Seven of the best
Volume 11, No. 56, November 16, 2006 By WO2 Wayne Ryan
Steady pace: Former RSMs-A Peter Prewett, Arthur Francis, Wally Thompson, Peter Rosemond, Lofty Wendt, Brian Boughton and RSM-A WO Kevin Woods at the Kokoda Barracks Sergeants’ Mess.
Photo by WO2 Wayne Ryan
A FEARSOME sight, one that still makes the hair on the back of your neck stand to attention; the feeling you get when confronted by all six past RSMs of the Army, in the same room, at the same time, with the current RSM-A WO Kevin Woods looking on.
The RSMs attended the graduation dinner of the 2006-0005 RSMs Course at Kokoda Barracks Sergeants’ Mess on October 18.
An impressive array of guests highlighted the significant occasion of graduation from the RSM’s Course and to acknowledge the importance of the senior soldier within the Australian Army.
The course saw 41 warrant officers graduate – one from PNG – with only 15 offered RSM appointment. It involved a five-week residential phase and nearly six months of distance learning.
The RSMs-A have over 210 years of combined dedicated, and in some cases, colourful military service to draw on, the course members took full advantage of the situation to question them throughout the night.
WO2 Spike Minett from DIntTC, and a recent graduate, said it was an honour to have all seven RSMs-A at the dinner.
“It meant a lot for these men to come here and visit us, I don’t think you will see that again for a long time.”
One course member said the sergeant majors had enough medals on their chests to build a tank. With seven OAMs, three CSC and a BEM, not to mention operational, campaign, Long Service, and a few other medals and awards many of us have never seen, it all adds up to seven men with a hell of a lot of experience to draw from.
It is interesting to note that out of the seven, more than half have been either RSM of Kokoda Barracks or held senior WO1 appointments within the barracks. This confirms that Kokoda Barracks deserves the title of home of Army’s SNCO and warrant officers.
The hair maybe silver and getting a little thinner on top, and they aren’t as fast as they use to be, but this didn’t stop them from impressing the group of future RSMs.
“It’s always good to be invited back to the Kokoda Mess,” WO Lofty Wendt (retd) said.
“I’ve have a lot of good memories from here and it’s good to see these old bludgers again. I just feel sorry for these young guys tonight, putting up with this old mob.”
As the years roll on, and our ranks change hands with future leaders; we should never forget the commitment and fortitude that these seven men have given the Army, and continue to do so.
We, as soldiers should remember the role of RSM–A is to be the voice of the ordinary soldier to the Chief of Army.
To reach this position in one’s military career, is to be the best of the best, and when you have the opportunity to talk to one of these men for guidance, you take it, because one day; like all of us, they will not be answering roll call.