issued between now and November. DACM will move all Corporal to Brigadier PDRs to the End of Year Review stage on 1 November to ensure that PDRs are completed by everyone (member, 1UP and 2UP etc) no later than 7 December. PDRs form the basis of all annual career management boards which commence in February 2021. More on the importance of performance reporting in future articles.
You will find more useful information about (amongst other things) postings and performance reporting on the Army Career Management intranet site which is accessible through The Command Post page – look for the link below the SMA’s Blog button. If you have any suggestions for future articles or website content, please contact DACMIM@nzdf.mil.nz.
A MESSAGE FROM CHIEF OF ARMY Op Protect brings out Army’s true character We don’t get to choose where we deploy, nor the type of mission we’re given. We can one day be patrolling the mountains of Afghanistan, the next providing emergency relief in the South West Pacific, even responding to an earthquake in Christchurch. We serve where our Government determines the need is greatest and, when we do, we both commit ourselves to the task at hand and we represent our nation in the best traditions of the New Zealand Army. Historically, we have been an expeditionary Army and our contributions to the maintenance of the international rules based order, for the last hundred plus years, have been significant. But right now, our nation’s greatest need is not in some off-shore theatre but, for one of the few times in our history, it is here in New Zealand. The threat from Covid-19 is complex and it is challenging our nation in ways not experienced in any of our lifetimes. It is requiring a range of measures to be implemented within our communities that none of us thought likely and it is requiring government agencies, defence included, to collaborate and optimise both effort and resources. Covid-19 is a very different type of threat to any that we have prepared for and it’s requiring us all to respond in a very different way. Our Government’s 2018 Strategic Defence Policy Statement spoke to the full spectrum of value that the NZDF delivers to New Zealanders, and introduced the Community, Nation, World framework to describe the roles defence plays to promote the overall wellbeing and resilience of New Zealand. The policy statement also spoke to Government’s expectations of defence and, in part, the important contribution defence makes in safeguarding New Zealand’s borders and sovereign territory. Defence’s contributions to the safeguarding of our borders have, until now, been primarily the domain of Air and Navy. With an acknowledgment of the absolute criticality of the border in fighting Covid, the NZDF’s role in the management and security of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities is increasing exponentially. This is where the need is greatest and what is required right now to meet that need is a disciplined, committed, trusted force who can provide not only a service of the highest standard but have the confidence of all New Zealanders. Not surprisingly, given the numbers now being required of the NZDF to achieve these outcomes, Army will take on the lion’s share of this effort.
None of us joined the Army to secure isolation facilities in New Zealand nor spend our time controlling the daily routine of fellow New Zealanders. But there is no ignoring the fact that Covid-19 is real, it’s here, and it’s not going to go away soon. It is the single biggest threat facing New Zealand, it is where our Government has determined the need is greatest, and it requires all of us to lean into this mission as we would any major deployment. Op Protect is a very different type of deployment and one that is likely, in its own right, to become very routine and, for some, lose attraction. Team, we have to work through that – we have no other choice. Our management and security of the Covid-19 Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities will be both critical to controlling the virus at our borders and ensuring our nation’s well-being. The requirement on us, therefore, is two-fold. Firstly, understand clearly what’s required of you and your team and, then, like you always do when we deploy off-shore and when it’s needed most, step up and make a difference. It really is at times like this that you see the true character of our Army. The ability to quickly reorient to the mission. To perform to the highest of professional standards regardless of the circumstance and stick at it, until the task is completed. Our professionalism and service over the coming months is key, and we will deliver.
Soldiers and other personnel arriving to staff Rotorua’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities were formally welcomed to the community at Tamatekapua/Te Papaiouru Marae last week. Visitors included Defence, New Zealand Police, hotel general managers, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment personnel, and Air Commodore
Darryn Webb, who oversees all quarantine and managed isolation facilities. As of Monday 14 September more than 600 Defence personnel
were providing managed isolation staff and security, maritime border assistance and strategic level support under Operation Protect. Read more, pages 4 and 5.
Major General John Boswell Chief of Army
Soldiers gather on the marae.
Safety Awards – send your nomination now One of the ways in which the NZDF recognises and celebrates excellence in health and safety is through the annual Safety Awards. Nominations are now open in five different categories, until 21 September. If you know anyone in your team or unit who has gone over and beyond the call of duty and led by example in promoting health,
safety, and wellbeing over the last year, this is your opportunity to help recognise them.
To submit a nomination, or if you have any questions, email NZDFSafety@nzdf.mil.nz.
EMPATHY AND ORDER THE ROLE WE PLAY By Judith Martin
With pillows jammed under their arms, hair dishevelled and their faces lined with fatigue, a couple and their two young daughters wearily climb the stairs at the RNZAF’s Air Movements Terminal in Rongotai, Wellington. Major Nigel Elder is on the landing and greets them. “Welcome home – come on in,” he says. He’s wearing a mask, but his voice exudes warmth and confidence. The people he is speaking to as they and 17 others pour off the Air New Zealand ATR charter flight are returning to New Zealand after a long flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, and then on to Wellington where they will spend the next two weeks in managed isolation in a Wellington hotel. While tired, they too are calm and obviously appreciate the atmosphere they have encountered and the approach taken by Major Elder, the officer in charge of the Regional Isolation Quarantine Coordination Centre. He and his team of Captain Grant Daniels and Lance Corporal Joe Sunckell are joined by two police officers, an aviation security representative, and a public health nurse as the 21 returnees gather in the terminal lounge. The team works well together, having processed many such flights over recent weeks as Kiwis return home to comparative safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The system is slick.
First up, a health brief. The returnees are given information on how to use the personal protection equipment they are issued with, and what they can expect when they reach their isolation facility. They are handed forms to fill out and told a bus would soon take them to their hotel about 10km away. Every detail appears to be covered: the bus will travel via the Wellington bays rather than through Mt Victoria tunnel to avoid the problems a potential breakdown or holdup in the tunnel could cause. There are many head-counts, and there appears to be virtually no opportunities for returnees to abscond before they reach their hotel. MAJ Elder says the key to making sure things run smoothly is using the “soft skills” Army personnel have. “Empathy in particular,” he says. “These people might be in a situation they don’t want to be in, they’re tired and possibly feeling vulnerable. It’s up to us to reassure them they’re going into a safe environment, and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure their stay is as pleasant as possible. After all in the main they’re Kiwis coming home.”
There have been few hiccups. “There was one person who was quite claustrophobic and anxious. We did what we could to make him feel better. This situation (managing returnees) is continually evolving. We want the process to be well-managed and do everything we can to ensure its integrity. We give them firm directions so we can take care of them, and they generally respond well.” LCPL Sunckell did a stint at a managed isolation facility (MIF) in Christchurch earlier in the year, and sees his role at the coordination centre as a continuation of that work. “At the MIF we tried to ensure the nursing, hotel and security staff were all working together properly. We’d address any issues that arose, and try and help wherever we could. It’s interesting work, and while it’s not something I ever thought I’d be doing, it feels worthwhile to be helping people. Ultimately that’s why you join the Army.”
CAPT Grant Daniels (left) and MAJ Nigel Elder wait for returnees to arrive.
Soldiers ready for work in Rotorua. Photo: Andrew Warner
A significant commitment Operation Protect has been stood up to manage the different components of the NZDF support to the Government’s Covid-19 response. The NZDF is currently planning on providing support to the Government’s Covid-19 response for a further 18–24 month period. This is a planning figure, and could be extended or reduced depending on any future requests from the Government. The current commitment to Op Protect has a large number of NZDF personnel supporting, or standing by to support, Covid-19 response activities. This level of commitment is significant and the NZDF is constantly reviewing its activities to ensure it can meet its obligations under Op Protect, while maintaining its own training, force generation, mandated operational deployments and other aid to the civil power. Eighty personnel have been supporting the work of Customs at the maritime border, and another 100 will be involved in providing electoral support in the MIQFs during the upcoming General Election. This increase in effort has seen the total number of NZDF personnel involved in supporting the all of Government response to Covid-19 increase significantly. In addition to the tasks at the MIQFs, maritime border and during the General Election, NZDF personnel have been supporting tasks at the Auckland border road check-points and various Covid-19 response headquarters.
