View Full Version : Not a great career move

Rising Sun*
08-30-2010, 07:34 AM
Prospects of advancing from lance corporal to corporal: poor.

Prospects of going from lance corporal to private: excellent.

AN ARMY sniper has been forced to apologise to the Chief of Army after circulating a letter accusing him of putting troops' lives at risk.

The sniper accused Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie of endorsing a particular camouflage uniform, regardless of trials designed to select a new pattern. The sniper participated in the trials in an expert capacity.

''We were informed early in the trialling process by a civilian representative of the Chief of Army (CA) that it was the CA's intent to adopt Disruptive Pattern Mid-point Uniform (DPMU) pattern regardless of the outcome of the trial,'' he said in the letter, seen by the Herald.

''This obviously made the trial somewhat invalid given as how even if other patterns had outperformed DPMU they would never have been considered in the first place.''

The sniper, a lance-corporal the Herald has chosen not to name, said the favoured uniform stood out ''like a neon bullseye'' through night vision equipment.

''In the complex war-fighting environment that many Australian troops find themselves in, it seems irresponsible,'' he said.

The army is developing the DPMU to be a mid-point between the two types issued at present, which are designed for desert and jungle fighting. The army believes neither is appropriate for the mountainous terrain in Afghanistan.

Some of the trial uniforms have already been sent to Afghanistan for evaluation, but the sniper said the experts who took part in the trial said the Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform already in use was an ''ideal choice'' for Afghanistan.

This uniform performed better in almost every environment than the DPMU, save for urban areas, he said.

The letter brought a stinging rebuke from Regimental Sergeant Major Stephen Ward, who distributed an email lambasting the sniper.

''For any of you to think that the Chief of Army would place soldiers in a situation where your safety was deliberately compromised due to a uniform issue shows that you do not understand the extent of the work and effort that he puts into looking to your well-being and safety,'' Sergeant Major Ward said.

He said the trials were carried out to determine the best colour combinations and whether the DPMU would be accepted by Australian troops.

However, Sergeant Major Ward did not directly dispute the sniper's claim that a civilian representative of the Chief of Army had said Lieutenant-General Gillespie would select the DPMU regardless of trial results. Lieutenant-General Gillespie told a Senate estimates hearing in June: ''We have developed a prototype. We are about to undergo some trials on that and those trials look promising.''

The Herald has also seen a letter from the sniper to Lieutenant-General Gillespie in which he apologises for being ''derogatory'' and says some of his assertions were based on hearsay.

However, the sniper says he will resubmit his letter of complaint with all ''third-party comments, hearsay, or unreliable references'' removed.

A Herald investigation this year revealed that troops were being issued with defective equipment because the Defence Materiel Organisation was riddled with questionable tender practices and incompetence.

Lieutenant-General Gillespie and the head of the Defence Materiel Organisation, Stephen Gumley, said the stories contained ''inferences'' that were inaccurate. Lieutenant-General Gillespie said the DMO ''provides safe, fit for purpose, high-quality clothing and personal equipment''. http://www.smh.com.au/national/sniper-forced-to-apologise-after-questioning-uniform-20100829-13xnq.html

As usual, the journos don't grasp military details. Ward is RSM of the Army, the most senior non-commisioned post in it, not just an RSM.