1. 6 RAR was raised in Brisbane at the Enoggera Barracks on 6 June 1965 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel C.M. Townsend. The Battalion was formed by dividing 2 RAR (Pentropic) into two Tropical Establishment (TE) Battalions. This is the first RO produced. Page 1, Page 2
2. The Battalion initially comprised a nucleus command structure of Officers and NCO, two rifle companies and some specialists. The Battalion was brought up to full strength when a large draft of soldiers from the first National Service intake marched-in in September 1965.
After the first 6 months a 'State of the Battalion' was given
Vietnam 1966 - 1967
3. Following an intensive period of collective training for war, the Battalion flew by Qantas 707 aircraft from Amberley for South Vietnam in May 1966. The Battalion arrived in time to celebrate its first birthday at Vung Tau before moving forward to join 5 RAR at Nui Dat in Phouc Tuy Province and commencing operational service as part of 1 ATF.
4. During the period June to August 1966, 6 RAR conducted two major operations. Operation ENOGGERA was the search and clearance of the previously unsettled village of Long Phouc, and Operation HOBART was a five-day search and destroy mission. The two operations accounted for 36 enemy casualties and the destruction of several camp installations and caches.
5. Operation HOBART also saw the Battalion come in contact with the enemy provincial Mobile Battalion D445 which was subsequently met and defeated at Long Tan. Long Tan 18 Aug
6. 18 August 1966 – The Battle of Long Tan.
A mortar and recoilless rifle attack on the Task Force area on the night of 16/17 August 1966 triggered a series of events that culminated in the Battle of Long Tan and Operation SMITHFIELD.
7. Early morning of 17 August, B Company was dispatched to locate enemy base-plate positions and to follow up enemy withdrawal routes. Operation VENDETTA commenced as D Company took over from B Company on 18 August and shortly thereafter made contact with an enemy force. The contact quickly escalated into a full battle as the enemy heavily committed more and more of the 275 Main Force Regiment. Soon D Company was under sustained attack on three flanks.
8. Supported only by Task Force artillery because of torrential rain and a blanket of mist, D Company held its ground for three hours with grim determination and much heroism, and inflicted enormous casualties on a tenacious and determined enemy.
9. The remainder of the Battalion deployed to aid the beleaguered Delta Company.
A Company and CO 6 RAR deployed in the APC of 3 Troop, 1 APC Squadron and arrived on the battlefield just on dusk and in time to interdict a large enemy force in the process of surrounding D Company, inflicting further enemy casualties and forcing him to withdraw.
10. A United States Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to D Company by the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. 18 August is now solemnly commemorated each year as Long Tan Day, in memory of the eighteen soldiers who gave their lives during this significant and iconic battle of the Vietnam War.
11. Between August 1966 and its departure to Australia in June 1967, 6 RAR took part in seventeen additional Battalion operations and supported a number of 5 RAR operations. These operations along with the routine patrolling around the Task Force area gradually wrestled control of the province away from the Viet Cong.
12. During this first tour of Vietnam, 37 members of the Battalion were killed and 23 members of the Battalion received individual gallantry awards.
AWM Official Vietnam History Books Volumes 1 and 2 give the following awards to 6RAR 1966-67:
|DSO||LTCOL||CM Townsend||Commanding Officer|
|MC||MAJ||HA Smith*||D Coy|
|DCM||WO 2||Jack Kirby||D Coy|
J P O'Halloran
|QC||Pte||PC Smith||A Coy|
* Volume 3 notes that H Smith was upgraded to SG and Sabben and Kendall were upgraded to MGs in 2008, the 1991 Contemporary System equivalents of the DSO and MCs first recommended but downgraded in Oct 66 when the DSO was given to Brig Jackson by General Mackay.
Townsville 1967 – 1969
13. The Battalion celebrated its second birthday at sea aboard HMAS SYDNEY during the return voyage to Australia. On arrival in Townsville the Battalion occupied Long Tan Lines at Lavarack Barracks and on 8 January 1968 Lieutenant Colonel D.M. Butler assumed command of the Battalion.
14. On 10 May 1968, His Excellency, the Governor General of Australia, The Right Honourable Lord Casey, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, K St J, presented 6 RAR with the inaugural set of Queens and Regimental Colours.