Clockwise from top left: The inter-agency welcoming party at a managed isolation facility; Temperatures are taken regularly; Soldiers helped manage road block in Auckland during the Level 3 lockdown there; More than 600 NZDF personnel are now involved in Op Protect; Enroute to an Op Protect deployment.
Mitigating the risk The NZDF’s role in Op Protect means soldiers, sailors and airmen could be at a greater risk of exposure to Covid-19 than the general public, acknowledges Op Protect Commander Colonel Andy Shaw. “I am aware that there is a growing level of anxiety in our wider military community about the risks involved. I would like to assure our NZDF whānau that we take the protection of our personnel very seriously. We have assessed the risk and have taken additional steps to keep the families of our personnel as safe as possible. “The duties that NZDF personnel are typically involved with are less risky in terms of Covid-19 exposure than other occupational groups such as medical staff and first responders, and we have measures in place to avoid direct, prolonged contact with individuals at risk of infection with Covid-19. In order to reduce the risk further, our personnel comply with Ministry of Health guidelines
within the facilities including social distancing, hand washing, cough etiquette and wearing PPE as appropriate. There have been, so far, no members of Op Protect who have contracted Covid-19 in the course of their duties. “We are accommodating our personnel within the MIQFs or in nearby facilities while they are undertaking duties, and before any NZDF member returns home from a MIQF, maritime border or regional checkpoint task they will have had a test and returned a negative result. “To further protect our people, we have applied an extra level of scrutiny to ensure that no-one with underlying conditions which would put them at risk of severe Covid-19 or complications of Covid-19 is deploying into front line roles as part of Op Protect.
“We cannot eliminate the risk completely, and we are working in areas with a low risk of prolonged unprotected contact with people who have the Covid-19 virus. We have good procedures in place within the facilities, and we have additional layers of protection for our families by accommodating our people away from home during their duties, and not releasing them until they return a negative result. We are doing everything we practically can to keep our people, and their families safe while we undertake these important roles that contribute directly to protecting the people of New Zealand.”
A soldier receives his Covid test.
SOUTH ISLAND RESERVE FORCE BOOSTED BY NEW CO By Charlene Williamson
The new Commanding Officer of 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) is back in the South Island, and loving being home.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Tuatini
Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Tim Tuatini took over command of the New Zealand Army’s South Island Reserve unit in July and is looking forward to continuing the positive work of those before him. A Regular Force Infantry Officer, LTCOL Tuatini has been fortunate to be posted all over the country, as well as various overseas postings and deployments. He has been posted to Reserve Battalions before, including Adjutant with 3rd Battalion, Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly’s Own) and Northland, and as the Executive Officer of 2/4 RNZIR. “I consider both postings to the reserve units to be some of my favourites. A large number of personnel are still here in the unit so it’s great to be back with them again,” said LTCOL Tuatini. 2/4 RNZIR personnel and sub-units cover from Nelson to Invercargill. It is the largest area covered by a reserve unit in the Army. LTCOL Tuatini acknowledges that Reserves are limited in training time and resources and his goal is to invest in the unit’s personnel both in numbers and in combat infantry skills. “Hand in hand with this are opportunities for Reserve Battalion
members to integrate into 2/1 RNZIR in Burnham in a meaningful manner that benefits both the Regular Force unit and 2/4. “Growth is always problematic for the Reserves. I am keen to see if we can encourage more soldiers and officers leaving the Regular Force to join 2/4 RNZIR if they are located in the South Island,” he said. LTCOL Tuatini said the key strength of the Reserves is their location in communities around New Zealand. “Both our people and estate are interconnected within their local communities. This gives the Army visibility outside of the two main camps. “Reserves are called upon as immediate local first response to humanitarian assistance events. Having the Civil Defence relationships in local councils allows Army to be seen as a trusted, positive partner in our communities,” he said. Army25 looks to provide world class combat-focused land forces that are trained, led and equipped to win as part of an Integrated Defence Force. LTCOL Tuatini said the Reserve Battalions will contribute to this mission by providing trained combat troops and force elements
specialising in light infantry operations. “We are building on this, concentrating our efforts on contributing individuals and force elements to 2/1 RNZIR as part of the light task group. Ultimately we need to work on generating a combat rifle company, reconnaissance and surveillance and support weapons section for 2025,” he said. The plan is to look at an expansion of training, integration with Regular Force counterparts, pursuing resources, sustaining growth and what can be done to progress this all. The ability to draw on Reserve personnel should not be discounted. “Reserve personnel bring agility of thought, commitment and specialist skills from their primary occupations, which can be utilised to sustain current and future operations,” said LTCOL Tuatini. The Army Reserves is made up of close to 1,900 highly skilled New Zealanders who are diverse and dedicated. They are part-time soldiers, ready to deploy at short notice, and continue to actively support Army as well as their day-to-day civilian jobs.
The New Zealand Army band.
THE MAKING OF A MUSICAL MASTER:
SSGT Fiu, Bandmaster By Judith Martin
David Fiu grew up surrounded in a swirl of music and singing – all sorts of singing. The born and bred Wellingtonian is of Samoan and Māori descent and can’t remember a time when his home was not filled with beautiful sound. “Music has always been an important part of my life and I have a broad appreciation of musical genres. From a young age I have so many memories of guitars and ukuleles being heard with plenty of singing.” Staff Sergeant Fiu is the New Zealand Army Band’s Bandmaster which means he is responsible for the preparation, rehearsal, execution and delivery of whatever tasks the unit is assigned throughout the year. It is a job he loves, and his talents came to the fore earlier this year when, along with other band members, he kept the fans engaged through the wearying days of Covid lockdown. They managed to entertain crowds, but from the comfort of their own homes. “The Director of Music (MAJ Graham Hickman) and I quickly established that the programme of events planned in April/May which included the NZ Tattoo, the National Jazz Festival, and Anzac Day activities were to be cancelled, and that the nation was to be in Level 4 Covid lockdown.
“This was an unprecedented event and affected everyone worldwide. It was important to provide a positive message in this time of uncertainty. We saw the need to ensure that the unit remained busy and visible. Conducting Burnham Camp guard duties and isolation videos kept the NZ Army Band engaged and positive during this period. The videos were a way of working together for a common goal and we received great immediate feedback from our peers and superiors in the NZ Defence Force. “As Bandmaster I oversee and implement the training required to ensure the troops are able to fulfil their individual requirements not only in their music demands but in their soldiering requirements.” He had many teachers and music mentors growing up. “I started formalising my music appreciation initially with piano lessons as a child. Then began cornet/trumpet tuition through the Wellington South Salvation Army in Newtown.” Nowadays he plays piano, cello, trumpet, tuba, trombone, bass guitar, and sings. “I have had many highlights on each of these instruments however more recently have had the privilege as vocalist at NZDF ceremonial occasions both nationally and internationally.”
Does he have a favourite style? “I like jazz, funk, R&B, classical, brass band, and reggae. “No preference really – I listen to everything. I have studied various musical styles which has given me a broad base and an appreciation of how powerful a medium music is.” His favourite composers include Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Ludwig van Beethoven, Rimsky Korsakov, Sergei Prokofiev… yes this is a man with eclectic tastes. SSGT Fiu says while it is important to know the history of military music and be ready to perform it as required, it is just as important to remain relevant to the audience the band is targeting.
