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Presidents Pontifications

ACT BRANCH -AUSTRALIAN SAS ASSOCIATION

PRESIDENT’S PONTIFICATIONS

FEBRUARY 2024


Welcome and Best wishes for 2024 from the Committee and I. We offer our sincere best wishes to you, your family and loved ones and welcome outreach, participation, and contributions to celebrate, communicate and connect within and across our growing and increasingly active membership Who We Are.



Re-elected at the Nov23 AGM, the ACT Branch Executive Committee is;

President – Dan Fortune

Vice President – Paul Burns

Secretary – Steve Vujuvic

Treasurer – Greg “Harry” Butler

Social Member – Peter Short.


Key Focus and Themes and focus for 2024 - Focus = Best days ahead = “always a little further”


Theme 1

Celebrate our Special shared Service, the ‘ethos and Values’ (=martial competence, valour +selfless humility) that we served, upheld and now honor.
  1. SASR 60th Anniversary - September 24. Wonderful opportunity to focus on and celebrate the remarkable and superb operational record of SASR. Much more to follow IDC from the National Executive and SOCOMD/ SASR via formal Army platforms.

  • The ‘celebration’ theme was discussed, and widely supported, as being aligned with as well as reinforcing/complementary to the planned Unit narrative and authorized public profile and activities program for the 60th Birthday celebrations.

  • Shared SAS / SOF service and the rich experiences and bonds this has created were exemplified with a very strong early turnout at the ACT ASAS first monthly Happy Hour of the year (9 Feb Kurrajong Hotel). Most encouraging and instructive was presence of the current serving senior leadership in SOHQ, including a no notice drive by from the designate Commander SASR WEF 2025.

  • The Battle for the Golden Road 40th Anniversary Reunion - December 24. The 1/84 SAS SC was subject an award winning (WA local Filmmaker-Guy Baskin Producer) documentary, titled ‘The Battle for the Golden Road.

  • This archive footage and the commentary on the conduct of the activity provide a unique insight into SASR history. Planning has commenced for a reunion activity to coincide with the SASR Beret presentation currently planned for December 24 at Campbell Barracks.

  • The Documentary provides a unique Video platform and Human-interest Storyline(s) opportunities.

More to follow on the ’re-boot’ and serialize podcasting to re-image and offer a then and now perspective on the selection course and the subsequent ‘Pilgrim’s journey for a couple of selected members of the 1984 reinforcement cycle – (Starting with the current serving LTCOL in SOHQ Dave Bachi – AKA ‘Trooper Bachi’ awarded his beret by the then Commanding Officer LTCOL Chris Roberts on the SASR parade ground - captured as the concluding scene in the original documentary. Dave ages (cosmetically) fairly well, many others... not so well


Theme 2

Communicate.. (Critical thinking..) in two key Lines of Effort/Operations/Workstreams: Line of Effort One (LOE1) - Illuminate Celebrations (Theme1) via creative campaign of refined factual messages and positive storytelling.
  • Activities such as the plan for 1984 Battle for Golden Road 40th Reunion events social media promotions, cross platform promotion as well as other contemporary events or case studies eg; SAS Veterans fundraisers, Kokoda Track walks etc.

  • Primary outreach bearer and communications platform = Australian SAS Association new website Home | Australian SAS Association and the embedded

  • Australian Capital Territory | Australian SAS Association Homepage.

  • There will be increasingly more content and active management of the website, leveraging the now dedicated backbone IT support services. This is a huge effort in getting set up - well done Chairman Marty.

  • I am slowly building IT competence and webpage content management literacy. Accordingly I plan to increase in re-fresh rate and frequency of correspondence and content posting as well as harmonizing and increasing cross-platform distribution and integration (eg Facebook + Linkedin).

  • An exemplar that is on the immediate horizon is the third iteration of the Taipan Long Range Recon Ride #TLR3 (AKA Jim Truscott Memorial Ride #JTMR).

  • This Mate Wellness event is a superb and very unique ‘outback experience’ transiting on (e-bike) across the glorious vista of the Mulga scrub country West of the Hay plain where Burke and Wills travelled very early on their fateful expedition. Our route takes us past the some of the original camp sites and wells used by the bullocks and camels.

  • 12-16 April 24 – Balranald to Mungo Lake return Loop 260km = 4xdays + 3 nights on task=FIG JAM Storytelling and reflections on shared service with Jim - and the SAS Regimental ethos and values he personified.

