A concerned father speaks about the Defence Force

I received a letter recently from a concerned father of an Australian Army soldier.

This father has previously served. This father understands what operational service entails. And this father also knows a politically-correct Defence Force will not be able to protect Australia and will place his son in danger as well.

Most importantly, this father is well aware that political-correctness means that he cannot even speak openly, lest his son suffers the consequences.

Hence there are no identifying names on this letter.

This is the letter:

Dear Bernard,

I am writing to you to discuss my son’s enlistment and raise my concerns about the Australian Army and its apparent lack of forward planning.

I am a former Defence member and I was quite taken back by the suggested quota system being broadcast through Defence recruiting. I served in both infantry and armoured corps.

My son worked hard to gain entry into the Defence Force. Sadly, despite wanting to be an infantry soldier, he was denied the opportunity, being told he would have to wait two years.

My son allocated his second preference as armoured corps and was also advised there is a two year wait on that position as well.

It became apparent that the process of enlistment was skewed in such a way that infantry and armoured positions were only made priority if a person was of the female gender. This was reinforced by the posters in the recruiting centre calling for infantry as priority positions now, ladies apply within.

I encouraged my son to continue with the process of enlistment and seek a transfer to his desired corps once within the system. 

I still have connections within Defence. Senior NCOs that I associate with have suggested that political correctness has gone mad in the Army and it is impeding on training. 

This statement was backed by my son who said during a call home, “Dad the discipline is not like when you joined, the discipline you gave us at home was tougher than what I am experiencing here, this is so easy.”

It was stated to me by senior NCOs that there are 2500 young men on a waiting list for infantry and if a female decided to corps allocate to infantry at the recruiting centre, then they are immediately moved to the front of the line.

Recruiting in itself was quite bizarre and while I understand Defence has taken the attitude of equality, fitness standards appear not to have caught up seeing females having to achieve much less a standard than males.

I observed the recruiting fitness assessment to gain entry into the Army, which consisted of the beep test, sits ups and push ups and watched as some female recruits allocated to infantry could not achieve the minimum standard of push ups or sit ups just to gain entry into the system.

Feedback from Defence sources suggest that females allocated to infantry cannot carry the required amounts for a combat soldier and males are having to carry the load for them.

Training at recruit and IET levels has become a “let’s give it a try and you’ll pass system”, instead of setting a high standard that recruits have to meet and meeting the required standard that the Australian Defence Force is so proudly renowned for.

We have youth unemployment at record highs and yet the federal parliament won’t sanction opening another battalion or armoured regiment to accommodate fighting age individuals, regardless of gender, into infantry or armoured corps. I wonder how many of the 2500 are waiting on Centrelink benefits.

While I support a level of equity, I don’t support the notion that a role in infantry is for everyone and should not be made available on the basis of gender equality. The criteria should be suitability and assessed accordingly.

There appears to be some sought of notion from public servants and politicians that a position in the Army is like applying for a public service job and it should be about quotas.

The fact is the Army, or more to the point an infantry soldier, is like no other job. It is the tip of the spear when it comes to despatching an enemy or seizing and holding ground. The very role of the infantry is described as:

The role of infantry is to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and hold ground and to repel attack by day or night, regardless of season, weather or terrain.

Being an infantry soldier doesn’t allow for the luxuries that others may take for granted and quite frankly it is a dirty, tough job, which sees the toughest individuals break.

I won’t even venture into the area of prisoners of war and how cruel certain societies are towards Western women. The entire country is ablaze at the moment about domestic violence and how females are the victims to abuses so detrimental that there needs to be funding allocated and education systems in play.

What is more detrimental, domestic violence or the violence one perpetrates by driving a bayonet into the upper torso of an enemy at close range on the battle field? Is this what we want our daughters involved in, let alone some of our sons?

The two-way firing range is brutally violent and the federal government can’t bleat on about domestic violence and then throw our daughters to the most violent means of abuse, which is to be an infantry soldier in modern warfare.

Frankly I am quite disillusioned at the path our leaders are taking us and shudder to think what our fighting capability will be in years to come. I won’t even start to rant about cross-dressing senior officers in positions of making policies for Defence, but needless to say, s*** is happening and it isn’t for the betterment or fighting capability of our Army.

A concerned father

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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