15. The Presidential Unit Citation awarded to Delta Company for the Battle of Long Tan was presented on 18 August 1968 to the Officer Commanding Delta Company Major I T Stewart, by the then Prime Minister of Australia, The Right Honourable J.G. Gorton MP, at Long Tan Lines, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville.
16. Throughout 1968, the Battalion continued to conduct intensive training in preparation for another tour of duty in South Vietnam.
Vietnam 1969 – 1970
17. In May 1969, 6 RAR embarked on HMAS Sydney for its second tour of duty in South Vietnam and to relieve 4 RAR. On 19 May 1969, the Battalion was renamed 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion that reflected the inclusion of a New Zealand component of two Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) rifle companies, two sections of mortars and two assault pioneer sections.
18. On 30 May 1969, the Battalion commenced its first operation that was subsequently one of the most productive of the tour. Operation LAVARACK commenced with the establishment of a fire-support and patrol base to the north of Nui Dat. Each company then commenced reconnaissance in force of separate operational areas. By the time the operation concluded on 1 July 1969 there had been 85 contacts that cost the enemy 102 dead and at least 22 wounded. The Battalion casualties were three dead and 29 wounded.
19. The third anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan was commemorated by a memorial service conducted on the original battle ground during which a large white cross was erected.
20. During the remainder of the tour, an additional 15 Battalion level operations were conducted. In a reflection of the increasing control that the Australians exerted over the province, 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) was called on several times to assist in civil community projects and in the training of local government forces. Positive signs of the disintegration of the enemy's command and supply system were identified and by the end of the tour that shaped the enemy to operate in small groups that struggled to maintain their existence.
21. During the second tour of Vietnam, the Battalion inflicted 260 enemy dead, 64 enemy wounded and captured 54 enemy. The Battalion also captured 480 assorted weapons and 13 tons of rice. The Battalion suffered 24 killed and 148 wounded. Twenty eight members received individual gallantry awards.
LG Williams (RNZIR)
TH Tuhiwai (RNZIR)
T Rangi (RZNIR)
Webmaster's note: The above list is incomplete. Those who may have additional information are invited to submit same to firstname.lastname@example.org
Townsville 1970 – 1971
22. Between April and May 1970, 6 RAR returned to Australia and Townsville and occupied Samichon Lines.
23. On 1 June 1970 Lieutenant Colonel D.A. Drabsch assumed command of the Battalion.
24. The Battalion then commenced training for its forthcoming tour of duty in Singapore. The Battalion Colours were trooped on 18 August 1970 to mark the fourth anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and on 4 June 1971 6 RAR was granted the Freedom of the City of Townsville.
Singapore 1971 – 1973
25. By the end of August 1971, 6 RAR established itself in Selerang Barracks, Singapore. 6 RAR joined the 1 RNZIR and 1st Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers (replaced by the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders in 1973) in the 28 ANZUK Brigade based at Kangaw Barracks, Sembawang Garrison (ex-HMS Simbang).
26. In December 1972, Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Healy assumed command of the Battalion.
27. Until its departure, the Battalion was involved in a number of tri-national exercises up to Brigade level. All of these exercises were conducted in Johore State.
28. A change in Australian Federal Government, resulted in the decision to withdraw the Battalion Group from Singapore to Enoggera Barracks, Brisbane between December 1973 and January 1974.
Enoggera 1974 – 2000
29. Upon the return to Brisbane, 6 RAR was almost immediately committed to aiding the Brisbane community during and after the Australia Day Floods.
30. On 29 March 1974, Lieutenant Colonel A.W. Hammett assumed command of the Battalion.
31. Throughout 1974, 6 RAR resumed collective training for conventional warfare. The Battalion continued to train at company and battalion level until March 1975 when it was deployed to Darwin to assist in the clean-up after Cyclone Tracy.
32. On 30 July 1975, Lieutenant Colonel P.A. Stokes assumed command of the Battalion.
33. On 23 January 1978, Lieutenant Colonel M.J. Harris, MC assumed command of the Battalion.
34. On 12 December 1979, Lieutenant Colonel A.I. Mattay assumed command of the Battalion.
35. Early in 1980, 6 Task Force was directed to form a parachute group based on an infantry rifle company. This role was given to D Company 6 RAR and by February 1981 the Battalion had qualified 180 parachutists and the first full-scale deployment was undertaken near Ross in Tasmania, in Exercise DISTANT BRIDGE.