“Whether that is retirement homes or high school concerts, or a variety concert with varying age demographics we aim to ensure all bases are ticked off. It provides a challenge and I rely on the members of the unit for suggestions and guidance. Having this approach allows for buy-in or ownership from the musicians and the feeling of contribution.”
“As Bandmaster I oversee and implement the training required to ensure the troops are able to fulfil their individual requirements not only in their music demands but in their soldiering requirements.”
WO2 Jared Davidson
RIDING OUT THE DISAPPOINTMENT & FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE By Sharon Lundy
Covid-19 might have forced the postponement of this year’s Invictus Games but NZDF team member Staff Sergeant Lindsay Thomas has no regrets about being part of the 2020 team. The Invictus Games The Hague 2020 were scheduled for May 9–16 but have been postponed until May 29 – June 5 2021, and there’s a good chance it could be virtual. The NZDF team held a Reconnect+Reset camp at Base Auckland from August 7–9, and SSGT Thomas said it was great to be together again. “It’s about the team and the connections and the togetherness. It’s about the journey. If it’s virtual, so what, we’re still a team,” he said. “To share your stories is probably the thing.” SSGT Thomas’ story is one he has carried for 29 of the 31 years he has served. “During a night exercise in 1991, with no lights, a Scorpion tank that I was driving went over a 30 foot cliff in Waiouru. The Crew Commander, Sergeant Hohepa Timutimu, was killed. I had one night in hospital for observation and then one week later was put back into a tank to drive,” he said.
“This accident has lived with me ever since. It cut deep but it wasn’t the done thing to say you were struggling back then. I still have issues driving at night and have struggled personally for all these years.” On top of that, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago and had a 7cm tumour removed, along with his kidney, and has had the all clear although is still regularly scanned. SSGT Thomas said news of the Games’ cancellation was initially crushing, especially as he was down for an operational deployment next year which meant he would miss the rescheduled Games. During lockdown he changed his fitness focus from competitor to operational, getting out his webbing and preparing for the combat fitness test and pack marching. “But once we got back to work I got word that Defence Health had pulled all deployment nominees with a medical waiver attached, which was me, so decision made,” he said. “That meant I was available for the Games again. As one door closes another opens.” Fellow Invictus team member Warrant Officer Class 2 Jared Davidson has also changed his focus since lockdown, deciding to concentrate on operational fitness rather than Invictus fitness. A number of physical injuries, including crushing his thumb in a logsplitter, contributed to WO2 Davidson being diagnosed with depression in 2017. In 2018 he was diagnosed with melanoma; he needed two surgeries as it had spread from the initial site to his lymph nodes.
Being named in the team for the 2020 Games was supposed to be a turning point, but he took on too many events and ended up in worse shape thanks to a number of injuries. “So I’m actually glad I’ve got a whole extra year of training up my sleeve. A few of us have had this, saying we’re glad we’ve got longer to be better but disappointed we didn’t get to go. “Since coming out of lockdown I’ve decided I’m not going to concentrate on Invictus, I’m going to concentrate on becoming fit again, and working on the operational fitness. “So let’s focus on that first, which will aid in any sort of fitness for Invictus, and then I can enhance it from there. It gives me a straight goal.” For two-time breast cancer survivor and team co-captain Captain Buffy Little, lockdown was a bit of a drawn out affair; she, her wife and her mother-in-law were on a Pacific cruise when the world started shutting down. “The cruise was just around the sea in the end. It was meant to go to New Caledonia and we were meant to have a number of stops there and around Vanuatu. Thanks to all things Covid we only ended up getting off in Noumea for a day.” They went straight into selfisolation when they got home and were a week and a half in when the country went into lockdown. CAPT Little said it was inevitable that the Games would be postponed so it didn’t bother her too much. She struggled more when it got to the week the team was supposed to leave for The Hague. “For me it was about riding it out. I had a couple of days where I was
SSGT Lindsay Thomas
WO2 Jared Davidson training with the help of PTI and Invictus trainer/coach Matthew Reid.
pretty flat so I just acknowledged it and focused on the here and the now and the things you can control,” she said. “But this camp has been fantastic. It’s been a good opportunity to reset, to bring
everyone back together, to say ‘this still is a thing, we’re still doing it’.” The NZDF Invictus Games team is supported by Fulton Hogan and Dynasty.
SIG Louis Talbot on graduation day. Photo: CPL Naomi James
A SIKH AND SOLDIER
SIG LOUIS TALBOT By Judith Martin
Integrating easily into the New Zealand Army as a baptized Sikh is all about communication and looking for opportunities to make things happen, says one of our newest soldiers, SIG Louis Talbot.
SIG Talbot was brought up on a crop farm near Temuka, South Canterbury and attended Christ’s College. “I have always had a passion to join the military. Growing up I was always reading about New Zealand’s military history and wanted to serve. I like the Army’s involvement in providing peacekeeping and humanitarian aid along with its primary focus of training to fight. I also have a great love of outdoors and fitness and the Army’s reputation of having high fitness standards was another thing which motivated me to join.” He is doing his initial corps training, learning fundamentals for being a signaler in a signals detachment. After his current course, he will train in the Electronic Warfare Squadron.
As a Sikh, he wears a turban and has a beard. He keeps a small sword (kirpan) on him as well as the rest of the five “ks” traditional to baptized Sikhs – kashera, (shorts), kanga (comb), kara (iron or steel bangle) and kes (uncut hair). “Initially at the start of my recruit course, I was told my kirpan would be taken off me as in the TAD standing orders, you are not allowed weapons in barracks, however I stated the importance of the kirpan, and my Commanding Officer approved it to be kept on me. If the five ks are not allowed, Sikhs that are gursikhs (baptized Sikhs) who follow this life style would not join the Army as it is important that we keep these things.”
Sikhs traditionally wake early in the morning and recite prayers. “It is challenging on Basic training as you share a room with up to 10 other recruits. You are to wake up only when ordered and you have no personal light in your bed space and no phone to source your religious texts off, so you have to bring your own gutka sahib (collaboration of religious texts for Sikhs) and source your own small light. Basic training is fast-paced so finding time for prayers isn’t easy and has to be asked for by recruits to instructors daily, as you are always on the go from 0530–2200.” SIG Talbot used the time in the morning when other male recruits were shaving to tie his dastaar or turban, and for other parts of his morning routine.
The variety of work is one of the best parts about being in the Army, he says. “Every day is different, from classroom training to outdoor practical tasks, to going for physical training with the regiment, each working day is enjoyable. The most challenging thing for me so far has to be the long days and nights on field exercises being the section gunner no.1, pack marching with great weight, something I had never done before, but pushed through. The army trains you well in building up your mental and physical strength to be able to perform better than you could think you could possibly do.”
“Every day is different, from classroom training to outdoor practical tasks, to going for physical training with the regiment, each working day is enjoyable.”
INFANTRY CORPS TRAINING UNDERWAY By Charlene Williamson
Snow and sub-zero temperatures were just some of the challenges Combat Corps Training soldiers faced on the recent Southern Warrior exercise in Tekapo.
Photos: CPL Sean Spivey
The first major exercise of their corps training, Southern Warrior focused on open country terrain with section level live field firing during the day and night. Officer Commanding MAJ James Martin said the exercise helped to develop the soldiers’ skill levels under duress. “In addition to developing soldiers’ close combat skills in an open country terrain setting, this exercise helped to develop their resilience through a sustained period of physically challenging tactical activity,” he said. It was also a chance for instructors to train them in a tactical environment, and assess their current skill level and provide soldiers with detailed feedback. MAJ Martin said Depot Company is piloting a new system of assessment for Corps trainees. “The new assessments are designed to give soldiers the best opportunity to master the required skills in each phase and provide their instructors a clear, consistent method of assessing,” he said. The assessments outline the ten required field craft skills that need to be demonstrated in the three assessed phases (open country, close country and urban terrain) with examples of behaviours that need to be demonstrated for each skill. The assessments are divided into three parts with the first two parts being observation reports and the third part being the final performance report.
