RCB Doc 1. RIFLE COMPANY BUTTERWORTH SUPPORTERS INTRO

Dear Fellow Infantrymen,

A major issue for some time now has been the recognition of service at Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) as “War Like” service. This has been an ongoing issue since 2006 with a small group, RCB Review Group and some individuals fighting to get the proper recognition.

I know some senior officers (mainly from ones that did not serve in RCB) think it was a bit of a jolly and not comparable to their war, Vietnam. We do not make the rules and regulations on the “War Like” situation, but following obtaining some SECRET AUSTEO documentation, it was quite clear RCB was deployed to protect Australian assets in Malaysia against a Communist Terrorist threat. They decided to hide the facts of the deployment under a ruse of calling it a “training activity”.

This training ruse is still accepted by Defence and DHAAT despite much evidence from Senior Defence Officials and Officers, which state otherwise.

Quite clearly Defence and Government officials do not want another 9000 veterans getting access to Repatriation Benefits or publicly acknowledging their deceptive behavior in 1973.

What can we do? We have been working through the normal administrative chain with no successful result. Defence continues with its well-known stonewalling approach to these things by acknowledging your communications, never discussing the content and finally not answering letters or returning phone calls.

The DHAAT approach was totally flawed by receiving coloured evidence from Defence and not even acknowledging evidence provided by the RCB Group, to come up with their desired result.

Where to now? Now we have to take to the legal approach with appeals to the Defence and Commonwealth Ombudsman. Take the case to the Court of Public Opinion with a feature article planned for publication in The Australian. Take the case to sympathetic journalists like Alan Jones and the Bolt Report. They all love stories about Defence’s continuing deceptive behavior. Next all ex members write to your Liberal members or candidates requesting assistance in solving the problem. If you wish write to your Labor member or candidate or the current Minister responsible Senator Feeney who has only just started to talk to us.

The last legal avenue open is to appeal to the Federal Court but with Defence’s legal firepower and prior history of financially persecuting unsuccessful claimants most of us do not want to loose our house or super, so this is an unlikely approach.

How can you help firstly if you have evidence supported by documents or a statutory declaration please send it to Mike Dennis at [email protected] or if you wish to add your name to the RCB Review Supporters Group please send your details to Robert Cross at [email protected]

Attached to this portal are the following submissions, letters and evidence provided by the RCB Supporters Group. We have the support of the RARC, which we appreciate, but only those who made submissions can take the next step under law.

Duty First

LtCol Mike Dennis, MBE

RCB 1977

Chronology of Events

1. 1970 – 1989 Service of RCB in Malaysia

2. 18 Aug 2006 RCB Review Group Submission to Defence Honours and Awards Directorate, DOD (Plus 2.5 inch dossier of attached written evidence).

3. 25 May 2010 LtCol M Dennis, MBE (Rtd) submission to Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal Inquiry into RCB service.

4. 10 Jun 2010 RCB Review Group Submission of 2006 to Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal Inquiry into RCB service (Plus a 2.5 inch dossier of attached written evidence). (Same as Serial 2)

5. 10 Jun 2010 RCB Review Group Addendum Submission to

Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal Inquiry into RCB service.

6. 18 Feb 2011 Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal Report into the Inquiry for Members of Rifle Company Butterworth for Service in Malaysia between 1970 and 1989.

7. 7 Jun 2011 Successful FOI request for Defence Submission to the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal VCDF/OUT/2010 dated 23 Jun 2010.

8. 14 Aug 2011 Letter from LtCol M Dennis, MBE (Rtd) to the VCDF and Director Defence Honours and Awards Directorate, DOD highlighting the flaws in the Defence Submission.

9. 25 Aug 2011 Letter from LtCol M Dennis, MBE (Rtd) to the Acting Chair Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal on the flaws and inconsistencies in the RCB Service Inquiry Report.

10. 6 Sep 2011 Letter From Director Honours and Awards DOD on behalf of the CDF with a non descript negative answer and not addressing any of the issues I raised.

11.  18 Sep 2011 Letter from the Acting Chair Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal acknowledging my letter and referring it to the new Chairman DHAAT. (No further response received)

12. 30 Sep 2011 Letter from LtCol M Dennis, MBE (Rtd) to Director Honours and Awards DOD on behalf of CDF response questioning and requiring simple Yes/No answers to his response on behalf CDF. No response or returned telephone calls!

