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Craftsman : Craftsman 2012
RAEME CRAFTSMAN 2012 43 boffins in the unit. But then there was light ... The OJT Master saved us. Mid year we receive two new boffins, CFN McLaren and CFN Van Buuren straight after their Turret courses. This year is again going to be busy, with field starting early March in Cultana, and going through to August. Preparation for SWBTA was a busy time, getting all tanks sea worthy for the trip. Just another day at 1st Armoured Regiment. GE -- CPL Mark Barrick -- As the SQN wound down to the end of 2011, it saw SGT Costello march-out and head down to ALTC to complete his final promotion course and take up his new posting. CPL Troy continued working through his exhaust grill modifications, while also fixing a steady stream of operator damage. CFN Dyson completed his Turret Maintenance course and moved into A SQN Tech Section, while CFN Molnar completed the year on a high by moving to B SQN Tech Section. The beginning of 2012 saw the arrival of WO2 Nigel Keats from B SQN Tech Section, CPL Mark Barrick from 5 Avn Regt and CFN Lewis Glen from 17 Construction SQN. WO2 Keats spent a couple of weeks in Cultana for the OSS Training period, while CPL Barrick attended Subject 1 SGT and CFN Lewis became a qualified AS4 Driver. The build up to the deployment of the SQN to SWBTA for the Hamel exercise period was extremely busy with GE putting in some hard yards to maximise the equipment serviceability for the operators. The Fitters had plenty of weapons to inspect and repair, while the rod burner was hard at work with his grill modifications and ECPs. As usual Mr Dennis Maher has been a great help looking after the armoury and pitching in with the workshop administration when required. For the deployment to SWBTA, GE sent a 'Fitters Track' driven by CFN Glen and commanded by WO2 Keats. CPL Troy packed up the Lathe shelter and drove down in the Unimog, while CPL Barrick misses all the fun and travels to ALTC for Subject 4 SGT. As always GE section is forced to punch above its weight and keep the unit's vast fleet of equipment ready for use. RECOVERY -- CPL Daniel Stoman -- It has been yet another memorable year of travelling from bush trip to bush trip in this great big training range called Australia. May 2011 saw a M88A2 Hercules, CFN Krummel and LCPL Stoman sent to Woomera rocket range on a secret squirrel mission. It was an uneventful trip with the recovery boys going tribal and having many a battle bug war and also a weird competition to see who could catch the most mice on a single night piquet to pass the time. After the secret squirreling was done it was time to deploy to SWBTA this was the major push for the year and recovery deployed with 4 Herc and all of the troop less CFN Crossley and CFN Jordan who attended Subject 4 (CPL) in Bandiana. Many a thing happened on this trip one of the more memorable was when the WORM, Stowie and Apple went to do an AFV shoot at the range, whilst sitting waiting for their time to shoot, they waited and watched as the Grunts were learning how to work with tanks. The Grunts were all just lying around waiting to be called up to shoot with the tanks when to the Grunts surprise the tanks let off a Troop volley which made every grunt in a twelve kilometre radius jump 6 foot in the air in such a synchronised fashion that every RSM in the army would have been impressed, this continued on for the next couple of hours. Once the Troop got back from the bay it was a short time at home to try and effect any repairs to the 88's before heading out to Mount Bundey which saw several tanks spontaneously combust and cause the great pack lift of 2011 where every tank the Regiment owned, had its power packs removed and inspected, with the greasers help this was achieved in 5 days. The start of 2012 saw 2 88's sent to Culltana for support to the regiment gunnery camp and for a Drivers and crew commanders course as well as BG Boar, while the other 2 where sent back to the bay for Ex Predator Run. The Troop had two new additions in CPL Troy "because you deserve it" Hardman, and CFN Liam "shut up Cookie" Cook who both seem to be good eggs. On a sad note we lost CFN Nathan "Croz" Crossley to SOLS and CPL Matt "FNG" Anderson who left to attend his PTI course in March, we wish the guys all the best in their future endeavours. B SQN TST -- SGT Paul Baxter -- B Sqn tech support deployed to SWBTA at the end of May 2011 with the following characters: The Poms; WO2 Nigel Keats and CPL Paul Baxter, CPL Nathan Adnum, CPL Ewold "Dutchie" De Wilde, CFN Lewis, CFN Jason Stoddart. There were two left behind; CFN Darryl Brown (with a completely spurious knee injury) and CFN Dave Allen (with a dubious hand injury). After the initial settling in period the Squadron embarked on Troop training -- doing their best to induce previously unheard of faults on the tanks. We quickly got used to the range of faults and became experts in MSD use for fault finding. Due to the unfortunate flooding in Rockhampton and the surrounding areas earlier in the year most of the training area was out of bounds to A vehicles so the tanks kept to the main tracks and bluffed their way through around 12 stage four firing scenarios. As the training built up towards Ex TALISMAN SABRE, the tanks kept us busy with cracked axle arms, power pack explosions and various other faults, many of which we had to seek the help of the main Wksp OSS to complete. Then we found ourselves helping the wksp in return when the crews had to change seven sets of complete track and sprockets, CFN Stoddart and CPL De Wilde also using the fitter track to remove and replace 14 final drives. Everyone agreed that they hope this was the last overthrow from the 'Leopard days'! ASM Keats did a superb job keeping the Sqn OC happy and we had a successful Talisman Sabre before bringing all the equipment back to Darwin to get ready for the Paratus cup Exercise on MBTA in September. No peace for us though -- we had to assist the main wksp servicing all our tanks before we could pack up and move out of SWBTA. Mount Bundy was an unwelcome change from the cool, rainy Shoalwater bay and was a manic month of flies, 40 degree heat and tank engine fires. Leading to 23 pack lifts in 5 days to find possible fire causing faults. Finally back to Robertson to service all the tanks again ready for Cultana in Feb 2012. Cultana was a difficult time for all RAEME as the 6 tanks sent down missed their annual service in December and so fell apart as soon as the Sqns rotated through their trg. Ending on a positive note though -- Ex Boars walk, tank / Inf Combat team exercise with 7 RAR went really well and showed what the tanks can do when they are running well. With all the tech section back in Darwin getting ready to ship the tanks to SWBTA for the 2012 HAMEL exercise season morale was high throughout the TSS (name changed to Tank Support Sqn at Christmas) due to the sense of achievement in completing such a busy year, with no serious injuries and a great deal of experience gained by all RAEME personnel. unit jottings