107 Battery RAA Association

August 2015
News from Lavarack Barracks
The BC, BSM and 107 Battery have been totally committed to training activities, so a few words from Commanding Officer 4th Regiment, Lt Col Damian Hill, extracted from the Regimental Newsletter Volume, 8 Apr-Jun 2015.
Hectic is word often used to describe a 4 Regt year, but I cannot think of a better word to describe the last three months. We dispersed far and wide in support of the 100th anniversary of Anzac, including marching as a unit be- hind our colours (the guns). This followed in quick succession by the Regt 55th birthday celebrations, and I can say without a doubt, it was an amazing couple of days. The competitiveness during the gun race and trebuchet competition was fierce, the pomp and ceremony of the parade and 1812 Overture was grand, and the banter and camaraderie during both the Bty and Regt social events was obvious and endures as it has since the Regt formed. It was great to see so many former members of the Regt and their families, the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive.
The Regt has been in the field almost continuously since early May and as I write this small note we once again pre- pare for another month away, this time in the cooler environs of Shoalwater Bay. The strength and resilience of our families continues to amaze me, as we ask more and more of our soldiers. I promise you the job they are doing is important, and your contribution is not forgotten. The more we train, the better we get and if we are sent overseas, the faster we will win.
I would like to make mention of the Regt shooting team. The efforts of WO2 Steve Wilson to bring together, train and deploy arguably the best team the Regt has ever sent to the Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting has paid dividends, and soldiers of the Regt are in the top echelon of combat shots in the Army. Well done to WO2 Wilson and the team. The Regt Ball draws closer please continue to pay for your tickets over the coming months so that you do not have to outlay large sums of money close to Christmas. This year's event promises to be even better than the last couple, which will need to be seen to be believed.
Many in the Regt will shortly receive posting orders, this will mean the in- evitable turmoil attempting to lock down housing, schools, doctors etc. If you need help, ask us and we will provide you everything we can. The Regt is often an untapped wealth of information, and we have the networks in other locations that can ease some of the stress. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this edition, I cannot believe we have achieved so much in such a short time, and before we know it, Christmas will be upon us.
Ubique. Damian Hill Lieutenant Colonel

, let alone an inexperienced detachment. I am very proud of the Battery’s achievements in the face of such adversity.

The Battery also took part in the gun race held to celebrate the Regiment’s birthday in May. Despite the race against 109 Bty being close, the Rammers split the race wide open in the final stages to complete the course first by almost 30 seconds, only to lose due to a technicality. It was a heartbreaking result and as BC 109 Bty put it, ‘a very shallow victory indeed’. Continuing with Regimental competitions, the Rammers have come second in the swimming carnival (March) and just last week came a very close second to 106 Bty in the cross-country – an influx of new teenage soldiers fresh from the School aided 106 Bty greatly, despite a strong showing from the Rammers that had all onlookers convinced that we had it ‘in the bag’! We look forward to our next opportunity to seal a well-earned victory in the coming months and eventually return the Champion Battery trophy to the Battery Headquarters.

Presently the Battery is preparing itself for the coming twelve months of ‘readying’. As you may know, between the Army’s three full-time combat brigades there is a rotation every 12 months between ‘readying’ for deployment, ‘ready’ to deploy, and in ‘reset’ after the two-year work up. Also, one of the infantry battalions is designated as the ‘Ready Battle Group’, augmented with armour, artillery, engineer and support attachments. The Ready Battle Group (RBG) is the Army’s short-notice, highly deployable strategic capability, able to be recalled, constituted and deployed in hours; preparing to become part of the RBG requires significant training, as there will be no time for advanced training once the callout is made. This responsibility will fall to our supported unit, the 1st Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment, and so the Rammers will form part of the 1 RAR’s RBG. The coming year will be very busy for the Rammers, including a surprise callout or two that will incorporate the full callout and deployment of the majority of the Battalion group into a training scenario.

The coming months will see the Battery conduct Exercise NADZAB (High Range) in August, the Commanding Officer’s Challenge in September, and the Brigade live fire exercise in October. The Battery will also contribute to the RAA Command Post Exercise run annually at the School of Artillery at Puckapunyal in November, which will include the Divisional Artillery Headquarters for the first time in recent memory.

Currently the Battery has our Command Post Sergeant, SGT Rowan Temple, on deployment to the Sinai, and one of our Forward Observers, Captain Jackson Stanhope, deployed to Iraq. We pray for their safety and a safe, speedy return.