Comments

  1. My name appears first on this list, I initially did a 2 year tour in the RAAF Police 1972-74, then again briefly in March 1975. I was on dog shift 2300-0700 at RAAF Base Pt Cook the Orderly Officer advised me that I was deployed to Saigon for the Withdrawal of service and civilians, and would be on active service, at RAAF Base Richmond we boarded a RAAF Hercules for a very long flight, but when we landed at Butterworth, we were redeployed there as they fear Communist Insurgency, as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam was falling to the communists, a KL Base and Penang Island Base had been mortared. To my knowledge there wasn’t any attempted insurgency during that deployment in 1975? We were rostered along side of Malay SSP’s at Main gate and Gate opposite Officers Married Quarters (near RCB Camp) and issued with 9mm pistols and live ammunition, I lost the plot I shouldn’t have been here back at Butterworth, and suffered a PTSD relapse. Why? I was receiving psychiatric treatment privately in Australia for occurrences that happened in my previous tour. The Air Force wasn’t aware of that, as I didn’t want to be medically discharged. I remember been told that we were to use force only if or when fired upon, we were there to protect service personnel, RAAF dependents. The Base was owned by the Malaysian Air Force having been sold to them in about 1970, HOWEVER the Malaysian Army Polis tengah (SSP”s) were responsible for the Base security, they refused to share information pertaining to security with RAAF Security Forces (Police/Dogies/ADG (Ground Defence) and the Malaysian Air Force. On several occasions intruder alerts happen on the airfield, but I only remember it turned out to be a Airmen running after dark around the airfield. There were cuts in the base perimeter fence, later told by a SNCO Air Force SP that somebody was stealing copper wire from the base and they suspected them culprits to be the Bast Security personnel SSP’s? so much for them maintaining base security. After dark 1700 to 0700 several Malay SSP positions around the airfield and near the Boatie (radar installation) would on the hour every hour contact the RAAF Police Guardroom by PRC25 radio sets call sign Focus advising either nothing to report or whatever, if we didn’t receive a call we investigated. Most were asleep in sleeping together and when awoken got upset and pointed their SLR 7.62 in our direction. As RAAF SP’s we patrolled inside and outside the base perimeter all outside Married Quarters, including the Jumbo bar and Butterworth township. Penang Island SP’s were based at the Hostel and patrolled the Brothels and Numerous married quarters. Upon my return to Australia I requested a copy of my posting advice, and was told there was no need for me to have a copy, if I needed it at a later time apply under FOI. I have tried, it doesn’t exist, and nobody knows anything about our group being on active service.

  2. Stephen Hughes says

    I have just read all of these details regarding service in Malaysia.

    In regards to Mark Fulcher’s comments dated 2012 i was in A Coy during the same stint in Malaysia from late August to mid December 1982. We did an exercise with the 6th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment near the Malay Thai Border called exercise Haringaroo.

    We patrolled for CT’s in thick jungle and through rubber tree plantations where we dug in.

    We were fully tactical and while we carried blanks we also carried live ammunition.

    I had heard that there had been 11 casualties in the Malayan army from CT’s in the previous months.

    I still remember how to say Stop or I Shoot in Malay.

    We had a soldier charged for going awol over a woman and he was charged under War Service which we were all warned of.

    He was shipped straight back to Australia.

    I am pretty sure his last name was Pimlott.

    I served in 4 section 2 Platoon 3RAR as a forward scout in Malaysia carrying an M209.

    I came across a deep pit whilst up front as the lead scout in the jungle which was full of pungi spikes clearly meant for harming a human.

    Most of our NCO’s back then were Vietnam Vets.

    My platoon commander was Lieutenant Caldwell and my Sargeant was Sargeant Grey. Major Culleton was our Company Commander and Captain Probert was our Company 2ic.

    The men i served with were great blokes and soldiers and all deserve proper recognition.

    Something that these pen pushing politicians who don’t support us should hang their heads in shame for.

  3. 57415. Kim Stewart-Gray. "Cowboy" Gray. says

    I served my first enlistment 1972-77 with A Coy 3 RAR when it was based in Woodside SA.
    As I recall we were warned out for Active Service for the RCB role at RAAF Base Butterworth Malaysia in the second half of 1974.
    We underwent training at JTC Canungra Qld before our deployment, and it was made clear to us daily that we were being deployed on active service.

    A Coy 3RAR OC was Major “Blue” Byers MC, and CSM Trevor Adams.

    We deployed in the last quarter of 1974 to Butterworth and returned in the first quarter of 1975.

