Troops at the butterworth airbase in Malaya

If you asked any soldier, sailor or airman who is even remotely involved in warfighting if they thought about the “administrative tail” of their efforts, most wouldn’t give it a second thought.

In my day, it took something like 100 people to put one combat soldier in the field and support them.  So, the warfighter had a long administrative and logistic tail.

Be under no illusion.  In Australia, our military is second to none when it comes to the troops in the field and those who support them…… until it gets to the civilians who populate our Department of Defence, Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Australian Public Service in general. 

That’s when the wheels well and truly fall off.  And the further away from the fighting you go, the more ready the players are to lie, obfuscate and avoid their moral responsibility.

Case in point – in 1968 the Second Malayan Emergency (sometimes called the Counter-Insurgency War) kicked off in Malaysia. 

The first Emergency had ended in 1960, but the Communist Terrorists were not done attempting to wrest power from the government from their bases in Southern Thailand and sprinkled amongst Malay society.

We had a huge airbase at Butterworth with the majority of Australia’s fighter aircraft stationed there and it needed to be protected.  This was a strategic base to combat communist aggression in keeping with the domino theory. 

The strapped Malays couldn’t afford the troops to do that.  They were too busy fighting the insurgency.  So, Australia started rotating troops from Singapore until they were returned to Australia. 

RAAF Mirage fighters at butterworth in Malaysia. Australian Army diggers were ripped off for defending this assett
RAAF Mirages on the tarmac at Butterworth protected by diggers who would soon be short changed by Whitlam

After that – from 1970 – Australia started sending troops on rotation direct from Australia.  Mostly Infantry and armed for war.  In fact, they were put through all the pre-deployment training and preparation as if they were going to Vietnam.  Why?  Because the deployment met the criteria for warlike service.

But there was a problem.  Firstly, the Malays were sensitive in their newly-independent condition of having foreign military within their borders and fighting their war for them.  Add to that, the election campaign of Gough Whitlam who wanted to change our military posture from “forward defence” to “fortress Australia”. 

In other words, he wanted to bring all the troops home to where it was cheaper so he could strip the military to fund his social welfare programs. 

After he was elected, Gough was appraised of the obligations to protect Butterworth and to contribute to the Five Power Defence Agreement that replaced the South East Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO).

What to do?  If it were known that combat troops were being deployed to Butterworth, it would appear that he had broken an election promise.  The solution was to portray the deployment as “training” and thus the deception was born.

If one were to deal only in raw data and other facts, the deployments to Butterworth were commitments to war service. 

The host country was experiencing an insurgency, the Australian assets had to be protected and the host country didn’t have the resources to protect them. 

Into that breach steps the Australian Army, ready as ever to do the heavy lifting and to be the instrument of Australia’s foreign policy, including their foreign policy stuff-ups.

Let’s step aside at this point and consider the RAAF commitment to Ubon in Thailand.  Thailand was at peace, but it had an airbase occupied by foreign military within its borders. 

The Vietnam war was raging and Ubon played a part in it, just as Butterworth did.  Ubon had RAAF Airfield Defence Guards (ADGs) protecting the airbase, just as the Army did at Butterworth. 

But herein lies the rub – the ADGs at Ubon were recognised as being on war service whereas the troops protecting the air base at Butterworth were not.

From 1970 – 1989 when the peace treaty between the government of Malaysia and the Communist terrorists was signed, Malaysia was at war. 

It was a civil war, or an insurgency.  Call it what you will.  I’m sure the families of the 150+ Malay soldiers and police who were killed in combat believe they were at war.  In the period that the ADGs protected Ubon, Thailand was at peace. 

From a comparative perspective why would the guys deployed to Ubon be considered on war service and those deployed to Butterworth not?

If you print out the raw primary data on A4 pages and stack them on the floor, the pile stands over a metre high.  The secondary data and anecdotal evidence each stand at a similar height. 

It contains 123 formerly secret documents and one top secret document.  Yet, in the face of all that irrefutable evidence, the Australian Department of Defence, DVA, government and public service deny that the Second Malayan Emergency ever took place.

They say that what the 9,000 soldiers did was akin to anything they would have done in Australia. 

Why?

Well might you ask.  Well, the answer is as simple as it is disgraceful.  There was a decision-making process to determine if the 9,000 soldiers who served protecting Butterworth should be granted recognition for warlike service.

During this process, the Department of Veterans Affairs (which should not have been involved in the process) made a submission that they didn’t have the budget to pay the repatriation benefits involved.  And the Department of Defence went along with it.

This morally bankrupt, low act effectively put dollars before diggers.  Let’s be clear…. of the 9,000 who served, the more senior ones would have already earned their entitlements from deployments to Vietnam, Malaya, Borneo etc.

The younger ones would have gone on to serve in East Timor, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and so on, thereby earning their repatriation benefits and other entitlements. 

The nett figure of those “between the wars” diggers who have been “dudded” by the federal government is probably less than 2,000 and a lot of them have passed away.

Successive governments and the public service have perpetuated the deception that the deployment was only for training purposes to deny our diggers their just entitlements. 

They continue to this day.  On 2 December 2019 it will be 30 years since the signing of the peace treaty.  Lest we forget.

THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO THIS STORY.  IF YOU WANT TO HEAR THE REST OF IT, LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION AND ASK FOR MORE ON THE RCB CASE.