“The observation reports are completed by the instructors after the build-up training and mid-way through the tactical exercise and each report is given to the students with a verbal debrief on its contents and is then followed by a deliberate period of retraining. “This system benefits our corps trainees as they have clear feedback and training throughout the phase on known standards, and instructors have clear standards to train their soldiers to,” said MAJ Martin. The soldiers will complete urban and close country exercises in the months to come before marching out with the coveted Red Diamond badge of the New Zealand Army in late October. Combat Corps Training provides combat capable soldiers to Regular Force units.
BEING THE BEST – 2/1’S TOP SOLDIERS By Judith Martin
Physical and mental resilience, resourcefulness and soldiering skills were put to the test when 120 soldiers competed for the 2nd/1st Battalion’s Top Soldier Award recently. Privates Sam Edlinton and Keegan Cassidy of Alpha Company won the competition. “I was tired at the end of it, but pretty stoked to have won,” said PTE Cassidy. The event was held over three days, and the final teams covered 75.5 kilometres. Over the next 72 hours the soldiers’ skills and endurance were tested at 29 different stands by day and night, across complex terrain including forestry, urban areas, trench systems and on a live firing ranges. The winning soldiers, who are mates, slept for just six hours in total throughout the competition. PTE Cassidy said the first two days were straightforward, but the last one “required a lot more thinking”. “There were different assaults through different areas, with lots of different challenges thrown at us. You had no idea what sort of scenario you might walk in to.”
PTE Edlinton said for him the hardest part was the technical phase where they had to recall a lot of data relating to military vehicles and weapons. “There were times when we would be tested on the capabilities of our different weapons and equipment, as well as recognising other military’s equipment.” Competition organiser Staff Sergeant Joseph van Arendonk said Top Soldier not only recognised and rewarded the Army’s best private soldiers but also tested them, and provided information on the Battalion’s most junior rank’s individual training and skill levels. “By conducting a competition that tests a wide range of individual and pair’s core skills under arduous physical and mental conditions it allows the battalion to see exactly where we need to improve and focus our war fighting training.
“As soldiers we will never and should never operate as individuals. There will always be a mate or comrade there to help with any given task. Changing the competition from a purely individual run event to one that is conducted and competed for in teams of two, is more in keeping with how we do business on the battlefield. It allowed us to test and access the teams on a wider range of core skills that cannot be conducted as an individual, such as pairs fire and manoeuvre, room clearance drills and crew served weapon skills.” The winners wear a gold 2/1 patch on their uniform, have a gold bayonet on parade and their names go on the new Top Soldier trophy. They will also conduct a week’s training with the SAS.
Photos: CPL Sean Spivey
INFANTRY SKILLS TESTED By Charlene Williamson
Soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment have been practising their fundamental military skills on Exercise Alpha Panjwai. This was the first time Alpha Company have deployed into the field in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The exercise provided soldiers with the opportunity to hone their skills at the individual and section level and included the use of the 60mm M6C-640T Light Mortar in a live field firing environment. The 60mm is an indirect, high angle, muzzle loaded weapon designed for firing high explosive, smoke and illuminating bombs. Officer Commanding, Alpha Company Major (MAJ) Sam Gouk said the exercise prepared soldiers to progress onto more complex and higher intensity training from the platoon level up.
Photos: CPL Chad Sharman
“The skills practised on this exercise set the foundation to conduct combat operations in a mid to high intensity environment. “The scenarios in the exercise gave junior commanders the opportunity to make decisions on how best to employ the weapon systems they have available and to ensure they are able to seek out and close with the enemy,” he said.
SIG SKILLS HONED IN SOUTH ISLAND SCENARIO The technical competency and leadership abilities of soldiers and NCOs within 4 Signals Squadron was tested during Exercise Nestor Notabilis in the South Island recently. An additional focus of the exercise was improving technical skills that had faded during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was held in Burnham Military Camp, and in outlying areas such as West Melton Rifle Range, West Melton Domain, Hororata, Darfield, Glentunnel and The Port Hills being used as remote station locations. About 50 officers and soldiers from 4 Signals Squadron, a small element from 2/1 Regimental Signals and a small team from 3 Signals Squadron using it as a training opportunity. An exercise spokesman said one of the key challenges was planning the activity during the Covid-19 lockdown and changing times and locations that could be used.
“The inclusion of elements from other units tested the detachments’ commanders’ ability to incorporate external personnel and revise standard operating procedures to suit.” The exercise scenario was based on humanitarian and disaster relief in the Canterbury region, and as such participants were given little warning and preparation time. The NEA Delivered GATR and the FA 240 were both deployed to test soldiers’ competencies associated with these. The exercise used various C2 LOV’s as its primary vehicle.
Sonny Te Rure
RUAPEHU TRAGEDY REMEMBERED A memorial dedicated to six young servicemen who died on Mt Ruapehu during an Army Adventurous Training Course 30 years ago, and those who survived, was unveiled during a ceremony in Waiouru last month.
The five soldiers and one sailor were on the mountaineering phase of a winter course when they died in extreme weather conditions. Five soldiers and two instructors with the group survived. The memorial and ceremony was organised by the Army Liaison Officer for Families of the Fallen. “The words, “Really! 30 years, it still feels like yesterday”, were a common reply when I spoke about what I was currently working on,” said SSGT Tina Grant. “For some of us time stands still but for others it’s a blur, especially when you lose a loved one. It is a fine balance of learning to ‘get on with life’ and keep remembering the ones we love and have lost. That is how the Families of the Fallen from the Mt Ruapehu tragedy explained how they have coped with the loss of their sons on that tragic day 30 years ago.”
The unveiling was preceded by a formal dinner the night before attended by the Sergeant Major of the Army, BRIG (Rtd) Phil Gibbons the Honorary Colonel for 1 RNZIR, and COL (Rtd) Ray Seymour, the Colonel of the Regiment. SSGT Grant said the highlight of the evening was when BRIG Gibbons addressed the diners and presented the families and survivors with a small memento recognising 30 years of remembrance. SSGT Grant said feedback received from the families and survivors was positive. “They were grateful to meet, greet, and share stories of their loved ones considering the national situation of Covid-19 Level 2. They were appreciative of the Army especially TRADOC allowing them to come together and remember.”
A survivor remembers By Sharon Lundy
Thirty years have passed since Sonny Te Rure survived the NZDF tragedy on Mt Ruapehu but he can remember it like it was yesterday. Mr Te Rure was one of 13 young men – 12 from the Army and one from the Navy – who set out on an ill-fated alpine training course on August 12, 1990. Privates Brett Barker, Stuart McAlpine, Mark Madigan, Jason Menhennet and David Stewart and Naval Rating Jeffrey Boult died on the mountain. Mr Te Rure attended the unveiling of the memorial. He was there to remember and to pay his respects – to those who died and to those who survived. “I was one of the survivors. I was their friend,” he said. “I think everyone benefitted from coming together and acknowledging those men, because at the end of the day they wore the uniform like we all once did. “We all signed on the dotted line to be part of a big whānau, and it’s only fair that we recognise and acknowledge that.” Mr Te Rure was one of three soldiers awarded a New Zealand Bravery Medal for their actions in trying to save their comrades; he shared his sleeping bag with two others in an ultimately futile attempt to save their lives. The others to be recognised were Privates Brendon Burchell and David Stewart, the latter posthumously. “The reason why I thought it was my duty to look after these young guys is because I knew they had just joined Victor
Company. We were already part of that Company, that team, that whānau, so I felt it was our duty to look after them,” he said. “Never mind about ourselves, look after them. Not once did I think about myself. I thought about my other comrades who were there, because I knew that they weren’t in a good space, mentally or physically.” Mr Te Rure suffered frostbite during the ordeal and, as a result of that and other injuries suffered while serving, is in the NZDF 2020 Invictus Games team – along with old friends from Basic Training Robert “Tiny” Graham and George Nepata. His NZDF connections don’t end there; son Sapper Dwayne Whaitiri was among family members who accompanied him to the memorial. Mr Te Rure enjoyed catching up with his fellow survivors and with the families of those who died, in the shadow of the mountain that caused so much devastation. He puts his survival to “the man upstairs”. “You might think you don’t believe in God but I tell you what, when something like this happens you get down on your knees and you pray. I can just remember it like it was yesterday.”
