• 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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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 7

    Thursday 13 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 7 - Patrol Boat Today we spent the afternoon and evening in the Port of Rashid, Dubai, visiting HMAS Toowoomba. This large warship will spend nearly six months at sea. On board were one captain, 190 crew, a giraffe and a special quilt. The toy giraffe belongs to "Hirsch", one of the Petty Officers. He uses it when he skypes his three daughters at home. However, he can only use skype when they are in port and the bandwidth is big enough to …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 4

    Thursday 13 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 4 - Moonscape The Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB) feels a bit like being on the moon (not that I've been to the moon). The Australian compound has been plonked on this dry, dusty, treeless, flat piece of earth, which is about 40 minutes drive from the port of Dubai. It is very clean, orderly and comfortable but feels totally foreign in this alien landscape. There are many attempts at beautification, with petunias planted on the curbs at some entry …

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