36. In January 1982, Lieutenant Colonel P.J. Langford assumed command of the Battalion.
37. In 1982 6 RAR provided significant support to the Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane. One of the most significant tasks in support of the Commonwealth Games was the provision of Bn HQ Command Post and A Company as a Response Force in the event of any terrorist activity.
38. Additional support tasks conducted by the Battalion in support to the Games included driver support, ceremonial activities, shooting range butt parties and general administrative support. 6 RAR also provided the Flag Party for the Closing Ceremony of the Games.
39. At the end of the Long Tan commemorations in 1982, Mrs George Chinn, the wife of the first RSM of 6 RAR, Warrant Officer Class One George Chinn, DCM, officially opened the Battalion Museum, named in his honour.
40. The significant contribution made by 6 RAR in the development of parachute doctrine for training and operations in the Australian Army ceased in late 1983. The final D Company jump was conducted at Mount Walker on 8 November 1983, with the parachute role then passed to 3RAR.
41. In December 1983, Lieutenant Colonel A.S. D'Hage MC, assumed command of the Battalion.
42. In December 1985, Lieutenant Colonel L.J. Studley assumed command of the Battalion.
43. In January 1988, Lieutenant Colonel D.J. Mead assumed command of the Battalion. On 15 September 1988, the Battalion was presented with a replacement set of Queen’s and Regimental Colours by His Excellency, The Governor of Queensland, Sir Walter Campbell QC. The old Queen's and Regimental Colours were laid up at St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, on 13 November 1988.
44. In January 1989 6RAR became the first unit in the Australian Army to be issued with the new service rifle, the F88 Austeyr. In March 1989, the Battalion deployed to California, USA, on Exercise CALTROP FORCE, an American British Canadian and Australian Armies (ABCA) exercise designed to test interoperability. The exercise was hosted by US Army’s 7th Division (Light). This was the first time since the Army's withdrawal from Singapore that a complete Battalion had deployed outside of Australia. 6 RAR were appointed ambassadors for the City of Brisbane in Monterey, California.
45. In August 1989, 6 RAR deployed to Wyndham in the East Kimberley's to participate in Exercise Kangaroo 89 (K 89), where the Battalion's main role was to protect vital assets in and around Wyndham and protect the main approaches to Kunnunurra to the south.
46. In January 1990, Lieutenant Colonel A.J. Molan assumed command of the Battalion.
47. In April 1990, 6 RAR became the first unit in the Australian Army to be issued with the Section Light Support Weapon (LSW), the F89 Minimi and Bravo Company on return from its deployment as the Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) was formally disbanded.
48. In April 1990, 6 RAR was once again reacted to provide flood relief assistance after heavy rains in Central Queensland. A company sized group and CO Tactical Party deployed to the towns of Charleville and Cunnamulla providing manpower, stores and ration support to the devastated area. A unique ANZAC Day Dawn Service was conducted at the Charleville Airport.
49. In January 1992, Lieutenant Colonel M. Evans assumed command of the Battalion.
50. In February 1992 the Battalion was tasked to be a Motorised Battalion. Later in the same year, Ready Reserve (RRes) Scheme was introduced and the Battalion transitioned to a RRes Motorised Battalion structure. This involved the re-raising of Charlie Company to cater for the first intake of RRes soldiers in mid 1992.
51. As an RRes Motorised Battalion, the unit was structured with three part time rifle companies (Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Companies) and one full time RRes rifle company (Delta Company). BHQ, Spt and Admin Companies also comprised RRes elements.
52. In December 1993, Lieutenant Colonel G.R. Baker assumed command of the Battalion.
53. In December 1995 Lieutenant Colonel S.J. Dunn assumed command of the Battalion.
54. On the 9th of February 1997, the RRes Scheme was ceased and the Battalion was directed to trial the proposed "Army 21st Century (A 21) Motorised Battalion' structure under the Restructuring of the Army (RTA) initiatives. On 1 July 1997, the unit adopted the A 21 Motorised Battalion structure which included supporting arms (Armour, Artillery, Engineers, Signals and Intelligence) capability bricks being embedded within, and under command of the unit.