IRAQ MORALEBOOSTER JOE RECOGNIZED WITH COMMENDATION By Judith Martin
Remember how important mail from home was the last time you deployed? And when someone baked you a cake to celebrate your birthday when your family was thousands of miles away?
If you served in the eighth rotation to Iraq you may recall the soldier responsible for those small gestures that meant so much. Corporal Joe HungerfordMorgan, a chef, deployed to Iraq between November 2018 and May 2019. He deployed as a postal clerk but in true Army fashion turned his hand to whatever needed to be done. His work ethic and attitude has been recognised with the award of a New Zealand Defence Force commendation, delivered to him by Commander Joint Forces NZ, Commodore Jim Gilmour. According to his citation CPL Hungerford-Morgan’s diligence and willingness to take on a wide range of additional duties made a significant contribution to the morale of the contingent. He was in every respect a ‘force multiplier’, held in high esteem by peers, subordinates and superiors alike. “While not a high profile function, the flow of mail and welfare packages, particularly over Christmas, is a topic of great scrutiny and crucial for good morale. CPL Hungerford-Morgan took a great deal of pride in his responsibilities and executed this duty flawlessly. However his
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contributions went far beyond his primary role. His ‘can do’ attitude, enthusiasm and selflessness saw him manage multiple lines of effort concurrently across a range of other Task Group Taji functions. As an Assistant Physical Training Instructor he led and supported physical training, testing, sport and recreation activities. As a Combat Shooting Instructor he supported the conduct of shooting training, and as a chef he was central to the planning and delivery of catering support to national and coalition activities. This included providing
many birthday cakes prepared in his personal camp oven. “CPL Hungerford-Morgan proved himself to be a professional junior non-commissioned officer for whom nothing was a problem. Unfailingly reliable, his knowledge, maturity, and energy consistently exceeded expectations for his rank.” CPL Hungerford-Morgan told Army News he “loved every minute” of his deployment. “I had a fantastic time. I had a broad range of things to do and they pretty much just let me get on with things, so I really embraced that.
“I had nowhere else to go – I couldn’t go home at night – so I thought I might as well help out where I could. Didn’t matter to me if they were Americans, Brits or Kiwis, I just got stuck in.”
Above: The Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, CDRE Jim Gilmour presents CPL Hungerford-Morgan with his commendation.
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN SUPPORTING OP RESPECT Improved pedestrian lighting, privacy vision holes in barrack room doors and clearing vegetation are some of the new measures being rolled out at Linton Army Camp to improve safety for personnel. Defence Estate and Infrastructure’s Estate Delivery Managers (EDMs) have been asked to set aside $100,000 from their minor new works budgets to undertake safety improvements to support Op Respect at their camp or base using the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This is in addition to funding already allocated for upgrades this year. CPTED uses good design to create naturally safer environments that reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Defence Estate and Infrastructure (DEI) commissioned a CPTED report on the future designs of barracks and messes as part of its long term Accommodation Messing and Dining Modernisation (AMDM)
Programme. Linton will be the first site to test any new future designs. Clear pedestrian networks between key locations with good lighting and good signage are key elements of good environmental design. Glass doors allowing visibility into meeting rooms, bike parking rooms, laundries and cleaning rooms can also help improve safety as can windows in stairwells in barracks buildings. “While the review was positive about the long term plans for the proposed new accommodation and messing areas under the AMDM programme, it also recommended some improvements,” Tracy Carlin, Director Strategic Programmes, Defence Estate and Infrastructure (DEI), says.
“As well as incorporating these recommendations into our design, we wanted to use the findings of this report and the principles of CPTED to improve safety now. By making some relatively small changes we are able to provide big benefits for personnel. Good environmental design is a way we can further support Op Respect,” she said. The DEI Delivery team agreed and asked EDMs to look at what they could do at their camp and base to improve safety to support Op Respect. Improvements at Linton will include better lighting and clearing vegetation on key pedestrian routes particularly around the café, gym and main dining areas, and installing privacy vision holes in barrack room
doors. Installing privacy chains on barrack room doors is also being considered. At Burnham, external lighting will be updated, bedroom doors will be fitted with vision holes and new door handles will be fitted to maintain security but without being locked out. Tanya Coleman, Programme Manager, Op Respect agrees good environmental design can play a part in improving safety at camps and bases and help make people feel safe. “It minimises opportunities for crime and creates safe spaces for everyone. In some places, for instance a bar, it can allow people to better observe what is going on, identify where risk factors may be and how to mitigate them.”
This year’s Wellington RSA/The Breeze ‘Cranzac’ campaign raised almost $10,000 for three-year-old Owen Williams, whose father Adam is a SGT based in Linton.
Steve and Kath of The Breeze, present Theo Kuper, Wellington RSA President and the Williams family with the money raised by the Cranzac campaign.
DEI has been making improvements to ablution blocks and barracks to support Op Respect since it was launched in 2016. DEI (formerly Defence Property Group) completed a review of ablution blocks at the time to identify where safety and privacy could be improved. Simple measures have included making sure unisex toilet and shower facilities have floor to ceiling partition walls, removing urinals from unisex bathrooms, replacing glass doors that could be seen through and adding doors to common entrance ways.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed and I want to thank them, The Breeze and the Wellington RSA for their support”, said SGT Williams. Wellington RSA President, Theo Kuper said “We love being involved in this annual campaign and it is fantastic to be able to help currently serving personnel and their families.” In 2019, Owen was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), one of the most common, and devastating forms of Muscular Dystrophy. It’s a muscle wasting disease causing the progressive decline of gross motor function. It affects mainly boys and most are unable to walk by the age of 12, becoming dependent on a carer by the time they are in their late teens. People with DMD are not usually expected to live beyond age 30. The money will be used for Owen’s future care expenses and to make his life more comfortable. Every year, in April, the Breeze Radio Station and Thorndon New World in Wellington sell specially baked Anzac Biscuits, in a variety of flavours and donate all profits to the Wellington RSA to fund welfare. This year, because of the Covid lockdown, the Cranzac campaign was delayed until August.
Staff Sergeant Albie Moore places a wreath at the memorial as the Chief of Army, Major General John Boswell, contingent commander of CRIB 16, looks on.
Major Rod Masters pays his respects.
CRIB 16 10 YEAR REUNION By MAJ George Tweedy
A moving and at times uplifting commemoration of the ten years since CRIB 16 deployed to Afghanistan was held in Wellington in August.
The commemoration, which was held over several days, brought together the contingent posted to the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan province in Afghanistan between April and October 2010. Chief of Army MAJGEN Boswell was the contingent commander for this rotation – one that saw LT Tim O’Donnell, DSD RNZIR killed on the 3 Aug 2010, adding extra poignancy for those who attended. Fifty-four people attended, including Mark and Mary-Anne O’Donnell – LT O’Donnell’s parents – who came to the Friday evening reception. It was great to catch up with them and I know they spoke personally to every person who was there; they are regarded as much a part of our CRIB 16 family. We were also fortunate enough to have two of our Afghan interpreters attend, Mr Abdul Ghani and Mr Mohammad Ferozi. They have both settled here in New Zealand with their families and taken NZ citizenship. Saturday consisted of several events including a visit to Wright’s Hill Fort in Karori, Wellington, and a visit to Te Papa and the Gallipoli exhibition. At the evening’s formal dinner we were joined by another two civilian personnel from MFAT, Ms Kathleen Pearce and Mr Mike Seawright – who both served alongside the contingent at various times during the deployment in Bamyan.