    During our deployment it was the daily routine for a fully armed Rifle section to be on standby 24 hours every day.
    The Malaysian Army personnel rostered as base perimeter security were also routinely armed and carried full ammo.
    We carried out day and night patrols on the base fully armed and with live ammo, with rules of engagement that complied with active service conditions.
    The remainder of the Platoon were held on base during the standby sections duty period, this was done to provide immediate back up in the event of a contact.
    An armed picket was always stationed at night in the RCB Armscote.

    For the other 2 Platoons and attachments, local leave was usually restricted to Butterworth and Penang, although some leave was permitted to Singapore, Kualar Lumpur; and Bangkok (Thailand) but only at the OC’s discretion.
    Personnel were not allowed to wear uniform off base, and were reminded that they were subject to immediate recall in the event of a CT contact.

    I recall road convoys to the Semeling Range (north of Butterworth) where we were seated in counter ambush configuration, we were always fully armed and carried live ammo, section Machine guns were positioned over the trucks cab ready for immediate use.

    One particular event occurred to one of our Platoons during one of the Semeling range activities. Each platoon convoyed up there in a rotation, and usually harbored up there overnight. This was always conducted as an operational routine, fully armed and weapons in the loaded condition. Clearing patrols were sent out before evening Stand To, and in the morning after Stand To.
    I recall on the particular night being paraded in an emergency and with webbing drawing our weapons and ammo while a RAAF Iroquois SAR chopper was warming up on the tarmac. We were briefed that there had been a no-duff contact report from the Platoon harbored up at the Semeling range.
    We waited while trucks were readied and the blokes on local leave were being recalled to Butterworth base.
    After some time we were stood down.

    It was later revealed that the Platoon commander (PC) at Semeling range had let go a burst of 5.56 from his M16 outside his platoon harbor, hence the no-duff contact report. I heard that Pte Dave Kent was on gun picket there at the time, and it was only the platoon SGT’s (Len Proud ? ) caution that prevented the PC being killed.

    Noteworthy the incident was hushed up, and the PC (I can provide his name if required) was sent back to Australia ASAP. We later heard that he was “asked” to resign his commission which he did.

    Word had it that the federal government at the time wanted everything kept low key in regards to the RCB in Malaysia.

  4. Nairn Bristow-Smith says

    Have sent info to Robert Cross over the years.
    They said only Sgt. And above carried live ammo . Not True.
    I had a M16 pointed at my guts, live rds fired at me, 3 landing
    just inches from my boots and Tomo and I walked in on a CT meeting
    while on local leave. On top of this the Malays, Indians and Chinese
    were at each other and we were taught how to deal with them if need be.

  5. Marco DiBiagio says

    Gday Guys
    Did Butterworth December 81 to Febuary 82 . B company 1RAR
    Yes we had live rounds , spent time in the armscoat .
    I remember being taught to say stop or I will shoot in Malay .
    That’s enough to warrant the recognition .
    Regards DB

  6. Hans Graetz says

    G’day Franz
    Thanks for the reply hopefully someone will know the dates and respond.
    Cheers

    • Franz Hagl says

      Hi Hans,
      I had a look through my old passport and C Company main group arrived on the 3rd of September and our main group departed on the 8th of December 1976. So if you work out the number of days we were at RCB, you should be able to roughly work out when B Coy arrived give or take one or two days. If you were in the advance party? They usually arrived somewhere between 10 – 14 days prior to the main group.
      Hope this is of further help.
      Franz.

      • Hans Graetz says

        Great stuff Franz. Now that I think back we all needed passports back then so I’ll check mine when I get home. Did use your logic for now for the days.
        Thanks again.
        Cheers

  7. Ben Dover says

    Has anybody seen Phil Macavitie

  8. I served with 5/7 RCB in 1986 i have memories of being on standby and worrying about what could happen for 3 months it was no holiday another memory was observing the MAF choppers returning on a regular basis with either dead or wounded on board and it was kept quite but we knew what was going on,it was all happening not that far away

  9. Paul Toohey says

    I did not serve with RCB but up until the Armistice was signed it should be Warlike, after it was signed Non- Warlike simple as that !!!!
    P Toohey.

  10. Colonel Garry Cook says

    Hl Guys
    I was a nasho with D coy 6 RAR in 1972-73. In SIngapore. D Coys was deployed to do our rotation to RCB in Feb/ Mar 1973.
    As a private Soldier at the time with my service due to be completed in march I never took a great deal of notice re rules of engagement etc.
    The only contribution that I can add is that when on guard duty the table was stacked with loaded mags with live ammo.

