Chief of Army address to the Army Logistic Training Centre Birthday and Banner Parade, 3 December 2016
Mr Greg Aplin MP, the State Member for Albury; Lieutenant General Ash Power, President of the Wangaratta RSL; Councillor Graham Docksey, President of the Albury RSL and representing the Mayor of Albury; Mr Kevin Williams, President of the Wodonga RSL; Councillor John Watson, representing the Mayor of Wodonga; Mr Fred Baum, President of Legacy Albury; Heads of Corps; senior officers; distinguished guests, commandant of the Army Logistics Training Centre, Colonel Andy McLean; ladies and gentlemen, soldiers on parade, good afternoon.
I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand this afternoon, the Wiradjuri people, and pay my respects to their Elders, both past and present.
I am delighted for the opportunity to be here this afternoon to recognise a quadrella of significant events within our logistic corps. These include:
- the 21st Birthday of the Army Logistic Training Centre,
- the 30th anniversary of the presentation of the Prince Philip Banner to the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers,
- the 35th anniversary of the presentation of the Sovereign's Banner to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps; and
- the latest addition to Army capability, the trade of Command Support Clerk, ECN 150.
To those on parade today, congratulations on your excellent dress, bearing and drill.
The soldiers of the Army’s Logistic Corps are a diverse group of skilled individuals, drawn from many different backgrounds. Your diversity is a strength that I value. It directly enhances Army’s capability to achieve our mission of preparing land forces for war in order to defend Australia and its national interests.
On 17 November this year, the employment category - Command Support Clerk, was created in the Australian Army. This combines the previous trades of Operator Administrative from the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, and Clerk Finance from the Royal Australian Pay Corps. This new trade will provide deployable and sustainable administrative and pay support to the Army, and the Australian Defence Force. Some of you are members of this new trade. I encourage you to grasp the greater opportunities from the wider range of postings, training and deployments created by the combination of former trades. Congratulations on your opportunity role as the inaugural members of this vital trade.
Logisticians are essential to the success of our Army in training, and on operations. The importance, indeed the centrality of logistics to all that we do, can be illustrated with a simple example.
I want you to imagine a rifle round being fired by an Australian soldier, on an operation, sometime in the indeterminate future. The effect of the round hitting its target is achieved through the efforts of literally hundreds of people in the Army and the joint ADF team. While the infantry soldier who fired the round is an important part of this picture, she is in many respects just the final actor in a well designed system which has resulted in that bullet being there at that time and place. A system designed and run by Army’s logisticians.
The round has been procured by the Joint Logistics Command. Its safety, reliability and fitness for purpose has been assured by Ammunition Technical Officers from the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. It arrived in theatre on a flight coordinated by planners at the Joint Movements Group. The round; as well as fuel, rations and packaged water was sent forward to the infantry battalion by combat suppliers, in a protected logistic truck driven by a Royal Australian Corps of Transport Driver. That truck, the rifle which our soldier used to fire the round, and the radio she uses to communicate, are serviced and maintained by Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Craftsmen. This servicing and maintenance is all done in accordance with the Army’s technical regulatory framework for land materiel – also designed by a logistician.
Now let us consider our Infantry soldier. She was physically conditioned for deployment in accordance with a plan developed and conducted by a Royal Australian Medical Corps PTI. Our combat soldier was inoculated and certified as fit for deployment by another Medical Corps member. Her arrival into the theatre was via a landing craft from the dock of Landing Helicopter Dock Ship HMAS Canberra. While onboard the Canberra her rifle company was assisted by the logisticians of the Ship’s Army Detachment. The landing craft that brought her ashore was operated by logisticians from a Water Transport Squadron. Her pay, administration and leave while deployed is managed by Command Support Clerks. The nutritious warm meal that she ate before going on patrol was prepared by an Australian Army Catering Corps Cook, who had been up for many hours to ensure that the platoon was fed. I could go on, listing the multitude of other vital things that had to occur in order for that one rifle round to be fired. But I think my point is made.
Absolutely nothing is possible in the Army without logisticians. The diversity of Army logistics on operations, and the joint force’s reliance on Army capability in deployed logistics, are testament to the challenges you face. Many of these challenges will be about providing our people with the right support, at the right time, and in the right places. A simple idea, but extremely complex to make happen each day, every day. It will demand that you are agile, innovative and adaptable. I have no doubt that the great training provided by the dedicated staff here at the Army Logistic Training Centre will equip you to succeed.
I also want to acknowledge the partners, families and friends of the soldiers on parade today. Your support goes a long way to helping our soldiers do what they do. Thank you for the support you give.
To those on parade, I wish you all the best for your continued service. Live our values and look after each other.
Thank you, and good soldiering.