Sunday morning saw us gather at Trentham Chapel for a memorial service for LT O’Donnell and all other members of the NZDF killed in Afghanistan. The eulogy was read by MAJ Rod Masters, a great friend of Tim’s. Sunday’s service was followed by a Last Post Ceremony at the Afghan Memorial (The Rock) at HQ JFNZ. The names of each person killed in Afghanistan were read out and wreaths were laid by MAJ Masters on behalf of the O’Donnell family, SSGT Albie Moore on behalf of Kiwi Patrol 2 (Tim’s patrol) and by MAJGEN Boswell on behalf of all NZDF personnel killed in Afghanistan. During the following lunch, Brett Te Wheoro from Veterans Affairs attended and MAJGEN Boswell presented everyone with their certificate of appreciation and veterans pin on behalf of the Minister for Veterans Affairs. MAJGEN Boswell and a few others from the contingent went on to attend a memorial service in Feilding (Tim’s home town) with Mark and Mary-Anne O’Donnell, other members of the family, and the local RSA.
LT Tim O’Donnell
LCPL Thomas Harrison
ARMY OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES APLENTY FOR COOK ISLANDER By Charlene Williamson
The chance to gain life experience while learning as much as possible were big drawcards for Cook Islander Lance Corporal Thomas Harrison when he was considering joining the New Zealand Army. LCPL Harrison grew up in Amuri on Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands, before moving to New Zealand in late 2013 on a rugby scholarship with Rangiora High School. He enlisted into the Army in February 2015 and is based at Burnham Military Camp. He had dreamed of joining the Police but found he couldn’t without a New Zealand driver’s licence; that led to the discovery he could not only get his licence but also learn a trade and study if he joined the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). “As my military career progressed the thought of joining the Police slowly faded, especially as I saw the pathways and opportunities available in the Army,” he said. LCPL Harrison got his New Zealand driver’s licence while on recruit training and he now has eight classes or endorsements on it, which means he can now drive light through to heavy vehicles. As well, he also has completed a number of other courses.
“Joining the NZDF was a massive eye opener. Without sounding too clichéd, I have met people from all walks of life, and I have personally liked learning new things from people who were somewhat overlooked or not taught back home,” LCPL Harrison said. The NZDF had created an atmosphere of endless learning, whether that be work related or otherwise. He had deployed overseas to Iraq and been involved in exercises and responses including the Kaikoura earthquakes and the Port Hills fires. “A highlight for me has been being able to gain life experience, as there is always something you can learn from someone else. It can be trade or work specific, in the field, with weapons, or just plain life knowledge that you don’t get taught at school – such as taxes, insurance and mortgages.” LCPL Harrison said he would encourage his fellow Cook Islanders to join the NZDF. “Once you finish basic training you’ll be rewarded with many benefits. For me initially, the perks of getting paid to get fit, study and work seemed all too good to be true. “You will be well looked after; the NZDF has its own doctors, medics, dentists, chaplains, social workers and psychologists, which are all available to you as a service person,” he said. “While there will be challenges along the way, like any job, you will be well catered for as long as you can maintain the high standards expected.” Kia pu kuru o vaevae. Kia mokora o kaki – Stand strong with your head held high.
CHIEF OF ARMY WRITING COMPETITION A second writing competition open to all NZDF personnel, military and civilian, regardless of rank is to be held next month.
The writing competition will this time host four categories instead of three, with a Private Soldier category being added. The winners of the competition in each category will be announced at the end of November. During this second iteration of the writing competition there will be more directed guidance for writing topics, in line with the release of the new Army Future Land Operating Concept (FLOC). A single question, broad in scope to allow for creative design, will ask authors to explore how the
NZ Army adapts and evolves, now and over time, to remain a relevant and viable force that can continue to add value within an integrated coalition in 2040. For this writing competition, submissions will be limited to 1000 words or less. This will require authors to be selective in their topics and to precisely offer a perspective in their written work. The value of tying the topic to the new Army FLOC is to offer a forum for professional discussion about the future of the NZ Army. The first New Zealand Army Writing Competition was held
earlier this year following the launch of the KEA Professional Development Network. The competition provides an opportunity for personal and professional development, and to share thinking, opinions and professional perspectives. The competition attracted 37 submissions. A winning article was selected from each category: Commissioned Officer, Non-Commissioned Officer and NZDF civilian. The winners were personally recognised by the Chief of Army and the Sergeant Major of
the Army, and the winning articles were published on KEA. The official CA Writing Competition 20.2 question will be posted on KEA (www.kea-learning. nz) on 1 October 2020 along with submission guidelines. Submissions are due no later than 31 October 2020 and the winners will be announced 30 November 2020.
CAPT Frankie Thompson
NZDF COMMENDATION FOR CAPT THOMPSON By Charlene Williamson
Captain Frankie Thompson has been recognised for her mentor role with the Afghan National Officer Academy in 2019 with a New Zealand Defence Force Commendation. CAPT Thompson joined the New Zealand Army in 2011 and has a Civil Engineering Degree with Honours through the Australian Defence Force Academy. Her citation said soon after arriving in her role she identified that female integration within the Officer Academy had stalled. “She took the initiative by assuming the role for lead gender advisor for the mission, taking
responsibility for the planning and implementation of mentoring relating to gender integration within the Officer Academy,” the citation read. CAPT Thompson embraced the additional workload to become a key driver for the gender integration within the Academy. “She overcame significant cultural barriers to quickly build strong rapport with both male and female Afghans within the Kandak (Battalion), which in turn enabled highly effective mentoring.” Her exemplary performance in the role was such that the Chief Mentor, a Brigadier from the British Army, requested her tour in Afghanistan be extended due to the positive impact she was having. She said she was honoured to receive the commendation and the award is testament to how fulfilling her role was. “Receiving the commendation has brought back a lot of happy memories from my time over in Afghanistan, and made me feel a great sense of pride with the
opportunities that I had to work with some amazing men and women. “I felt that I truly had a sense of purpose, and was able to shape and influence certain aspects of training within the Academy to enhance the opportunities for the young men and women embarking on their military careers as officers within the Afghan National Army,” said CAPT Thompson. CAPT Thompson said she was passionate about both the development field and gender equality, so working with the NATO Gender Advisor department was a highlight. “One of the many highlights was the opportunity to coordinate a successful visit from the Afghan Ministry of Defence Gender and Human Rights Director. “This visit was a first for the Academy, and I felt the introduction and connections that this successfully established amongst the key personalities was important for the progression of female integration within the Academy,” she said.
She said that the opportunity to work alongside Afghans was incredibly rewarding. “As a mentor within the Academy, I felt that the learning of both my mentees and myself was mutual. They taught me so much and it was such an awe-inspiring and humbling nine months. “The Army has given me many opportunities thus far, although last year has been a highlight with the alignment of both my personal and professional interests,” said CAPT Thompson. CAPT Thompson is Second in Command 3rd Field Squadron, 2nd Engineer Regiment, based at Burnham Military Camp and is currently studying a Masters in International Development through Massey University and hopes to specialise in Gender, Peace and Security.