55. As an integrated A 21 Motorised Battalion, the unit was structured with one part time and one full time Motorised Rifle Company (Alpha and Delta Company respectively). Fire Support Company included Indirect Fire Platoon comprising 4 x 155mm howitzers and 120mm mortars (replicated by 2 x 105mm field guns) and Direct Fire Platoon comprised 4 x ASLAV 25 vehicles and a Weapon Locating/AMS Section. Reconnaissance and Surveillance Company included a Reconnaissance Platoon, a Surveillance Platoon, a Combat Engineer Platoon & Sniper Section. The Combat Service Support Company was simply Administration Company retitled.
56. On 13 December 1997, Lieutenant Colonel J.F. Edwards assumed command of the Battalion.
57. In December 1999, Lieutenant Colonel M.J. Moon assumed command of the Battalion.
58. With effect January 2000, Battalion immediately ceased the Motorised Battalion structure and commenced training for deployment to East Timor as a Light Infantry Battalion. The Battalion was brought up to full strength with Regular and Reserve soldiers in preparation to deploy to East Timor as the 6 RAR Battalion Group.
East Timor 2000
59. On 25 April 2000 saw the Battalion deploy on Op TANAGER and assumed duty as the Australian Battalion (AUSBATT) responsible for the security in the border region of Bobonaro from 5/7 RAR (Mech). The Rifle Companies were deployed into integral sub-unit AO and commenced an aggressive patrolling program. Throughout the deployment, 6 RAR had at least fourteen contacts with trained militia elements. The 6 RAR Battalion Group suffered the loss of CPL S. Jones (2nd Cavalry Regiment)
Pte Mohammed Abdur (Rami) Rahman, who served in B Coy 6 RAR in 2000, narrates a short video here: http://generator.acmi.net.au/library/media/long-road-independance
Enoggera 2000 – 2003
60. In December 2001, Lieutenant Colonel G.P. Babington assumed command of the Battalion.
61. In 2003, 6 RAR was again warned to deploy to East Timor and commenced a deliberate program of collective training.
East Timor 2003
62. In October 2003, 6 RAR deployed on Op CITADEL to East Timor to relieve 1 RAR. Unlike the previous deployment during the build up of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNMISET) AUSBATT structure, this deployment coincided with the final drawdown phase of the UN mission and a corresponding WESTBATT structure. The Battalion deployed in a series of sub-unit rotations under the command of a reinforced BHQ.
63. In December 2003, Lieutenant Colonel S.F. Caughey assumed command of the Battalion in East Timor.
64. After nine months staggered deployment 6 RAR redeployed to Australia in May 2004 and the military component of the UNMISET effectively ceased.
Enoggera 2004 – 2006
65. Iraq – SECDET 6 In December 2004, Alpha Company, commanded by MAJ M. Silver, deployed on Op CATALYST to Baghdad, Iraq, to conduct the duties of the Security Detachment (SECDET). The primary task of the SECDET was the protection of the Australian Ambassador to Iraq and supporting diplomatic staff. SECDET 6 were subjected to the substantial bombing at The Flats and an improvised explosive device (IED) attack against at ASLAV.
66. SECDET 6 also supported the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (JIATF) to secure the release of the kidnapped Australian national, Mr Douglas Wood.
67. Iraq – SECDET 7. In May 2005, Charlie Company, commanded by MAJ S. Tetley (and later MAJ P. O’Donnell), deployed and relieved Alpha Company. Charlie Company returned to Australia in September 2005.
68. Solomon Islands. In April 2005, 6 RAR provided an infantry platoon headquarters and a rifle section for deployment on Op ANODE in the Solomon Islands at very short notice. The infantry section was comprised of soldiers from Charlie Company, and the platoon headquarters was from Alpha Company. The soldiers were force assigned to Joint Task Force (JTF) 631 and were tasked to provide the security for Rove Prison in Honiara as well as the JTF Quick Reaction Force (QRF). These soldiers returned to Australia in August 2005.
69. Afghanistan – SOTG 1. In October 2005, 6 RAR deployed the first Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV) Detachment on operational service, in support to the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG), on Op SLIPPER in Afghanistan. The section strength deployment provided a significant capability brick in support to all SOTG offensive operations against the Taliban.
70. In December 2005, Lieutenant Colonel S. Goddard assumed command of the Battalion.
71. Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. In February 2006, Alpha Company was deployed to Melbourne on Op ACOLYTE as the Response Force in direct support to the 4 RAR Tactical Assault Group – East. Alpha Company deployed with their IMV and proved the operational utility and flexibility of the motorised infantry capability in support to a domestic event support operation (DESO).
