• Deploying to the MEAO - Day 13

    Monday 24 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 13: colours of the battle zone The rain has cleared leaving the sky clear of dust.This providedsome spectacular views to the distant mountains beyond the Tarin Kot base. View from the balcony of my dormitory to the green zone and the mountains Just outside the base is the township of Tarin Kot and the"green zone". This is the fertile land in the river valleys where crops grow through the summer.It sounds peaceful, but it isn't. Tall crops …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 8

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 8 - Brown bears, angry birds and plane pulls Culture is a curious thing. We create it, shape it and mould it to suit ourselves andour circumstances. The military has its own culture, which is characterised by conformity.Everyone looks the same (women have to wear their hair in a bun, men must be clean shaven, no jewellry is permitted), dresses in the same uniformand speaks the same lingo of abbreviations and acronymns strung together with …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 9

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 9 - Beefcake The military is full of gym junkies. PT (personal training) is an integral part of their daily routine. Not having to buy groceries, cook food, wash dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn, or do the laundry or any other domestic duties means you have plenty of spare time. And the commute to the gym is a three minute walk at most. I used to scoff at the blokes' desire to be buff until I tried to get up off the ground quickly after …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 10

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 10 - Army aesthetics When I arrived at Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB), I felt like I’d landed on the moon. But Multinational Base Tarin Kowt, located in southern Afghanistan, is even more desolate and stark. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarinkot There are no soft surfaces here. The base consists of shipping containers stacked beside razor wire, metal girders and steel staircases. Accommodation is in double storey reinforced demountables. …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 11

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 11 - compartmentalising The food is so good and plentiful at the Aussie mess, that we've divided our stomachs into compartments: we switch over to the "dessert stomach" when the main stomach is full. The CO (Commanding Officer)of 7RAR (Royal Australian Regiment), the main army unit deployed in Uruzgan at present, also uses compartments but in a much more serious way. The CO is responsible for about 460 people from 7RAR who are currently in …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 12

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 12 - Mud and dust and salsa It rained in Tarin Kot for 36 hours straight and all the dust turned to pale brown mud. G1 wanted to go sliding in it - there's something about the rules and regimentation of an army base that just makes you want to muck up. All I wanted was a hot bubble bath to warm myself up. There was no chance ofthis, so I went to the gym instead. I did my workout in a war zone. The soundtrack of helicopters (helos) and …

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  • Memorial Box Banter - Part IV

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Kathleen Cusack.

    While the Memorial Boxes were initially intended for use in the classroom, more and more aged care facilities are turning to the resource as a therapeutic tool. Earlier this year, Dr Kylie Smith, a lecturer in nursing history at the University of Wollongong, borrowed a specially designed Memorial Box to present seminars on the history of wartime nursing to aged care residents and staff in the Illawarra region. These presentations have since …

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  • Dig Deeper - The prelude to catastrophe

    Thursday 20 March 2014 by John Holloway. 3 comments

    The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 1914. It took days for confirmation of Britain's entry into the war to reach Australia, even though mobilisation was already underway. How did it come to this? In the midst of an election campaign, and with large parts of Australia suffering record drought, few Australians who read the newspapers on 29 June 1914 would have paid much attention to the assassination of an obscure foreign prince. Yet within a few …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 5

    Thursday 13 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 5 - Ned Kelly would be jealous What do Ned Kelly and modern Australian soldiers have in common? Body armour! Ned fashioned his out of metal, while the scientists in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) have spent years coming up with a sophisticated protective human shell. Like everything in the Australian Defence Force, it is commonly known by its abbreviation: MCBAS. The Modular Combat Body Armour System fits like a vest …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 6

    Thursday 13 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 6 - 'From little things, big things grow' An IED can be a very little thing. It sits just under the sand, waiting for a person or vehicle to step on it/drive over it, and boom! Improvised Explosive Devices are like home made bombs or landmines. Terrorists will make them from anything they can get their hands on: plastic drink bottles, fertiliser, old batteries, alfoil, clothes pegs, and bits of old ordnance left behind by the Russians. In our…

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