Commanding officer targets local talent
The Pilbara Regiment has a new commanding officer, who aims to continue to grow the army’s presence in the region through recruitment of residents.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Purves has moved to the Pilbara from Sydney, where he was involved in reorganising and modernising the army, to take over the top role at the Pilbara Regiment.
Lt-Col Purves said the army was always his calling.
But he didn’t join until his mid-20s because of study, work and travel commitments.
“I was given the opportunity to command this regiment by the chief of the army and it’s an opportunity I was never going to turn down,” he said.
“For me it wasn’t something I had to umm and ah and mull over; it was something I agreed to straight away.
“I think this organisation was already very well run by the previous command team so my aim is just to continue to develop and improve the regiment.”
The Pilbara Regiment uses sixman patrols operating out of two vehicles to provide persistent surveillance in the region.
Lt-Col. Purves said patrols could grow to several vehicle patrols covering a wide area in both static surveillance and mobile presence patrols.
He said locals often made the best recruits because they had a good idea of the lay of the land.
“If there are people out there who want to join the regiment and serve the country in the region to provide that persistent surveillance effort to secure Australia’s borders then we are out there looking for them,” he said.
“We deliver training in basic soldiering, patrolling, how to use vehicles, how to survive off the land, maintain yourself for a long period of time in the field, vehicle maintenance, all that sort of stuff here within the regiment.
“That’s important to us because there’s no point sending someone to the east coast to learn how to live in the field when the environment over there is completely different to the environment here.”
Pilbara Regiment Regimental Sergeant-Major Brian Riegel said he was looking forward to Anzac Day this year and expecting numbers to be up from the well-attended service last year.
Pilbara Regiment commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Purves and Regimental Sergeant-Major Brian Riegel.