Military death logos and symbols get the chop

Gun-toting grim reapers and cartoon phantoms are among more than 20 images the military has scrapped under its new ban on soldiers’ use of death-style logos.

Examples of the banned imagery that had been used by sub-units on items such as patches and T-shirts was revealed in an answer to questions on notice from a Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Senate Standing Committee hearing.

The questions were on which logos were banned, what had been used to replace them, how much was the cost of replacement and which units had been affected.

Defence said no unit logos, emblems or badges had been removed but that some imagery associated with sub-units had been scrapped.

Defence provided examples of logos that had been scrapped but declined to provide the full list. Among the examples that also appeared to fall under the ban was some memorabilia in the form of a Spartan helmet and a shield.

Defence declined to provide a detailed costing of any buyback of stock featuring the banned ­imagery, but it did reveal that in one case, $2490 of non-public moneys derived from unit canteen sales was allocated to Delta Company of 4/3 Royal NSW Regiment’s soldiers club to help them with a new sub-unit logo.

The most common imagery scrapped appeared to be the grim reaper and Spartan-style logos. Among those affected were a sub-unit of 1st Brigade, which lost its gun-toting, grinning black reaper on a red background.

One sub-unit from 3rd Brigade had to replace its armed phantom cartoon character. A grim reaper from 3 Squadron, 2 Cavalry was also canned.

A sub-unit of the army’s 6th Brigade was forced to remove an armed phantom and concerns appear to have been raised about a gold Spartan helmet that looked to be part of unit memorabilia.

Soldiers from 7th brigade had to remove a skull imposed over crossed rifles; a mortar platoon scrapped a ram’s skull with the caption “Death Down Range” and 5 Aviation Regiment lost a skull wearing a bandana imposed over a hammer and spanner.

A 6th Aviation regiment sub-unit lost a Viking image with the caption Berserkers and one from HQ 2nd Division had spartan imagery featuring a spartan helmet removed.

The Royal Military College Australia’s army recruit training centre had a masked Phantom head dropped. The Combined Arms Training Centre lost its “grim reaper rising from a World War I tank” and a punisher badge showing a skull.

Questions about the unit logs had been asked by Liberal senator James McGrath and independent senator Fraser Anning at the hearing in February.

The ban had been introduced in April last year by then chief of army, now Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Angus Campbell. General Campbell, in ordering the ban, said that such symbols were at odds with army values. “Such symbology is never presented as ill-intentioned and plays to much of modern culture,’’ he said. “But it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of a hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession, the legitimate and discriminate taking of life.”

Officers were ordered to take immediate action to remove symbols within their command.

Medal of Gallantry recipient Justin Huggett, a former soldier, panned the decision in a social media post directed at General Campbell.

In the post Mr Huggett, decorated for action against the Taliban in Afghanistan, said the decision denigrated the morale of the enlisted and combat power.

RORY CALLINAN The Australian APRIL 3, 2019


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  1. Kim Porter says

    ‘What a lot of absolute Bullshit …. thank Christ I’m out’!

  2. Not a lot of perspective in some comments.
    Corps and units of the Army already have a range of badges, mottos and time-tested traditions.
    Most of the symbology involved in the ban is the unofficial stuff used at company/squadron/battery level. And most of it is puchased individually or supplied through unit funds, not the taxpayer.
    The whole dispute is really about professionalism and the need to stamp out professionally unhealthy fads and fashions.
    You can have soldiers dressing in the symbology of an outlaw bikie gang, or you can professionals. But not both.
    When I was an infantry platoon commander, my diggers would have laughed at much of the banned symbology.
    Professional soldiers kill when they have to but don’t gloat or skite about it. They don’t need to because they have confidence in their own professionalism and that of their mates.
    Its professionalism, not so-called “political correctness”, that is behind the campaign to restore a commensurate professional profile and culture to the army.
    More strength to the CDF’s arm in this campaign.
    PS. Both he and the Chief of Army are men without any political ambitions.

    • Colin "Tiny" Russell says

      I will keep a look out on the TV news in a year or so and see if Angus, once discharged, remains a retiree or does in fact seek to remain in the public eye via politics

  3. Greg Burt says

    The Australian PC Army .. The Army’s looking for a few Soy Boy’s, Join for the Bromance, skipping arm in Arm, Under the Rainbow Flag .. Come learn to braid hair & pick flowers, sip lattes & contemplate the meaning of the belly button & earn a participation Trophy !

  4. Surprised young blokes still want to enlist. Not that young “blokes” are what they are after. PC doesnt aid combat effectiveness.

  5. A little while ago you wanted a warrior spirit mentally. Now the images that go hand in hand with this have to go. I don’t think the men will feel solid going into harms way with a care bear as a logo.

  6. Bert Holland says

    Mene,Mene,Tekel Uparsim. The writing is on the wall. The inmates are in charge of the asylum. Traitors,and scum,running the Nation. The Commonwealth of Australia,is defunct,and we are under maritime,corporate law. Why be a part of the defence force now,when to a large degree,your life is on the line to protect foreign assets on this continent,and deploy at the will of the united Nations?ex 1RAR.

  7. Greg Shinners says

    l find it offensive looking at your cross eyes,do something about that Sir

  8. Colin "Tiny" Russell says

    Angus will probably run for Parliament when he leaves. His platform will be that he affected the morale of the troops from getting too high. Holy crap! What next Angus? Maybe plastic bayonets?

  9. Crackles says

    Glad I’m out, if this is senior officers main concern. Morrison MK 2!