KEEPING OUR PEOPLE SAFE A Message from the Sergeant-Major of the Army, WO1 Wiremu Moffitt In the Army, many of us routinely work in challenging and hazardous environments. Recent events concerning incidents, accidents involving injury and ‘near-misses’ reinforce this aspect of our work. Noting this, the NZDF has a moral and legal obligation to look after you and minimise the risk of harm in the workplace. Supporting this commitment, in November this year, the NZDF will introduce a Force-wide safety reporting and risk management tool – the SEMT. While the tool is new, the principles behind it have been in place for some time. The new tool will make it easier for everyone to be proactive in making the Army and ultimately the NZDF a safer place.
The SEMT will be the place to report a safety event (such as an incident or accident, or a safety concern). It will also provide a safety risk assessments entry and viewing capability. This includes workplace assessments and hazard registers. Over the next few months, you will see more information about the SEMT. Look out for presentations and activities in your local area of operations. To find out more about the SEMT, visit the SEMT information page on DIXS. You can find this page via the ILP, then Directorate of Safety under the HQNZDF menu at the top of the page. If you want to talk to someone in your area about
safety or the SEMT, feel free to contact your Unit Health and Safety Coordinator, a Formation Health and Safety Officer, or your camp’s Safety Advisor. If they are not able to answer your questions, they’ll reach out to someone who can. Here is an advance look at the new tool. Anyone who can log on to DIXS will have access to the SEMT Landing Page, which will be customised to show items just for them. For those who don’t log on to DIXS, manual processes will be in place to record safety events.
Warrant Officer Class One Wiremu Moffitt
BOOK REVIEWS Eddie Norman and 25 Battalion By Elizabeth Kay Published by Cuba Press Eddie Norman was a young man from Hawkes Bay studying to be a priest when WW2 broke out. He quickly volunteered to join the New Zealand Army and within four years rose from 2LT to LTCOL, commanding an infantry battalion in combat. This book tells his story through letters he wrote to his young wife, anxiously awaiting his return in New Zealand. The book is very well written and the narrative flows easily. Eddie’s daughter, Elizabeth Kay has done a superb job of integrating her father’s letters into her narrative of the Battalion’s activities juxtaposing the personal
and the collective experiences. The narrative initially focuses on Platoon and Company level operations depending on Eddie’s rank and appointments and as he rises to Battalion command the operations of the entire battalion come into focus. The text is accompanied by extensive illustrations throughout in colour and black and white and a series of very comprehensive maps which illustrate the battalion’s operations. The central narrative is bookended by a brief account of Eddie’s childhood and youth and then a summary of his life after the war until his death in 1987. It is quite obvious from the start that Eddie Norman was a natural leader and his rapid rise to Battalion command comes as no real surprise. Eddie was decorated for his service, on multiple occasions receiving the Distinguished Service Order
(DSO), the Military Cross (MC), being mentioned in dispatches twice and the US Legion of Merit. After the war, Eddie returned to his studies and qualified as an Anglican Priest eventually becoming the Bishop of Wellington from 1973–1986. Eddie was knighted in 1984 for his post war community leadership in various church roles, becoming Sir Edward Kinsella Norman KBE DSO MC.
Searching for Charlie – In Pursuit of Charles Upham VC & Bar By Tom Scott Published by Upstart Press When the publication of this book was first announced, some angry moron took to one of the various NZDF vets’ pages on Facebook and demanded to know why Tom Scott had written this book and asked “What’s wrong with Mark of the Lion?”….I call him a moron because we live in a free society with a market economy where anybody can publish what they want and as it turns out, Scott doesn’t think there is ANYTHING ‘wrong’ with Mark of the Lion. When he was a schoolboy, growing up in small town Manawatu in the 1960s, there were two books which every boy in Scott’s high school class devoured. The first was Fanny Hill, the Victorian erotic novel and the second was Ken Sandford’s 1962 biography of Upham, Mark of the Lion. This second book inspired in Scott a lifelong admiration for Charles Upham and sparked a desire to know more about him and his life and wartime deeds.
Upham was an intensely private person who only grudgingly gave permission for the Sandford book and never consented to any other books being written about him in his lifetime. Scott worked as a journalist and cartoonist and in his retirement sought to write about a man he had been enthralled by since he was a schoolboy. The book therefore is not just a biography of Upham, but also the story of how Scott researched his life with wide background reading, plenty of interviews, visits to significant battlefields, prison camps and time spent with Upham’s children. The author sought primarily to uncover what defined and shaped Upham’s character and does this by taking the reader on a superbly entertaining and very readable journey through Upham’s life. With Scott having been in such thrall of Upham, the book could have easily have become a hagiography, but it is to Scott’s credit that it isn’t. There are a couple of anecdotes which seem pretty apocryphal and are uncredited, but generally Scott provides context and evidence for what he relates and whether the stories are apocryphal or not, they are certainly believable and only add to the legend.
This is a great read that clips along at a brilliant pace; Scott’s years in journalism made him a polished writer and he has a great way with words. The book is part journey of discovery, part travelogue, part odyssey but mostly a cracking biography. At its heart is the tale of a complex man with a phenomenal moral compass and a sense of justice and fairness that serves to make you hope that if tested as he had been, you could even be half the man he was. • Reviews by Jeremy Seed
Into the Unknown – The secret WW1 diary of Kiwi Alick Trafford no 25/469 By Ian Trafford Published by Penguin Random House New Zealand Alick Trafford wrote this diary of his WW1 experiences and hid it away from his family at the end of the war. It remained in the attic for many years until Alick instructed his oldest son to destroy it, but his son, to his eternal credit, didn’t destroy it. Fascinated by this detailed insight into his Father as a young man at war, he kept it safe and eventually, Alick’s grandson Ian turned it into this book. In January 1916, Alick Trafford left the high country back blocks North-West of Gisborne to join the NZ Rifle Brigade. He saw
active service across Europe in places like Ypres, Messines, Passchendaele and Le Quesnoy. He finished his war as the CSM of a rifle company and throughout his service, obviously cared for, and about his soldiers. Trafford was gifted with a pen and records his experiences in frank and candid detail. He avoids hyperbole and uses straightforward and balanced language, neither cynical, nor overly enthusiastic or optimistic, he relates what he sees and experiences plainly and without emotion or embellishment. The result is an almost addictive, highly readable account of his exploits and actions as he journeys between front-line combat, rest areas out of the line and leave. Trafford was wounded early in the conflict but returned to the front after convalescence. There are tales of hard fighting in the
line and hard living out of the line. If Trafford had received a Pound for everytime he was cold and wet, he would have returned to New Zealand a rich man and you cant help but be in awe of these men, the conditions they served under and what they achieved. Our forebears in WW1 fought in almost unbelievable conditions, their PSI was, by modern standards woeful, food was often poor and much was demanded of them. When Alick returned, he spent the rest of his life working hard to try and keep the wolf from the door. Like many of his contemporaries he kept what he had seen and done inside and it was only the discovery of the diary and the work of his Grandson Ian that lead to this ordinary soldier’s story being told….it’s an absolute cracker of a read.
Short read: Finding Gratitude – Rise Up Warrior By Stacey Milich Smith Reviewed by J Martin Finding Gratitude, a mini book by a New Zealand writer and photographer, is all about just that — finding gratitude despite the knocks and heartache we are dealt in life.
NZ Army Quiz 1. What WW1 unit originally wore the black patches subsequently worn by members of 7(WnHb) RNZIR? a. NZ Rifle Brigade b. Wellington Mounted Infantry c. The Ruahine Regiment 2. Where was SCE located before it was moved to Burnham? a. Inglewood, Taranaki b. Featherston, Wairarapa c. Ardmore, South Auckland 3. What NZDF establishment briefly held one of the French Agents convicted of carrying out the Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985? a. The regulator’s cells at HMNZS Philomel b. SCE Ardmore, c. NZSAS HQ, Papakura Camp
While neither a memoir nor autobiography, the book is about the mother of five’s life so far, and how she has learned to believe in herself, and be kind to herself, even when she was about to hit rock bottom. She writes about
how she has finally learned the power of forgiveness, and after each story reflects on the gratitude, forgiveness, life lesson and affirmation she gleaned from each experience.