  11. Derek Holyoake says

    Good day Gentlemen

    My name is Derek Holyoake and i am a proud ex Soldier who served with Delta Company 6 RAR in Butterworth from November 1975 to March 2006.
    I was a trooper from B Sqn 4th cavalry Regiment that was posted to Delta Company due to shortages in Delta Company after Vietnam.

    I was trained as an Infantryman in Butterworth and very proud to have been part of these great soldiers.

    During my tour in Malaysia we had to push the C.T. threat back over the borderinto Thsiland. On one of these actions i was shot at and after a few days of medical fron the RAP i was sent to Singapore where i was diagnosed with a Left Corneal Ulser of my Left Eye from a phospherous burn from a round passing by my eye.

    I now receive a wonderful 20% Disability for this injury.
    My question is.
    If the Government agrees i have received an injury whilst on duty defending Australian defence of our people and property as a soldier in Malaysia then what was this? I have no doubts this is a War Like situation. I was in Butterworth the same day we took delivery of the F111’s that had to be defended by us from the C.T.’s

    Now i am 63 yrs old still trying to get my full benefits and recognition of what i did for my Country

    Derek Holyoake
    Gold Coast

  12. David Payne says

    5 tours of Butterworth. 1974 C Coy 2/4, 1979- C Coy 2/4, 1984 D Coy 1RAR, 2006- 2007 Back to back Tours with Gres Coy and Engineer Coy. I would classify the 2006- 2007 Tours as training, the others were operational. In 1974 I recall our section perched on barges in the Channel between Butterworth and Georgetown. Barges were loaded with bombs either being returned to or delivered from Australia. Our rules of engagement were pretty explicit- as delivered to us by the RAAF- if anyone tries to board these Barges they are to be shot. Live ammo issued- I was the gunner but I cant recall having the gun that night- but I did carry an SLR, with live ammo loaded into mags, and a mag fitted to the weapon. 1979- clearing patrols around the perimeter with live ammo and rules of engagement which allowed us to return fire, 1984, reacted to a damaged fence on the base and set up security- again with live ammo and similar rules of engagement.

    Either we were on active service and were lucky enough not to have been engaged, or we were acting (on orders) well outside our mission. The latter scenario does not match the briefings given prior to deployment or on arrival at Butterworth.

  13. Herbert Mitterer says

    I was recently advised by a friend that I may be entitled to a Service Medal on account of my deployment with C Company 1 RAR to Rifle Company Butterworth, and in the process of my enquires, I came across the correspondence from the then Minister of Veteran affairs to the Royal Australian Regiment Association dated 14 June 2014, and I must say, I was extremely offended by its content.

    I served in the Australian Regular Army from 1971 to 1991

    In 1974, whilst posted to 107 Field Battery, 4 Fd Regiment RAA (Townsville) in the then capacity of FO signaller I was called into the Battery Commander’s Office and told that I had been nominated for deployment with a Company of 1 RAR to Rifle Company Butterworth as a rifleman. And I can distinctly recall that as part of that conversation it was made plain to me that this was no overseas junket. That is, it was an overseas operational deployment into a hostile environment, and as such, before I would be allowed to go, I would first have to complete comprehensive training in infantry minor tactics and be assessed as competent by the Company Commander. Therefore, in the last quarter of 1974 I was detached to C Company 1 RAR to undertake that training and assessment. And it needs to be noted that the final training before deployment were contact drills using live ammunition, which I understand was only undertaken in preparation for war-like overseas service.

    Then in early 1975, having completed my training and having been assess as competent, I departed Australia with C Company for Butterworth and for the next three months performed the duties of a rifleman with the RCB. I cannot speak as to what happened before or after I was there, only what happened whilst I was there, but whilst there I engaged in activities which directly contradict much as what was contained in the Ministers correspondence.

    Like all past and future contingents, on the day we arrived, we were advised there would be no local leave until familiarisation briefings had been completed. These briefings lasted a few days and ranged from the current threat level, the rules of engagement, the local culture and what to do and not do, and where go and not go, when on local leave. Then from day one of our arrival until late April it was a regular routine of regular 24 hour rotations through the ready-room for immediate armed deployment in the event of an attack on the airfield interspaced with on base section and platoon level training which was mostly performed to keep one occupied when confined to base as the ready reserve if those in the ready room activated. During that period, I also performed the duties of an armed sentry in the unit armoury.

