Home' Navy News : April 11th 2013 Contents 03
April 11, 2013
Respect umpire’s decision: CN
MULTINATIONAL Base Tarin Kot
is set to close at the end of the year,
the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) has decided.
CDF GEN David Hurley said
troops would start removing equip-
ment and collapsing areas of the
camp not being handed to Afghan
units, after the move was announced
by the Australian government on
“With the national training mis-
sion, Afghanistan is moving another
kandak into Tarin Kot. They will
take over some of the facilities so we
don’t have to pull those down, just
clean them up and hand them over,”
A number of portable accommo-
dation buildings will be sent to the
Afghan National Officer Academy in
Kabul, according to the CDF.
“And then we’ll have to collapse
all the life-support utilities in the
camp and clean those up and remedi-
ate those to the appropriate stand-
ards,” he said.
“On top of that, obviously [we’ll
be] moving back equipment by both
container over the road through
Pakistan, or by air back to Australia.”
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
said ISAF’s decision to draw down
and close the base was made after
consultation with Australia, which
currently leads Combined Team
Uruzgan, and Afghan authorities.
The closure was also in line with
the timetable to transition to full
Afghan-led security responsibility in
Uruzgan province by the end of 2013.
“We’ve always said that we
thought that in Uruzgan we were fur-
ther advanced than other districts or
provinces,” Mr Smith said.
“So we started transitioning in
Uruzgan in the middle of last year.
There are some provinces or dis-
tricts which won’t commence transi-
tion until the middle of this year.”
With the closure of Multinational
Base Tarin Kot the majority of
Australia’s troops will come home
CN VADM Ray Griggs
THE recent announcement of
the deliberations of the Defence
Honours and Awards Tribunal
Report on Recognition of Past
acts of Gallantry and Valour were,
whichever way they went, going to
spark disappointment for some.
Having followed this issue for
some time and trying to take a dis-
passionate view, I think the out-
comes are good for Navy.
That statement may annoy some
people but out of this we now have
(or will have through the efforts of
the Australian War Memorial) much
greater public awareness of some
of our finest naval heroes and we
have the collective recognition for
the entire ship’s company of HMAS
Yarra I, through the award of a Unit
Citation for Gallantry.
On February 5, 1942, while
under enemy fire, Yarra rescued
more than 1800 people from a burn-
ing transport ship off Singapore.
On March 4, 1942, in the early
hours of the morning, while escort-
ing a convoy in the Indian Ocean,
Yarra’s lookouts sighted a Japanese
surface action group, greatly supe-
rior to Yarra in fighting strength and
speed. In the action that followed,
despite the obvious fate that awaited
them, Yarra’s ship’s company con-
ducted themselves with distinction
and utter professionalism.
Yarra was struck by heavy
enemy shellfire, badly damaged and
set on fire. When it was obvious the
ship was about to sink, the order to
abandon ship was given. Despite
this order, the last remaining gun
crew continued to engage the enemy
until silenced by direct fire. From a
ship’s company of 151 men, there
were only 13 survivors.
Through their actions in both
cases, Yarra’s ship’s company dis-
played extraordinary gallantry in the
face of overwhelming odds, which
is in keeping with the finest tradi-
tions of the RAN.
For some of course the decision
not to retrospectively award indi-
viduals a Victoria Cross remains a
cause for concern and deep disap-
pointment. I understand these emo-
tions, but I want to explain why I
personally don’t feel this way.
First, we need to recognise the
significance for Navy of the award
of the Unit Citation for Gallantry.
While I believe there is merit in
reviewing the criteria for the award
of the Victoria Cross in modern
combat, I think Navy should prize
collective acts of gallantry over
individual acts, because ships can
only fight as teams where every
member of the crew plays a role in
fighting the ship.
You cannot leave a ship in action
at sea, you are committed to seeing
it through with your shipmates.
There is no higher honour for
a ship than a Unit Citation for
Second, I think the difficulties of
retrospective decision making should
not be underestimated. It would be
very easy to create a precedent with
The tribunal recommended, and
the Government accepted, that none
of the 13 men considered (11 Navy
and two Army) should be awarded
any retrospective gallantry awards.
Without the full knowledge of
all the factors in play at the time, it
is impossible to make a rational and
dispassionate decision regarding
individual acts of gallantry when we
are so far removed from the events
of the day.
The tribunal is the independent
umpire and the whistle has blown; we
should respect the umpire’s decision.
Finally, the fact that no member
of the RAN has received a Victoria
Cross does not mean there has not
been extraordinary gallantry in the
past – there has – we all know that.
The officers and sailors consid-
ered in this inquiry are all heroes to
us and they always will be.
We already honour many of them
in various ways such as through
ship names, names of Divisions at
Recruit School or HMAS Creswell
and building names – we will con-
tinue to honour them. We are a
bigger organisation than worrying
about how many VCs we have com-
pared to another service.
THE Australian-led Combined Task
Force 150 (CTF 150) seized a record
heroin haul during a boarding on
Law enforcement agencies con-
firmed that the 500kg of heroin had
an estimated street value of $100m
and was one of the largest heroin sei-
zures in maritime history.
Commander CTF 150 CDRE
Charles McHardie said the seizure
represented another step towards
ensuring a secure maritime environ-
ment, while further depleting terror-
“The destruction of this cargo
strikes at the financial heart of global
terrorist organisations,” CDRE
CTF 150’s intelligence gathering,
planning, coordination and direction
was central to the mission’s success.
HMAS Toowoomba worked with
Canadian warship HMCS Toronto,
to track and intercept the drug smug-
CDRE McHardie said the seizure
was proof coordinated coalition
efforts denied funding to terrorist
Members from Toronto boarded
and searched the vessel in the Indian
Ocean adjacent to Zanzibar Island,
Tanzania, in accordance with inter-
The boarding occurred as part of
Focused Operation Southern Sweep,
which is designed to assist counter-
Focused Operation Southern
Sweep is disrupting the movement
of heroin from Afghanistan into East
Africa by sea.
in half-tonne haul
RECORD FIND: The 500kg
of heroin (above) was
seized after members of
Canadian warship HMCS
Toronto (inset left) boarded
and searched the suspect
vessel off the Tanzania.
Tarin Kot to
close this year
Links Archive March 28th 2013 April 25th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page