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Franny
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Franny

Thanks for the story, Mr Kelly. Is there no way proof can be produced to make reparations, even this late ? That’s really sad. Unfortunately, I’m aware that dudding the diggers is nothing new. It’s been going on probably as long as we’ve had a defence force. My own family has personal experience of it. Vets’ Affairs guilty as charged.

brmcc44
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brmcc44

Yes, it is the confrontation/war that is scarcely talked about. I arrived in Butterworth from 9 Sqn Canberra in early January 1965. I was attached to 5qn RAAF for a 6-month tour as one of the replacements for the guys that were first sent there 6 months earlier. 5 SQN had 4 Bell UH-1B’s and operated with the Malay forces and at that time also the British Army. Our job included support of Army forts in the Malay jungle and the operation of the British troops on the Malay/Thailand border. At the same time that all this was happening, Malaya… Read more »

pablo1
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pablo1

Yet another reason Pill Testing at these music Drug Parties is a waste of time….Druggies are Druggies, they ain’t the sweetest cookies in the jar…..You can test all you want, but when they keep chucking them down their throat after being told they are SAFE, they will drop dead…Just like this one….Staff at the event’s medical tent were told he had taken cocaine, GHB and MDMA….
https://www.9news.com.au/national/strawberry-fields-festival-tributes-pour-in-for-gleen-mcrae-who-died/cec479f8-f388-4ebd-9f5b-e58b7d892099

Pepperpete
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Pepperpete

Thanks Peter. A very timely reminder of Australia’s past commitment to the region. If the DofD and DVA rip off our diggers that sacrifice so much for their country, just imagine the royal screwing over these overpaid bureaucrats give to ordinary Australians.

Tricky Woo
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Tricky Woo

new post

Lady Pirate
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Lady Pirate

It is a disgrace. I know of 2 Vets who had a terrible time getting anything. They tried to get through the huge amount of paperwork themselves, but could just not cope. The only answer was to get a Advocate to do the work for them. This took a huge amount of time. Makes one wonder if the powers that be just hang them out in the hope they either get fed up, die or suicide.

mots
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mots

A cartoonist posted a video of creepy Joe Biden’s previous campaign speech where he went way off script and bragged about children stroking his blonde leg hairs. While speaking to a black audience Joe Biden suddenly started babbling about children stroking his hairy legs in the pool and how much he loves to have children on his lap. Also something about roaches? “And by the way I sit on a stand, I got hot, I got hairy legs that turn, that, that, that, turn blonde in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach in and pull… Read more »

flying
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flying

Another High coming from cold Antarctica drying out the bit of rain we had on Sunday. 15 degrees here last night.

BruceRugby
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BruceRugby

In view of Caltrop’s comment this morning a letter was posted to me from Howell Woltz, on this site , yesterday.. A very unusual procedure. Caltrop This site is in the process of dying because of the ignoramuses who took over. This was part of HW comment. Draw you own conclusions. “As for Harry Richardson, I think Mr. Pickering was wise to put this publication in his worthy hands and while the content is clearly not to your particular liking, Harry has more than doubled readership, put the Post on sound footing so it can survive, and his readership is… Read more »

mots
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mots

“Lisa Page’s Interview Contains Two Big Lies” “Giving her first public interview interview, Lisa Page sat down with the Daily Beast’s Molly Jong Fast, one of Twitter’s most active (alleged) trust fund babies. Molly has taken a break from using her platform as an alleged journalist to mock conservative brain cancer victims to move onto more pressing issues, like helping Page with damage control. Among the key things we learn in the Daily Beast interview are the following: Page is speaking up because Donald Trump made fun of her: I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly,… Read more »

Caltrop
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Caltrop

The only change has been the tyrants in charge –

The Great Deception behind voting Lib/Lab/Greens

https://concit.org/the-great-deception-behind-voting-lib-lab-greens/

Bkengineering
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Bkengineering

I have worked out how to return our nation to prosperity and make it great again, easy (sarc.). Vote in trustworthy members of federal, state parliaments and local governments, including Senate or Upper House where applicable. Ask them to guarantee to dump all UN treaties and related non government taxpayer funded organisations involved alongside government departments which must be rationalised, only essential people employed. Get candidates to sign a pledge of loyalty to Australia and the people. Repeal all legislation based on UN treaties. Get rid of the excess red and green tape. Commence a major national building programme beginning… Read more »

Radar
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Radar

(Mensa is a national organization for people who have an IQ of 140 or higher.) Several of the Mensa members went out for lunch at a local café. When they sat down, one of them discovered that the salt shaker contained pepper & the pepper shaker was full of salt. How could they swap the contents of the two bottles without spilling any & using only the implements at hand? Clearly this was a job for Mensa minds. The group debated the problem, presented ideas & finally came up with a brilliant solution involving a napkin, a straw & an… Read more »

Verity
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Verity

Ms Giuffre, 36, alleges she was trafficked as a sex slave by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and made to have sex with Prince Andrew three times in 2001 and 2002, in the US, London and the Caribbean, when she was 17 years old.

Why has nobody asked what sort of parents let their 17 year old daughter go travelling o/s without permission?

geordish
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geordish

I see that the media are having a sly dig at Tony Abbott for visiting George Pell in gaol but I don’t recall any surge in reporting when a who’s who of State Labor formed a conga line of visitors to the behind bars birthday party for Phong Ngo after his conviction for the murder of John Newman .. As usual, it’s about the person not the issue!

Bkengineering
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Bkengineering

To understand the future of wind turbines and solar farms, how the founding investors can get out before time to outlay money to replace the equipment, after profiteering via higher and higher electricity price pushing and subsidies added on top of tax deductions on profit before tax, read this story;

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/03/13/born-lucky-stars-align-perfectly-for-pms-son-with-mammoth-bet-on-wind-power-outfit-infigen/

Angus
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Angus

Do you know what’s nice, hot butted toast with mango chutney.

Angus
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Angus

I won’t be buying Turnbull’s book, the pages will be to rough on my freckle.