How well do you know the NZ Army? Take our quiz to find out.
4. Who competes annually for the Roy Smith trophy? a. Mechanics b. Armourers c. Caterers 5. Who was the last CA who had been awarded a decoration for gallantry in combat? a. Major General Leonard Thornton (1960–1965) b. Major General Maurice Dodson (1998–2002) c. Major General Lou Gardiner (2006–2009)
6. In 2002 the title “Chief of Army” (CA) was introduced – what had the head of the Army been known as prior to that? a. General Officer Commanding The New Zealand Army (GOC NZ) b. Commandant of New Military Forces (CNZMF) c. Chief of the General Staff (CGS) 7. Prior to the introduction of “banding”, what system was used to rate soldier’s level of trade proficiency? a. Stars b. Stripes c. Spots
a. The number one
11. The RF RNZIR Stable Belt is known as the DLI belt because it was previously worn by the DLI Regiment in the British Army. What does DLI stand for?
b. The number two
a. Duke of Leicester’s Infantry
c. The number three
b. Durham Light Infantry
8. Which member of a mortar detachment is responsible for carrying and erecting the bipod?
c. Doncaster Lager Imbibers 9. What words are on the obverse of a Victoria Cross? a. Pro Valore b. For Gallantry c. For Valour 10. What do the late SGT Murray Hudson GC and CPL Willie Apiata VC have in common?
12. What hat badge did members of the NZIC wear before the current corps badge was created? a. UK Intelligence Corps Badge b. RNZIR Badge c. WW2 NZ Intelligence hat badge
a. Both vegetarians b. Both born in Taupo c. Both badged members of the SAS
Answers: 1. NZ Rifle Brigade; 2. Ardmore, South Auckland; 3. SCE Ardmore; 4. Caterers; 5. Major General Maurice Dodson; 6. Chief of General Staff; 7. Stars; 8. The number three; 9. For Valour; 10. Both badged members of the NZSAS; 11. Durham Light Infantry; 12. UK Intelligence Corps Badge.
Jackie Tuala knows a thing or two about managing sports teams.
SGT Jackie Tuala’s accomplishments 2019 Touch Rugby New Zealand Touch U18 Boys Manager (Youth TransTasman Jan 2020)
Her name is synonymous with Touch Rugby and Rugby League in both the New Zealand Army and the wider Manawatu region. That devotion and dedication has earned her the Army’s Supreme Sports Award for 2019. “I feel very humbled – it was totally unexpected,” she says. SGT Tuala is the HR Manager (S1) at QAMR and has three teenage children. All of them play Touch and Rugby League at National Level, with one of her sons making NZ U18s for Touch this year. “As a family our lives have pretty well revolved around sport. I used to play, but as I got older and more prone to injury I decided to turn my hand to management. “I believe when you take on a job you should give it your everything, and I suppose I have done that. When I was a coach I had high expectations of my managers. Now I have high expectations of my players. I put a lot of effort in behind the scenes and I expect my players to do the same by turning up for training and giving 100%.” She sees her role as a sports team manager as being responsible for everything other than training the players. “A manager looks after the players’ welfare, travel, equipment, attends meetings. There is always a lot to do but I really enjoy it. “I am extremely thankful to my husband John who continues to support me in everything I do. My family is my “Why” and without them, the accomplishments would not be possible.”
New Zealand Touch U16 Boys Manager (Tour Sunshine Coast Sep 2019) Manawatu Touch U18 Boys Manager New Zealand Army Men’s Touch Manager (2nd year) Committee Member Linton Army Touch Club Coordinator and Managers QAMR Touch Teams 2019 Rugby League Manawatu Rugby League U17 Boys Manager Taranaki Whanui Maori Rugby League U17 Boys Manager (Runners Up) Manawatu Mustangs Premier Men’s Team Manager New Zealand Army Rugby League Women’s rep and Committee Member 2019 Linton Sports Awards Administrator of the Year
YOUNG BASKETBALLER AIMING HIGH Covid-19 has put a bit of a dampener on Lance Corporal Tamika Taikato’s sporting year, but she is still delighted to be named the Army’s Young Sportsperson of the Year. A movements operator, LCPL Taikato received the award for her prowess playing basketball, but she also plays volleyball and netball. Being 6ft tall is a decided advantage. “I played basketball in year 12 and 13 at college, but only picked it up again last year. I’m still learning but I love the sport.” She plays for a Linton Army team, and also for the NZDF women’s basketball team. The latter hasn’t seen much action this year however, especially after Auckland went into Level 3 lockdown. Many of the team’s members are Navy women who couldn’t practise together or travel. “It has been so disappointing because it was going to be a close competition. Hopefully we can get to the Nationals in Tauranga at Labour Weekend.”
Other awards made at the annual Army Sports Awards: Individual Sports Person of the Year: CPL Sione Akau (See the October issue of Army News) Team of the Year: Mixed netball Official of the Year: Warrant Officer Class Two Lawrence Colvin New Zealand Army Colours were presented to WO2 Jason Kuru for services to Army basketball, and to Mr Richie Player, for services to Army rugby.
EOD ASSESSMENT WEEK The next Assessment Week for the New Zealand EOD Operator trade is November 2020. New Zealand EOD Operators have an important role within the NZDF. Whether supporting the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, or Special Operations Forces we must deliver precise results in sensitive, complex and difficult environments. Our people are innovative and agile. We are looking for NZDF personal that are humble, disciplined, brook no sense of class and are committed to pursuing excellence. We need people who work well in a small team and can make decisions in complex situations.
The EOD Operator Assessment Week is open to men and women from within the NZDF. The next Assessment Week is from 02 to 06 November 2020. Nominations are currently open and close 09 October 2020.
Successful candidates will undergo the following training prior to posting to an EOD Response Troop in either Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch. 1. Basic Combat Engineer course. (01/02/21 to 26/03/21)
2. Basic EOD course (12 weeks) May 2020. Exact dates TBC
• Hold a rank of Private (Band 4), LAC or Able Seaman. • Have a full class one vehicle license • Hold a confidential vetting security clearance • Have a minimum medical grade of A4, G2, Z1 (RFL minimum G2) • Complete the R-Series Tests 1–5. Administered during the assessment week and an evaluation by an NZDF psychologist as suitable to operate as an IEDD team member.
3. Support Element Special Operations Training (2 Weeks) Feb 2022
Visit http://org/nzsof/LP/ Recruiting.aspx for more information and to download your application. Application AFNZ 3. 1. To be completed with comments and signature of your Commanding Officer. 2. Forwarded to the following NLT 05 October 2020. • SAS Recruiting Cell SASRec@nzdf.mil.nz • DACM S1 Matters <DACM_S1_Matters@nzdf. mil.nz> • Burland Len, WO <LENARD.BURLAND@nzdf. mil.nz> 3. Meet all the above minimum requirements. For further information please contact Warrant Officer Diver Len Burland, Squadron Sergeant Major E SQN.
Kua whakahou ngā whakairo kei Waiouru i roto me i waho i Te Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga. He tohu tēnei whakairo i te Rangatira; Ko Meiha Tianara Brian Poananga CB CBE 1979–1981. E pānui ana te whakahou nei i te pitopito kōrero a Ngāti Tūmatauenga mo te marama o Hiringa-ā-nuku. The carvings inside and outside Te Whare Tu Taua a Tūmatauenga in Waiouru have been refurbished. This carving represents Major General Brian Poananga, CB, CBE, Chief of General Staff 1978–1981. Read more about this extensive refurbishment in the October Army News. Photo: CPL Naomi James