Chief of Army address to 1RTB march out parade 21 November 14
Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO.
Address: Chief of Army address to 1st Recruit Training Battalion march-out parade, Kapooka, 21 November 2014.
Your Excellencies, Minister Robert, Elected Representatives from National, State and Local Governments, Distinguished guests, friends and families of those on parade today, staff of the Recruit Training Battalion, ladies and gentlemen and, most importantly, Army’s newest soldiers.
While this is a parade of great significance involving the presentation of a Banner by his Excellency, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, it is a most important day in the lives of the soldiers on parade today, and what a fine body of men and women who are now a part of the Royal Australian Army, and what a terrific display of dress, bearing and drill that they have shown us all. I think it very appropriate that we all recognise their individual and collective achievements.
I want to begin this address by thanking the families and all of those who have supported these soldiers. The journey from civilian to soldier is one that takes considerable commitment and it is made easier through the encouragement and understanding of family and friends.
You have played your part in getting these fine soldiers to where they are now and I thank you, on behalf the Army and the Nation. I thank you for trusting us with your sons and daughters. My commitment to you is that we will continue to provide them with the best in training and medical support we can and, if we place them in harm’s way on operations, we will stand by them when they come home.
They now have a second family in which they will never lack the support of peers and friends, the likes of which you cannot make in any other walk of life.
I also want to acknowledge the staff of the platoons on parade, and those who make up the considerable support organisation that allows the Recruit Training Battalion to do the vital job it does in providing the Army with the high quality soldiers who pass through this outstanding training establishment.
Kapooka’s long record of achievement, measured by the quality of those who have marched out to become Australian soldiers is world class. Its reputation, and its achievements, rest firmly on the shoulders of those who fill the positions of instructors and support staff. As the Chief of Army, I am particularly grateful for your commitment and dedication and I am very proud of what you have achieved.
And now to those who are, at this moment, Army’s newest soldiers. Today is a very special day. It celebrates continuity as well as change. It is a time to reflect on the achievements of those who have soldiered before us, who have honoured the uniform that we all wear today, resplendent with its Rising Sun Badge and slouch hat. They are two of the most revered icons of the Australian nation.
From today, they are your responsibility. You represent the future. The reputation of the Army is firmly in your hands. You are the newest soldiers to earn the right to wear those symbols of the Australian Army, and to add to the lustre given to them by the millions of our fellow Australians, who have served as soldiers and who, in doing so, have put service before self in order to secure the prosperity of this great Nation.
There is a line of Australian soldiers connecting you to those who stormed the beach at Anzac Cove, who fought in the jungles of New Guinea, who showed such courage in Korea and in Vietnam, who proudly served as part of peacekeeping forces in Africa, the Middle East or the South Pacific. They have left you their legacy of taking the challenge head on, of having faith in yourself and trust in your mates to get the job done.
And so the final thought is that you are now in a position to leave your own legacy. You are part of Australia’s great national institution – its Army. The next strategic shock may be yours to deal with. Should that happen, or should you find yourselves part of the Nation’s on-going commitment to current operations, then as well as dealing with challenge as you find it - in the best and most effective way you can, be conscious that you are creating a legacy for those who will follow you. I have no doubt that you will do us proud.
Well done. Thanks for joining and good soldiering.