    Then, as thing so often do, everything changed. It changed because in April 1975 North Vietnam finally successfully invaded the south, giving rise to an increase in CT activity, including around Butterworth, resulting in the immediate cancellation of all local leave for the all members of the RCB, and with the whole company put on standby, and with the ready reaction force increased to platoon strength, with one section detached to a building on the flight line to conduct armed patrols of those base facilities considered most at risk, and with those on patrol provided with enhanced rules of engagement. That is our ability to use deadly force was not limited to self-defence. As for the remainder of my tour, though the enhanced ready reaction force was maintained, limited local leave was allowed, but only for small groups at a time.

    So when the above is compared to the content of the minister’s correspondence, the immediate question which arises is; if there is no evidence the Infantry Company was used in an “emergency ground defence capacity, other than for exercise purposes” then what was I doing on the flight line at 2 am with a loaded M16 searching for CT’s who may be breached airbase boundary to attack the airbase facilities, with rules of engagement which allowed me, if satisfied they were in fact an enemy force, to shot first, which I understand is the fundamental difference between warlike service and peacekeeping. That is war-like services allows one to engage the enemy before being fired upon. Peacekeeping only allows you to discharge your weapon once satisfied that it is you, who are being fired upon. That is, it was not a training exercise in an overseas location. We were there to responded with armed force in the event of an attack.

    Then there is “The Air Force History Unit advises there is no record of any ground defence emergency occurring”, yet in April 1975 such an emergency did occur. That is, because of well-founded security concerned, the camp was closed, all local leave was cancelled, the armed presence on the base by the RCB was substantially increased, including armed patrolling of base facilities considered most at risk and with enhanced rules of engagement which allowed there use a weapon in an offensive capacity. Aside from actually getting shot it doesn’t get any more war-like than that.

    As for the inference that that we were there for training, exactly what kind of training were we there for. I mean before we deployed, we undertook extensive training at section, platoon and company level, including jungle warfare training at Tully and live fire and movement training in the Mount Stuart training area. And yet, after we arrived at Butterworth the only training undertaken was at section or platoon level, mostly targeted to giving us something to do whilst we waited our turn to rotate through the ready room, and whilst in the ready room, we were not there to receive training on what to do if there was an attack. Instead we were there to provide an armed response in the event of an attack.

    I also found offensive the inference in the letter that service with RCB was a bit of a lark. That is, the inference it contained that in the mind of the minister and his staff there was little to distinguish it from service in Australia or conducting a unit training in a overseas location. At no time whist in Australia on training, was I ever given a loaded weapon with the authority to use it. Therefore, to attempt to justify the decision, even by inference, by comparing one against the other is offensive in the extreme to all of us who have served and as part of that service prepared to risk their lives in defence of their country.

    I have sent a copy of this to both the office of the Prime Minister and the RSL

    • Joseph Bowden says

      Herbert, you are spot on there mate. I served in Butterworth in 2008 with 9 CSSB, even though we were there in a different time frame to you guys we were warned that in accordance with the FPDA ROE, should anything happen, that’s why we’re there. What a lot of people need to acknowledge is the fact that there are Aussie soldiers there 24-7-365…. Blind Freddy can see that a ” Training Excercise ” as such does NOT last as long as that. FFS, what’s going on here ??? Our guard room was maned 24 hours a day. We still did regular patrols of our area of responsibility, and on our road runs down to Singapore, or anywhere else for that matter, our convoys had military police escort us with strict instructions to NOT let any vehicles get between or compromise the integrity of our packets. Oh and by the way, as always… Soldiers will get hurt because due to the ( Jungle Training ) I ended up in hospital with pneumonia, whilst a colleague was in hospital with a broken jaw. And we did get people approach us from the local community asking us about our movements, all the while claiming that they worked for the government. Yeah, witch government ?? On that note, at the markets in downtown Georgetown, a certain stall that us guys would go to, the stalls owner used to boast to us about our deployments etc… I’m not talking past etc, I mean up to date as in CURRENT…… WHAT THE HELL HAVE WE GOT OURSELVES INTO HERE ? But worry not, because it’s ONLY TRAINING ( according to our government )…..

    • Greg McMahon (TPI) says

      IN March/April six RAAF Service Police from Cpl to Warrant Officer were notified at 0100 hours in and on RAAF Bases in Australia that they were to assist in the security of the Saigon Evacuation. Upon our arrival at RAAF Base Richmond we were all boarded on a RAAF Hercules Aircraft and off loaded at Air Base Butterworth. The Assistant Provost Marshall (RAAF Police) and Officer Commanding RAAF Base Butterworth fear Malaysian Communist insurgency. Because Saigon was falling, Laos & Cambodia also being taken over by Communist troops, and the Penang Island Army camp had been mortared by Malaysian Chinese Communists. We were all issued with 9mm pistols whilst on duty, fortunately to my knowledge no insurgency took place? the police deployment last 6 weeks. I had previous completed a 2 year tour at Air Base Butterworth from 1972-74.