As always, my thanks go to the Committee and the Association for your continued support of the Battery.
Ubique, Major James Casey - Battery Commander

Update from the Battery Commander:

Since returning in December from their tour as Rifle Company Butterworth in Malaysia (fittingly the 107th rotation of the RCB), the Battery has been focussing their efforts on getting back to the basics of gunnery. The Butterworth task has meant that the majority of the gunners in the Battery have been 'off the tools' for some six months, making the 'back to the basics' approach all the more important at the start of the year. This has also helped the command team to settle into their stride; the Battery Commander, Battery Captain, Battery Sergeant Major, Battery Guide and Battery Commander's Assistant are all new march-ins to the Battery.

During March, the Battery undertook Exercise FIRST RUN with the majority of the Regiment. Considering how long the gunners have been 'off the tools', the exercise was a success for the Battery - there were few mistakes, and no major incidents. We did have a soldier trip whilst carrying a shell (45+kgs), severely breaking one of his fingers. While full credit goes to the young gunner for trying to prevent the fuze from striking the ground, we are hopeful his finger will be saved and he is back punching bombs with the Battery sooner rather than later.
Immediately following our contribution to Ex FIRST RUN, we shifted our efforts to shooting in support of an Air Force course that qualifies Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs - formerly known as 'Forward Air Controllers' or 'FACs'). While slow and frustrating at times, the opportunity to conduct some training around the Air Force's flying schedule allowed us to build on the training conducted during Ex FIRST RUN.

The Battery is now back in the Barracks, cleaning up and 'refitting to fight'. After a short stint of leave over Easter, April will be full of preparations for the Regiment's 55th Birthday parade, which will take place on 01-02 May. We will be taking the opportunity to celebrate the Battery's 50th Birthday at the same time, rather than having our Old Boys and their families try to come up to Townsville twice in the one year. For those who are able to join us, we will have an open day during the afternoon on the afternoon of Friday 1st of May. Afterwards we will open the Battery's bar (the Sheep Dip), where the gunners are looking forward to sharing a beer and having a yarn with the Old Boys. We look forward to showing you how the Battery has changed (for better or for worse) in the last couple of years. If you haven't seen the new guns, our Bushmaster Command Post vehicles or our new observer equipment, it will be a unique and interesting opportunity.

From mid-May until late July, the Regiment will be bouncing from exercise to exercise with a short stint of leave in late June.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as are able to join us in May, and will keep you posted on what is happening with the Rampant Rammers.

Major James Casey
BC Rams

From the Battery Commander

Having recently assumed command of the Battery (December 2014), I’m pleased to contribute to the Association’s newsletter for the first time.

While I haven’t served in the Rammers before, I have had the opportunity to admire the Battery’s work in the last two years from a distance, having been the Adjutant of 4th Regiment prior to my promotion. I have taken the reins from my very capable predecessor and good friend Major Thomas Drew at a busy and exciting time. I am joined by Warrant Officer Jason Bourke as the Battery Sergeant Major, who has a long and very proud association with 107th Battery.

Having completed a very successful three month rotation as the Rifle Company Butterworth in Malaysia late last year, the Battery has enjoyed a well-deserved break over the Christmas period. Having re-raised 106th Battery (the Turtles) on St Barbara’s Day last year, we will enjoy a close relationship with them over the coming months as 106th Battery is gradually expanded to a full, four-gun Battery strength over the next 12 months.

The coming months are busy, as the Battery awakens from its New Year slumber, shakes out the cobwebs and takes to the field for the first time in March on Exercise FIRST RUN. The exercise will also see the Battery supporting an exercise run by the Air Force, qualifying soldiers and airmen to call in airstrikes as Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (Forward Air Controllers/Air Contact Officers). April and May will see the Battery in barracks in the lead up to Anzac Day, preparing for the Regiment’s 55th Birthday celebrations on Saturday the 2nd of May. The Battery will play host to any members of the Association or Old Boys who wish to join us, and the ‘Sheep Dip’ will be open for the current and former members of the Battery to share a beer.

I am a keen student of history, and know that this year is also the 50th anniversary of the raising of 107th Field Battery under CAPT Peter Badcoe, VC. While there will certainly be mention of this during the Regiment’s birthday in May, we will be looking to celebrate the Battery’s 50th birthday in some form around the 1st of August.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can during my tenure, and keeping you in touch with what the Rammers are up to.


James Casey