Jon Eaton sent this more recent photo of himself (see photo of Jon in 1968 on the East coast of Malaysia on page one of this site). Jon claims that he has aged during the intervening 38 years. But perhaps if he shaved more frequently and not upset the BSM, he would still have that youthful appearance. Thanks for the photograph Jon.
Your Secretary, while strolling around Townsville (strolling as he has been medically downgraded and is no-longer capable of marching) stumbled upon a “Dip" full of "Black Sheep”. The "Sheep-Dip" is the place where Rampart RAMMERS and Black sheep have a quiet one on special occasions.
Pictured in the “Dip” with your Secretary are (L-R) Jarred, Daniel, Kurt, Mathew proudly wearing the "Bad Ram" helmet and Mitch.
Mathew, (AKA Johno), just promoted LBbr, received the Bad Ram for impressing the Battery Sergeant Major with his superior arrangements for PT re-testing session for the next Monday. Johno had attended and passed the PT test that morning but forgot to have his name recorded. Johno, take it from a very old Gunner, the rank of “Lance-Jack” is not really all that it is cracked-up to be.
The previous Bad Ram awardee, the Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, reluctantly handed over the Bad Ram helmet and red hair. He expected to hold the award for several more weeks for his unselfish duties in providing his Q vehicle as a moving target across the impact area during the previous weeks live firing.
Such dedicated attention to duty brought a “flash back” to your Secretary. In October 1969, he was dispatched from the very same barracks to High Range with Sgt Bo Plenty, a transport Bombardier and around thirty gunners, to clear trees from gun positions for the Battery’s first live firing exercise. The trees were cut close to the ground with chainsaws, leaving short stumps. When the Transport Bombardier pointed out the potential damage to tyres when the gun tractors deployed onto the positions, your young Gun Position Officer promptly ordered the trucks push over the trees and pull them, roots and all, away. Today these trees would be described as mid-sized woody weeds. Unfortunately, one branch brushed against the left windscreen of one Mk5 truck resulting in a small crack, just four inches long. On return to Lavarack Barracks, the Staff Sergeant Transport Supervisor spotted the otherwise well disguised crack and reported to the Regimental Sergeant Major (God) Warrant Officer First Class Don Doncan, who advised the Commanding Officer (the one who sits above God) Lieutenant Colonel Brien “Brushy” Forward.
In re-telling, the woody weeds assumed the proportions of 500 ft high, 35 foot around the girth, 1,000 year-old Tasmanian Forest giants. Left is Sgt Wally Walford's Bravo Gun Detachment at one of the positions, cleared of the Tasmanian forest giants, just prior to the Battery deploying to Vietnam in May 1970.
Your young GPO, after visiting and thanking the CO for the 14 days extra-duties, bumped into Sgt Bo leaving the RSM’s office, rubbing the seat of his trousers.
Each looked at the other in bemusement, but not a word was needed. Fortunately, a few days later the Battery deployed to High Range and the remainder of the “duties” lapsed. At High Range, the Battery Commander Major George (GT) Salmon when viewing the woody weeds that had been cleared was overheard to say, “Those trees are not that big, I would have used the trucks myself.” Your Secretary is pleased that yet another “Bad Ram” situation has been outed.