    • I remember Herbie when he was a Sargent at 8/12 I too was attached to an infantry company from 5/7 in the 80’s and have a very similar story to him ,at no time was it a junket it was an atmosphere of fear of the unknown.The piece that Mr Mitterer has written should be listened to by those in the position to effect change.Well done Herbert

  14. Kelvin Suker says

    Latecomer to this. Bravo Coy 1RAR ’73-’79. RCB over Christmas I think in 74 but may have been 75. Concur with all previously said. We had live rounds, ROE and turn outs were serious.
    Will write/email my local member to seek explanation of why there is still no recognition.

  15. Kon Glekas says

    Gents
    I am one of these people that have a lot of patients, but some of the responses that have been received from the defence department are beyond comprehension, I have read the secret and confidential papers that were obtained by Mike Denis under the freedom of informations act (Thank you Mike), and it s beyond me that these were not looked at at by the Department of Defence on the initial request by Robert Cross for the 8/9 RAR Association for recognition of the service by the RCB as “war like” and the issue of the appropriate awards, this was about 10 years ago.
    I did my stint at Butterworth in 1975, and this has re ignited memories based on the above, and yes, we all were marched on the parade ground and and were given our orders.
    I was not surprised that in one paper, the OC Butterworth Air Base expressed concern about the intelligence information received that the CT were near the base and the risk that they may attack was extremely high, and if some of the above posts are correct, then the quote that the RCB were not fired upon would be untrue and these would have been recorded in communications marked as secret.
    I have been following the requests to review the type of service, particularly by Robert Cross, and the replies received from the Department of Defence and each person that has reviewed our case contradicts the previous.
    Now based on the media (newspapers), they state that Mike Denis has met the Defence Secretary, with a response that they will review it one more time, once all the documents have been examined, this was in November 2015, lets see what happens this time, are they going to access the documents marked as secret which supports our submission or are they going to come back with the same excuses that we were there for training.
    How time flies, I was at Butterworth over 40 years ago.

  16. Mark Stewart says

    Firstly I would like to thank those members that have been fighting this fight for us. I personally know Robert Cross, and for a bit of trivia, I was doing my Assault Pioneer Course with him ay 6 RAR when I was if I wanted to go. Pioneer course finished on the Saturday and I flew out on the Sunday. We didn’t go straight tp Butterworth we went to Alor Star first for a month, “training” with an operational battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment, the 9th to be precise. They called exercise Haringaroo who send soldier to train with an operational battalion in contact with the enemy. My section got shot at twice, but we were ordered to pull back, to an infantry man that just plain sucks. My trip was from November 1978 to February 1978, I remember the briefing before we took over from 6 RAR on how many expected RED days we were going to have. Surely if they can tell us that they must have information on possible CT movements. As very one said we were armed with live ammo and the arms coat piquet had a mag of M16 and a M16 to use, that was not training.

  17. Interested Observer says

    I suggest Phillip MaCavitie and other doubters review the current posting regarding a Malaysian Oficer who fought in the 2nd Malaysian Insurgency.Interestingly he makes reference to Kedah as being a hot spot for CT activity, just so happens Butterworth Air Base is situated in Kedah State.He also makes reference to other airstrips being busy with Carribou and Nuri choppers, where do you think those aircraft deployed from given that Butterworth was the main strike base on mainland Malaysia.Not only the Australian Government lied to us about the true role of RCB , I would suggest that the Malaysian Government have a lot more to disclose, after all RCB was instigated under the auspice of the FPDA in which Malaysia was a member.There is not much public information being made avaialable by the Malaysians and it surprises that such an article escapaped scrutiny.As a miminmum the article exposes the fact that RCB deployments were undertaken against a background of internal insurgency and possible escalation involvng RCB.The RCB deployments are no different to the Somalia deployment in which those serving with 1 RAR were awarded the AASM , in that situation 1 RAR were deployed on a humanitarin mission under NATO, they had ROE but defensive only.they operated in a country where internal conflict existed but were not directly involved in that conflict.RCB is no different.

