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I read with interest the article submitted by Mark Whitley (1975) regarding his chance encounter with a fellow Rusian years later at an office coffee point. This story reminded me of a similar encounter, albeit under fairly different working conditions. I was in Afghanistan during 2009-10 and in between extended patrols my team would return to the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Tarin Kowt known as Kamp Holland. Due to the nature of activities conducted by my team, I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Major General (MAJGEN) Mark Kelly (JR1972) on a number of occasions.
At the time, MAJGEN Kelly commanded all Australian forces in the Middle East for the duration of my tour of duty and his presence at the FOB was generally a direct indicator to Australian soldiers that quality food and news from the greater Defence Force would be shared that night. Once our common ground was established MAJGEN Kelly and I reminisced over animal husbandry lessons, laughed at rivalries with local schools, and nodded sagely at the school’s seemingly unbreakable academic hegemony. We then finally got around to discussing military matters, but only after debating the utility of various items of school uniform and how much Barrengarry House would go for at auction. It struck me that such occurrences must be few and far between for the school these days, and certainly less frequent than reunions occurring in the corridors of major hospitals or strategic consultants’ offices in Sydney City.
I imagine that many Ruse ‘old boys’ crossed paths in the sweltering humidity of Vietnam, but how many have done so in gritty mountains of Afghanistan? I’d love to hear from any other Rusians whose post-school life has taken them to this fascinating country. Looking forward to seeing the Class of 2000 soon!
Regards, James Groves (2000)
Myself, OCDT James Groves, and OFFCDT Chris Baker (2001) will graduate from the Australian Defence Force Academy this Thursday, 11 December. I am graduating as an Army officer cadet and will head across to RMC Duntroon next year for my final year of officer training before heading out into the greater army as a Lieutenant. Chris will graduate as an Air Force officer cadet and will move on to RAAF Tamworth for a further two years of pilot’s course before being promoted to Flying Officer in the RAAF. We are the first Ruse old boys in a few years to graduate from ADFA, although the school has a long relationship with the Academy.
I’m writing from my room at Duntroon. I’ve been here since early January, after graduating from ADFA last year.
I am currently studying in I Class, which basically means I am in the Class which is in its final 6 months of training at Duntroon. There are three 6 month Classes at the College, with civilian recruits starting in III Class and ADFA graduates marching straight into II Class. I have also recently been appointed Platoon Sergeant, which not only brings responsibility for my floor’s worth of cadets (of all Classes), but also a larger room!
We have just moved into studying Security Operations, such as the Australian Army has performed recently in East Timor and Iraq, which is really interesting and encouraging for us as it seems the most relevant course so far. After this package we will move onto Combined Arms Warfare which will entail studying the theory and practice of fighting with infantry side-by-side with tanks, with artillery in support and transport for mobility, etc etc. Once that package is completed and all exams have been passed (ceteris parabis) we will graduate on 14 Dec 04 as Lieutenants. We will be putting down our preferences for Corps within a few weeks.
I can’t believe it’s all happening so quickly now after 3½ years of such slooooow moving. I intend to nominate Artillery as my first preference, which is another surprise for me. After all this time I’d been really pumped up to go to Intelligence, or even Armoured, but I was really stressing for quite a long time over that. Trying to choose which Corps you will put as ‘first preference’ is a hard feeling to describe.
But Artillery is where my heart is set. Gradually over the course of my time here at Duntroon I have met some of the most remarkable men, many of whom I hope to model my own leadership style on.
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