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Craftsman : Craftsman 2012
RAEME CRAFTSMAN 2012 42 The last year at 1st Armd Regt has been very interesting and challenging. Since May 2011, the Workshop has deployed numerous times and achieved some excellent results despite extremes in temperature, periods of wet or mountains of dust. It's impressive to think that Smiley and the lads have managed to keep the vast majority of the fleet in very good order despite shortages in RPS, skilled tradesman and tight timelines. One tank may have caught fire but that wasn't our fault ... We must also recognise and thank the numerous civilians who support us in and out of barracks. Without the help from GDLS, Drake and our American FSR we would not have achieved what we have in the last 18 months. Currently we're half way through this year's Hamel series of exercises which has involved one of the largest and certainly most complex movements of Australian heavy armour for some time. Vehicles have deployed to Shoal Water Bay Training Area (SWBTA) by air, land and sea. To facilitate this, the workshop and A1s have been heavily involved in the preparation, road parties, loading and unloading of vehicles in the NT, NSW, SA and QLD. Looking towards the future, the Hamel exercises will conclude in July and then we will have couple of months to remediate the fleet before heading to Mt Bundy again in September. No doubt the rest of the year will fly past in a blur like 2011 and then it will be time for many of us, myself and Smiley included, to move onto something else. So if you're after something of a challenge for your next posting or you would like to experience the UK but don't have the cash -- you'd swear the workshop is 50% Pommy transfers!! Don't be afraid to put 1st Armd Regt down on your list of preferences. This would have to be my most enjoyable posting to date and I've definitely felt that the organisation genuinely appreciates the work and skills of its support staff. Whatever you do for 2013, I wish you all the best for the future. Now for the "real" stories ... VEHICLE -- SGT Paul Baxter -- After an unsuccessful and finally cancelled attempt at Regimental training in Cultana in Feb 2011 due to the weather, the Regiment deployed to the AFPDS range on Mt Bundy in May to conduct stage four firing camp. This went well for the wksp with only minor turret faults on the tanks. As soon as the firing camp was completed we all set to preparing the vehicles and equipment for the deployment to SWBTA for the Bi Annual Talisman Sabre exercise followed by Ex Hamel. The deployment went well until day two -- when fire bottles exploded into action in B Sqn -- four bottles went off in two days, just goes to show that heavy armour needs to be in almost constant use to be effective when required. The January flooding of Rockhampton and SWBTA was almost but not quite dried out so the Recce Mechs spent two weeks in the lead up training pulling tanks from the mud! After this the tanks were restricted to main roads and there was a tank range serial where the tanks fired from the more open tracks into the bush. This resulted in the decimation of all road signs along an eight KM section of the road, who needs signs anyway? Talisman Sabre and the Hamel live fire exercises went well for the Regiment with the wksp providing outstanding support. The Mega Ace, Mark "Smiley" Moran conjured up tank spares from nowhere I am sure he had a wand or something as none of us had any idea where he managed to get the gear from. WOCON Craig McGarry worked miracles with the profoundly inadequate tank spares system (we have a lesser priority than Puckapunyal) and we managed to keep all the tanks required by the Regiment going. Tracks and sprockets were a nemesis for the wksp during the build up to Hamel -- we had to assist and direct the tank crews in changing seven complete sets over four days. We think the old Leopard track maint schedule was being used in error however the Wksp just pulled together and got on with it. Morale was maintained by the older characters in the Wksp the likes of CPL Bob Revermann who managed to come up with a honey chicken and mash meal in the middle of all this! There was a great deal of professional repair work completed on the tanks by the Wksp and the field systems were practiced to good effect. B Sqn had tasks that would take them longer than six hours and after speaking to the mega Ace they were completed by us. We provided a robust and efficient support regime to the Sqn tech sections and backed this up with good utilisation of the extra AS4 fleet we took on prior to the exercise, by providing forward A1 elements to cut the distance between us. After returning to Darwin we set about preparing the tanks for deployment to Mt Bundy for the Paratus cup exercise. This was a hard month for all RAEME personnel everyone busy and we even had an OC for this exercise although most of his command decisions were taken from the horizontal position with movement of left or right eyebrows indicating his direction / wishes. All went well until an A Sqn tank caught fire and necessitated 23 power pack lifts over four days to clean out flammables from the hulls and check all fuel tanks. The end of the Mt Bundey experience saw us servicing the entire Regiment of tanks as 2012 was to be a two Sqn year with A Sqn being reformed and taking the role of lead Sqn for the Regiment. In order to beat the annual Stuart highway flooding and get 6 tanks to Cultana for the Tp training in Feb 2012 we sent six tanks to Adelaide in October. Unfortunately this returned to bite us in the arse as they fell apart on the first rotation, as they had missed the servicing programme over Christmas. A lot of begging, stealing and borrowing took place and normality was restored. By the time we had completed the Tp training and had to join 7 RAR for Ex Boars Walk we had a troop of tanks running which showed us in a very good light to the Brigade. Now at mid April we have 90% of the Wksp deployed to SWBTA for this year's exercise season. See you next year!! EIR -- LCPL Brendan Teudt -- EIR in 2011 consisted of LT Lawson, CPL Diggens, LCPL Teudt, CFN Byrt, CFN McMahon and Warren Gibson. The year was busy as usual at the Regiment with everyone complaining that there are not enough tradies. As a result, Macca was field most of the time, with Diggo out playing Army Footy and Jake coaching both Brigade and Army Rugby. As the year wound down, we received a new lecky in CFN Smith and said good bye to Diggo, who discharged and left for the fabulous locale of Brisbane. In 2012, we were looking forward to new boffin blood, however we learnt that the new crafty discharged, the new full track was trade transferring to be a chopper pilot and the new snake, SGT Schubert, discharged after two weeks in the unit. So, all in all, a net loss of 1st Armoured Regiment CAPT Orton unit jottings