AHQ pauses for Army birthday
Apart from reaching the milestone of 114 years and continuing to be one of Australia’s most respected and iconic institutions, the birthday was also celebrated in the year of the 100th anniversary of Anzac.
It was also the last time CA Lt-Gen David Morrison and RSM-A WO Dave Ashley would be in uniform during an Army birthday.
In his speech to more than 250 personnel, Lt-Gen Morrison referred to the last line of Army’s contract with Australia.
“‘I am an Australian Soldier – always defines for me the essential nature of military service,” Lt-Gen Morrison said.
“We are soldiers always and no-one can give any part of their life over to the Army, especially in a contract of such unlimited liability, without being forever touched by the gravity of the voluntary commitment to put service before self.
“It helps to define our lives lived in and out of uniform and makes the respect we must show for each other an essential and intrinsic part of ethical soldiering.”
During the service Lt-Gen Morrison recognised the efforts of one such Army officer who put service before himself fighting for Australia in WWII.
“We are joined today by the family and friends of Capt Lionel Matthews, who are here to present his medals, including a George and Military Cross, to the care of the nation.
“The story of his life and death during WWII provides an example of this of private and public service.”
He said in looking to Army’s future we drew on our heritage and history.
“We were founded on great deeds encapsulated in names such as Gallipoli, Alamein, Kokoda, Kapyong, Long Tan, Shah Wali Kot and on countless acts of quiet, unrecognised heroism,” Lt-Gen Morrison said.
“The sweep of human history is propelled by innumerable acts of bravery and dedication.
“We commemorate that our soldiers have played their part living to our ethos of courage, initiative, teamwork and respect.
“Happy birthday Army.”
RSM-A WO Ashley said this birthday was special for him.
“This is the last Army birthday I will be in uniform,” WO Ashley said.
“To be here and celebrate the 114th anniversary of the formation of Army was a great honour.”
Recently WO Ashley had reached a significant milestone of his own.
“On February 28 I clocked up 36 years of service and to me being an Australian soldier is about service to nation.
“I was born in England and immigrated to Australia when I was three, in 1962.
“For me, to be a soldier is to wear our country’s uniform and the rising sun badge. It makes me feel proud every day.”
After the service, Cpl Dean Smith, a clerk at HQ Army Personnel Support Centre, added a poppy to the thousands already on the AWM’s Honour Roll.
“I thought I’d put one here because I noticed there was a vacant area and it needed a poppy,” Cpl Smith said.
“I wanted to join the Army since I was 10 and it’s a great privilege to be in uniform and here in the 100th year of Anzac.”