72. Afghanistan – SOTG 2 and 3. In February and June 2006, 6 RAR deployed additional IMV Detachments in support to SOTG Rotation 2 and Rotation 3 on Op SLIPPER to Afghanistan that returned to Australia in October 2006. The service of SOTG Rotations 1 to 3 was recognised by the subsequent awarding of the Unit Citation for Gallantry (UCG) for collective gallantry and was presented by the Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery, AC, CVO, MC (Retired) at a ceremonial parade at 4 RAR on 26 October 2007. The inclusive nature of this gallantry award and the 6 RAR soldiers’ attendance at the formal parade was a most fitting recognition of their operational duty and professionalism.
73. Iraq – OBG-W 1. In May 2006, 6 RAR deployed a platoon strength IMV Detachment from Support Company, in support to the 2 RAR led deployment of the Overwatch Battle Group – West Rotation 1 (OBG-W I) to southern Iraq. The IMV Det returned to Australia in December 2006.
74. Blue Dog – Mascot Status. On 31 July 2006, the Chief of Army granted Blue Dog, official Unit Mascot status and PTE Ridgleigh Blue III was enlisted into the Australian Regular Army with the Regimental Number MA 444.
75. Afghanistan – RTF 1. In September 2006, 6 RAR deployed a platoon strength IMV Det from Support Company, in support to the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) led inaugural deployment of the Reconstruction Task Force Rotation 1 on Op SLIPPER to Afghanistan. The IMV Det supported the Engineer Task Group and Security Task Group provided by 7 RAR. The IMV Det returned to Australia in May 2007.
Timor Leste 2006
76. In September 2006, the Battalion Headquarters, Alpha Company, Charlie Company, Support Company and Administration Company formed the core component of the Timor Leste Battle Group Rotation I (TLBG 1) that deployed on Op ASTUTE to Timor Leste. TLBG I was recognised as the ANZAC BG in theatre due to the force assignment of a RNZIR Rifle Company. With effect November 2006, the Victor Company 1 RNZIR was deployed with 6 RAR that had not occurred on an operational deployment since May 1969 in Vietnam.
77. 6 RAR directly supported the Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) Operation FARSCAPE to apprehend Major Alfredo Reinado at Same in February 2006. The Battalion(-) returned to Australia over March-April 2007 after extensive security and stability operations in Dili and throughout the TLAO.
Enoggera 2007 – 2009
78. Afghanistan – SOTG 4 and 5. In May and September 2007, 6 RAR again deployed IMV Dets in support to the redeployed SOTG mission on Op SLIPPER to Afghanistan.
79. Blue Dog – Promoted. On 6 June 2007, PTE Ridgeleigh Blue III was promoted to the rank of LCPL.
80. Iraq – SECDET 12. In September 2007, Delta Company(-), commanded by MAJ M. Neich, deployed on Op CATALYST to conduct the duties of SECDET 12 in Baghdad, Iraq.
81. Afghanistan – RTF 3. In September 2007, 6 RAR again deployed a reinforced platoon strength IMV Det in support to the 3 CER led RTF 3 deployment on Op SLIPPER to Afghanistan.
82. Iraq – OBG-W 4. In November 2007, 6 RAR deployed a heavily reinforced Alpha Company commanded by MAJ M. Campbell, a reinforced platoon strength IMV Det, Sniper Cell and Logistics Det in support to the 2nd/14th LHR (QMI) led OBG-W 4 deployment on Op CATALYST to Iraq.
83. In December 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Blain CSC assumed command of the Battalion with WOI Stephen Colman as RSM however they led MTF 1 mentioned at 85 for the first half of MTF 1's deployment.
84. In January 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings assumed command of the Battalion with WO I Brett Brown as RSM and assumed command of MTF 1 in June 2010.