  18. Mick Connolly says

    To Philip McCavitie, mate you are missing the point it is not about whether or not you thought of it as a p…up trip. The Government lied about the reason why we were in RCB, that is we went there to train with the Malaysian Army. Well in 1974 and 1975 with 1 RAR I never even saw a Malaysian solder do any training with us or us with them. We were in RCB to protect Australian personnel and assets if the proverbial hit the fan. An ROE along with live ammunition when you were on the QRF Section etc, does not amount to normal peace time garrison duty. I know blokes who with Sigs in SVN who lived in the Free World Hotel wore polyester uniform everyday and never even carried a weapon with live ammunition yet they are awarded the entitlements that come with the AASM. Personnel who are currently in the UAE and Kuwait who do not have any threat (like an ongoing insurgency in the country they are serving in) do not carry weapons etc; are awarded the AASM. So the question is why hasn’t the Government done the same for RCB, the answer is because our duty in RCB (Malaysia) was sold as a lie to the Australian people, because they had had enough of our Army being involved in any type of conflict (ie: SVN) so the ADF (read lying desk jockey Generals) with the Gov. printed it was only for training! So mate, whilst you enjoyed the p..ups and the good life of being overseas, when you were on duty you were on duty for a purpose, just because a shot was never fired in anger does not lessen the reasons why we were there, because if it came down to it we were placed in a very precarious position, where we acted as a deterrent to the CT/s in having a go at the airbase. Now if it was such a jolly trip as you have stated why was it only Infantry Rifle Companies that were posted there? Why not the Ordnance Corps or Transport. Have a think about it mate and you will see that a clear and present danger was there otherwise a ROE would never have been issued along with a rifle and live ammunition. So the RCB support group is trying to right that wrong and get the Gov and ADF to admit that they lied to us and the public and that our service should have been Gazetted and we should have been placed on the allotted list for operational service, thus endeth the lesson.

    • vin cronin says

      A BIG YES well said

    • Hans Graetz says

      G’day Vinc I was in Butterworth with you on that trip, I believe you were with 3 Pl which was the 9RAR platoon, your Pl Comd was Bubbles Wilson and Pl Sgt Ross (bookies best mate one each way) Kenny. I was in 2 Pl from 8 RAR.

      Graetzy
      Still serving, still living the dream.

      • John RAAMS says

        If we are talking 1973, went over as 8RAR and came back to 8/9 RAR.. then i was there with you and yes i remember bubble wilson and Ross the “boss” Kenny, as do remember Vic “Pop” Burgess and Kev Barry or Wally Sturzaker.. Im sure none of us will forget

  19. Macca McKilliam says

    Id say seeing The so called Phillip McCavitie post on here that he would of been one of those blokes that spent more time in the armscoate than outside lol

    • Hello Macca,

      Mate for the life of me, I have forgotten what you look like.
      I was with you in 1978 (B COy 6 RAR).
      Not an easy posting as some think it was.
      I was also there back in 1973 with A Coy 6 RAR

      Regards

      Peter Adamis
      (Pete the Greek)

      • terry dillon says

        Macca was in 6 PLT friends with Thorpe I was in 4PLT

      • Maitland Councillor says

        I was 5 platoon I was in Malaysia same time as terry Dillon Macca thorpey n Peter the little Greek

      • Macca McKilliam says

        Hi fellow mates. I am just rereading this before putting a letter together for Maj General Jim Molan who will most likely be a senator and a former C.O. of the glorious fighting 6th Battalion in regards to this matter. I Feel now is the time to arm ourselves with self loading emails and automatic pens and go up the guts with heaps of smoke to state our cause. Peter and Maitland and Terry do you remember when Jimmy Mills got Killed ? I was always suss about that and now with this day and age reading about terrorists using cars and trucks as a weapon makes you really stop and think . Hmmmm

  20. Macca McKilliam says

    After reading all the comments and serving with B Coy 6 RAR in Butterworth 1978, it leaves me no doubt that all serving Army personel serving there deserve the AASM. As far Im concerned and after speaking to untold veterans from Vietnam and other conflicts that if you carry live ammo that means your in a warlike situation. The government is just paranoid about possible backlash with compensation matters, or more likely cant afford to award medals after giving themselves a nice 2.4% payrise. I intend takeing up the matter with my local MP I hope you all do also. And remember maintain the rage and above all Duty First.

  21. Philip McCavitie says

    You blokes are surely having a lend. This was a pissup trip.

