Don’t rank all soldiers the same
In the past week our defence community has hit the headlines due to separate racial slurs and drug scandals.
These are both incredibly serious issues and have become national news.
The community has rightly expressed outrage and the Australian Defence Force has ordered investigations on both incidents.
Soldiers I’ve spoken to about the issues are embarrassed and hope the actions of a small group don’t cause them all to be tarred with the same brush.
When defence personnel come to Townsville, many remark how pleasantly surprised they are by the warm reception they receive.
They feel comfortable ducking down the shops in their cams and no longer feel the need to change into civvies before they pick their kids up from school.
The ADF undoubtedly needs to address the allegations, but as a community we don’t need to take matters into our own hands and shun anyone wearing camouflage.
Last week, the Bully officially launched the new lift-out we have been running for several weeks now. It is called Our Defenders.
While as a newspaper, we will continue to put the spotlight on negative defence force issues in order to demand they be addressed, Our Defenders is about celebrating the achievements of our garrison city.
Last Friday, Our Defenders ran a touching tribute to World War II, Malaya Emergency and Korean War veteran Vic Svenson, who dedicated more than 30 years of his life to our country.
It was the story of a hero who was already helping defend Australia at the tender age of 16.
He was a teenager who enlisted in World War II just as soon as he came of age, knowing he may never return.
He was a soldier who never stopped fighting, even after throwing his 52nd grenade with his mates lying dead all around him, cementing his status as one of the true warriors in the Battle of Kapyong.
While Vic won’t be with us this Anzac Day, there is a new generation of young heroes ready to take his place.
The same issue of Our Defenders also told the story of 1RAR’s Private Marley Bird who received a Commendation for Gallantry after risking his life to run out into the open under heavy fire in Afghanistan and shoot his grenade launcher so his platoon could escape from a flanked embankment.
Townsville residents refuse to tolerate bad behaviour from soldiers, and rightfully so.
But before you make any judgments, give Our Defenders a read and you might be pleasantly surprised.