85. 6 RAR spent most of 2010 in Afghanistan where nearly 500 members of the Battalion formed the core of the 6 RAR Battlegroup (Mentoring Task Force 1). The Battlegroup, predominantly from 7 Brigade, but with over 40 contributing ADF units concentrated in Brisbane in September 2009 and embarked upon a demanding Mission Specific Training Regime culminating in a Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Townsville in December. The unit commenced its deployment in mid January 2010 and conducted a 6 week Relief-In-Place operation with the 1 RAR Battlegroup which was completed on 14 February. By that time, MTF 1 had adopted the following disposition in its mission to mentor and partner with the 4th Brigade, 205th (HERO) Corps, Afghan National Army in Oruzgan Province:
MTF HQ, Logistic Support Company, CT D, the Trade Training School, Engineer Sqn HQ and the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLT) for the 4th (Combat Support) Kandak, 5th (Combat Service Service Support) Kandak and BDE HQ were based at Tarin Kot.
Mentoring Team A occupied Patrol Bases Atiq and Wali in the Mirabad Valley to mentor elements of the 4th Kandak.
Mentoring Team C occupied Patrol Bases Mirwais, Mashal, Qudus and Buman in the Chora and Baluchi areas to mentor the 2nd Kandak.
MTF 1 quickly adapted to life in an Afghan winter and learnt many new skills associated with patrolling in sub-zero conditions. While the emphasis of patrolling with our ANA counterparts was dismounted, the combined arms emphasis with Engineers and RAA Joint Fire Teams meant that many of our section commanders had attachments for patrols that exceeded the size of their section. The focus of the patrolling program was twofold: firstly to take the ANA to the local population and improve their sense of security, and secondly to dominate the ground in the vicinity of the combined Afghan / Australian Patrol Bases to provide better force protection. This emphasis utilised the advantage of the ANA understanding the local population (to an extent) and the Australian planning and patrolling skills, together with our access to enabling assets such as offensive support and aviation to provide a more effective combined approach for security operations and development of the ANA. This formula would be predominant throughout the operation with some operations and patrols taking a more deliberate focus towards targeting caches within our AO containing IED components.
Over the course of the MTF 1 tour, the prevailing and pervasive threat remained the IED, although there remained a significant small arms fire threat. MTF patrols and patrol bases were involved in nearly 600 small arms fire incidents, which were often the enemy engaging combined patrols at long range as a ‘come on’ or enticement to move into their engagement areas. These incidents resulted in nearly 100 contacts where the soldiers of MTF engaged the enemy, some being less than a minute, but several lasting 2-3 hours. MTF 1 was engaged by IEDs on nearly 60 occasions, but over 120 IEDs were detected by our Engineers and rendered safe by EOD, a testament to the superior training of the Australian Sappers. This effort was however, not without cost with 5 Engineers WIA when a MT-C mounted movement struck an IED near the Nyazi crossing in March.
MTF 1 conducted a number of deliberate, combined operations with the Mentoring Team C teams working with 2nd Kandak and Combat Team D in the central and southern Baluchi operations in the spring; with the focus being on the clearance of these areas to facilitate the delivery of development projects in these areas. These operations had a major impact on the areas adjacent to Patrol Base Qudus where the population responded favourably to the combined MTF and ANA efforts.
MTF 1 suffered its first fatal battle casualties the day after the Battlegroup had commemorated the 44th Birthday of 6 RAR. On 7th June, Sappers Jacob Moerland and Darren Smith, together with Explosive Detection Dog Herbie, were killed in action from an IED explosion while returning to Patrol Base in the Mirabad Valley. On 2 July, Mentoring Team A fought a major engagement with the enemy in the Sorkh Lez area which resulted in 4 MTF soldiers WIA. On 8 July, PTE Nathan Bewes was killed in action by a remotely detonated IED while his patrol was returning to PB Mashal.
In late July and early August, the structure of MTF changed dramatically as staff were taken from the HQ to form HQ Combined Team-Uruzgan, a combined US and Australian HQ to replace the Dutch HQ Task Force-Uruzgan as they withdrew their military commitment from Afghanistan. In addition, D Coy re-roled from a Combat Team to a Mentoring Team to assume the mentorship and partnering with the 1st Kandak in the Deh Rawood area. These changes resulted in MTF 1 having over 500 members of the Battlegroup living in patrol bases forward from Tarin Kot and occupying an additional 4 patrol bases with their ANA counterparts, bringing the number of external locations from 6 to 10. The build of a new patrol base in the Musazai area of the Mirabad Valley in mid August was heavily contested by the enemy who launched several attacks as the build commenced. These attacks were repulsed by a dogged combined arms defence and aggressive patrolling.