  22. Ian McDougall says

    I would firstly like to acknowledge Kev Egan who served in Pioneer Platoon 1 RAR in the very early eighties with me and to Graham “Banga” Cannan who I was detached to Alpha Company with March – June ’81 to RCB.
    I distinctly recall being armed with an M16 and two thirty round mags of 5.56 as one of two escorts for an ammo truck between Butterworth and Pulada and having ROE to shoot anything that threatened us or tried to take anything from us. I spent a great deal of time at Pulada as part of the Support Platoon and had two trips down there. Often on our journeys to an from the camp at Pulada, there would be armed checkpoints/roadblocks manned with local Police/Military that were searching for weapons and suspected CTs. They use to wave us through smiling as brothers in arms and I felt that they were sincerely grateful for our presence.
    I have only recently been made aware of this struggle for recognition for members who served at RCB and would like to say that I am there with you all. Doogs.

  23. Michael Connolly says

    Well the RAAF got their Vietnam Logisitc Support Medal, now what about pursuing ours. They were on the same ROE as RCB, so it is time the Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal started to open up and accept our rights as well. RAAF Ubon/RCB same (Sama Sama) same.

  24. I tend to agree with S Adamson, who posted his remark last September. As I was there at the same time Sep/Nov 75 along with another Sapper Jack Smith on “loan” from 3rd Field Engineer Regiment.
    I have supplied information in the past to Robert Cross regarding the submission from 8/9 RAR.
    The only document that we received at that time was that we were entitled the ASM with bar (SE Asia) and that this duty was arduous.
    But having said the above, I will assit if required
    KG.

  25. Kevi Egan says

    Where is everyone’s comment, have we come to a stand still ? it is the same people who get on this website and voice there opinion no one else. How are we going to win if no on else cares or does nothing about this injustice. We are all ex Infantry Soldiers who believe in looking after our mates through thick and thin , no matter what the situation is. Well come on fellas, you’re mates need you to now, get on the web and voice your opinions and tell these bloody pollies and The Tribunal what we want and what we DESERVE. We all agree that we served in an Active War Zone and we had our ROE to abide by so come on men tell other members and get in this fight with the rest your mates, remember as all Australian Soldiers, past or present we have a very proud tradition of looking after our mates , do I really need to say anymore. LETS ALL GET STUCK IN AND GET THIS RESOLVED.

    • I totally agree with your coment!
      So Arfter 38 years, I remember RCB.
      I quit the army while at RCB because of politicians lack of honesty and failed support of diggers then.
      Seems it is still happening!
      If soldiers are fired on and carry live rounds and have to be wary of booby traps on patrol?
      The only training we did in Malaya was to sharpen our skills for possible contacts or insergents entering the perimeter!!!!!

  26. Stephen Adams says

    I was posted to RCB, A Coy 2/4 RAR March 1978 we where given clear ROE and wile on patrol of the air base carried weapons in the loaded condition. I was engaged 2 times wile at Butterworth (That is shot at)once wile on patrol having a shot fired at me from out side the fence, and the other time wile on QRF and attending a KP call out! I also recall that on one night that CT’s entered the air base and where Killed by Malay Security Forces, with all of RCB stood- to issued live ammo (Weapons at Action) This was NO exercise and the air base was locked down for a week after this incident!

  27. George Lovett says

    The first rifle company rotation occurred in November 1970 with C .Coy -1RAR rotating from Singapore.The were transported from Singapore on a 36hour voyage on the logistics ship Sir Lancelot along with vehicles and heavy stores.In March 1970 the Butterworth Air Base was officially handed back to the Malaysian Government.Mr Gordon had announced in his defence statement in Feb 1969 to rotate rifle companies through Butterworth.Mr Fraser in announcing the deployment of troops in Canberra said this was the start of regular deployments to the base.Butterworth air base is the largest air base in Malaysia and covers some 670acres and has become a base of major importance.The last permanent troops at Butterworth were the 110th Light Anti – Aircraft Battery which was withdrwan to Australia in June 1969. – source AWM Records F04471

  28. Michael Connolly says

    G’day everyone. Can someone please explain why ADF personnel who are currently stationed in the UAE (Dubai) and previously in Kuwait receive the AASM. No threat from hostile action or imminent danger or loss of life from hostile forces. Yet! we who were in RCB had an ROE where when on duty (QRF) you were issued with live ammunition to protect yourself and Australian assets against hostile (enemy) threats? Yet in the UAE they do not carry weapons or have live ammunition issued to them? So I think that we as a group need to re-submit our issues to the appropriate authority, maybe just maybe we can have our issue given a better hearing.