  • We have a team of Eight confirmed starters, likely growing to double figures. Some of us will be veterans of this event from its from inception (Taipan, RIP - Memorial Plaque at Jims Tree nailed April 2022).

  • Some will be first timers. This year we will enjoy the capacity uplift from having a dedicated support vehicle This widens our options for rider participation and logistics or equipment carriage, as well as ‘non ride roles/change out options /actions on etc.

  • We welcome all who knew and or served with Taipan, Further detail SEPCOR and on the ACT ASAS Website IDC. Save the date window and plan bike+ kit preparation+travel.

  • Any RFIs - outreach to ACT ASAS Treasurer Harry B, (TLR3 Chief Navigator + ‘Patrol 2IC’) for broad conceptual overview.

  • I will brief MANDATORY confirmatory Orders and EXECUTO at Balranald, (in loc Harrys Shed) FRIDAY121800ESTAPR24. Line of Effort Two (LOE2) - Expose the deception, negligence, and hypocrisy of National leadership appointments.

  • Advocate for restorative justice and retrospective accountability for the ‘administrative’ actions and decisions taken to disgrace and disrespect all SOTG veterans and the unacceptable insult and denigration of SOTG operational record.

  • Advocate for restorative justice and retrospective accountability for the undeserved (ongoing) trauma and harm caused to veterans and their families.

  • The National ASASA counterfactual truth-telling is offered here our submission to The Twenty-Year Review into of the Office of the IGADF . The Twenty-Year Review into of the Office of the IGADF (sasassociation.org.au) I commend it to you. Our continued and ongoing advocacy will expose and illuminate:

    • significant and serious apprehended and confirmation biases (and others) as well and compromising undisclosed personal and professional conflicts.

    • Significant unmitigated risks related to procedural errors in decision making and decision maker(s) competence and governance.

    • significant and serious flaws regarding the competence of staff officer/legal officers and decision maker(s) - eg zero combat or Special Forces lived experience.

    • significant and serious concerns regarding the inappropriate and unacceptable behavior by IGADF personnel and or ‘Chain of Command’ military staff during the conduct of IGADF interviews.

  • Accordingly, I will advocate (now directly and robustly via my appointment to the formal advisory body to the ACT Minister for Veterans and Veteran families), by outlining and reflecting on my personal experience regarding the contempt, disrespect, and belligerent disgraceful manner in which I was treated when directed to appear as a witness.

  • This despite my senior rank (then still serving SERCAT3 Brigadier), and despite my decorated and multiple long duration Command appointments in Afghanistan and despite never, ever, still (and as a matter of public record) never been subject to any direct (or indirect) pejorative findings from the ’exhaustive’ IGADF inquiry from Afghanistan.


Theme 3

Connect+ build and leverage our ‘Special’ networks across the SOF community

We continue to uphold the legacy and honor the service ‘CAPT Tim Stevens (RIP: 12 Jun 96). A ACT ASASA representative attends the formal RMC-D Graduation Prizes and Awards Ceremony.

  • Most recently this was conducted in the RMC Corps of Staff Cadets Mess on 11 December 2023.

  • Tim was a Troop Commander in SASR when killed on operational CT service.

  • The ’Prize’ is awarded to ex serving soldier from every full-time graduating class of Staff Cadets “who exemplifies and demonstrates the highest standards in Military ethic+ ADF values.”

  • I represented the ASASA and was privileged to attend and support Tim’s Sister who was our ‘Guest of Honor.’

  • Upcoming joint ACT ASAS+ACdoA Happy Hour - Canberra Services Club Barton Thursday 14 Mar 24

  • Please note detailed timings TBC, with more detail provided closer to event from Social member.

  • Intent is to revisit and review the most recent ACA proposal to consider whether to 'commit to the Service Club’ as a habitual routine location for ACT SOF family community gathering Happy hours, AGM etc.

  • The services club management have offered a very generous membership fee arrangement as well as the opportunity to develop a sense of our own LUP / RV including memorabilia and or sponsorship promotional material, and or visible placarding to support Veteran owned sovereign Defence Industry SMEs eg Wandering Warriors Omni etc.

  • ANZAC Dinner Commonwealth Club, Canberra Friday 19 April 24

  • The Flagship annual event for ACT Branch in superb venue. Increasing popular and becoming a sought-after invitation given limitation on numbers. Be quick when bookings open.

  • Very pleased to announce the Keynote speaker this year will be the recently appointed Repatriation Commissioner, Brigadier Kahil Fegan DSC, AM.


Signed electronically = cleared for release

Dan Fortune

President ACT Branch, ASASA

29 February 2024

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