On 20 August, a combined Mentoring Team C / 2nd Kandak operation to clear indirect fire point of origin locations NE of PB Qudus resulted in PTE Grant Kirby and PTE Tom Dale being killed in action by an IED in an overwatch position. On the same day, the build-site for PB Musazai was again heavily attacked, resulting in a prolonged engagement that lasted over three hours. The firepower of the attached Cavalry LAV and AH 64 together proved decisive and enabled a Mentoring Team A section patrol to return safely to the PB. On 24 August, a combined Mentoring Team D / 1St kandak patrol from PB Anar Joy into the Tangi Valley resulted in a prolonged engagement in which LCPL Jared MacKinney was killed in action by small arms fire. There were several more significant engagements, primarily in the East Dorafshan area during the run off election which saw the soldiers from Mentoring Team C heavily committed together with their Afghan counterparts. In the midst of this busy period, CT-B was formed through the amalgamation of the COs Tac Party, a LAV patrol and a ROCL Pl tour being extended to form an OGA security pl to provide force protection to the growing AUSAID and DFAT presence. 6 RARs tour of OP SLIPPER as MTF 1 concluded with a very successful Relief-In-Place with the 5 RAR Battlegroup, MTF 2. During this RIP, the long awaited Rotary Wing support to insert and extract soldiers from both Task Forces was instrumental in reducing the potential for casualties through excessive road movement.
86. Upon return to Brisbane, the Battalion reformed with our rear element and participated in an emotional welcome home parade marching behind riderless horses symbolising our fallen warriors. Leave commenced in early December with a decent break until 1 February 2011. Support Company and SIO-S courses were completed early in the New Year before commencing a compressed training cycle before participation in EX TALISMAN SABRE 11 in mid July. The battalion has undertaken Pl level live fire and Coy blank activities as part of EX LONG TAN in May, before Combat Team live fire activities in June as part of EX DIAMOND DOLLAR 11. This exercise was a BDE level Combined Arms Activity in which 6 RAR integrated with Artillery, Engineer, Cavalry, Tank and Aviation assets, including the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH).
In June 2011, the 6 RAR section for the Duke of Gloucester Cup placed second to 3 RAR in the overall competition by a narrow margin, with the team winning the McDonald Cup for all night activities. This outstanding result came on the heels of the Battalion winning the BDE cross country and obstacle course competitions and placing second in the shooting competition. The Queen’s Birthday 2011 Honours list honoured the following members of the 6 RAR Battlegroup in addition to seeing MTF 1 being awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for its service in Afghanistan in 2010:
- WO2 K Dolan - MG
- LCPL B Clark – MG
- MAJ J Groat – DSM
- CAPT F Harrison – DSM
- CPL R Goodsell – DSM
- MAJ J Roderick – CDS
- CPL G Francis – CDS
- MAJ G Palmer – CSM
6 RAR honoured the service and sacrifice of the Battalion and its attachments over the course of its proud history with a ceremonial parade to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan on 18th August 2011. This parade saw D Coy 1966 presented the Unit Citation for Gallantry and the presentation of the awards announced in the Queen’s Birthday list before the honour roll of the battalion from all operational tours concluded the parade.
The Austrlia Day Honours 2012 list included many more former/current members of 6 RAR MTF 1 as follows:-
- Col Jason Blain CSC -DSC
- Lt Col Mark Jennings - DSC
- WO1 Stephan Colman - OAM
- Lt James Fanning - DSM
- Lt Richard Brickacek RAN - DSM
- Sgt Sean Lanigan - MG
- Pte Paul Langer - MG
- Cpl Adam Heemskerk - Commendation for Gallantry
- Pte Shaun Parker - Commendation for Gallantry
"Our aim is to perpetuate the camaraderie that was generated amongst us when we served."
The First Commanding Officer, LTCOL Colin Townsend DSO
The First RSM,
WO I George Chinn DCM
The First VC Recipient
Cpl Dan Keighran VC
On 13th June 2011, 6 RAR MTF 1, was awarded the MERITORIOUS UNIT CITATION for "Sustained outstanding service in warlike operations on Operation Slipper, Afghanistan, between January 20 and October 30, 2010".
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The Secretary 6 RAR Association 3 BISON COURT, WARNER, QLD 45009