1 1 NINE FOXTROT NEWS: NUMBER: 04 / 02 ROWLEY MEDLIN Mobile: (27) Residential Address: House No 45 Riverside Manor Retirement Village. Sunninghill. Postal: PO Box Centurion 0046 APRIL 10 th 2011 Mailto: WEBSITE: or alternatively: PLEASE NOTE: That the opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessary the opinion of the originator of the Nine Foxtrot Newsletter. Names of the persons submitting the article(s) are shown. COPYRIGHT & FAIR USE NOTICE: This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been preauthorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the enjoyment and information of military veterans worldwide. If you want to use any copyrighted material that may exist on this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner through the originator of Nine Foxtrot News. The primary objective of the newsletter is to maintain the true comradeship of men and women who have served within an armed force and other individuals that have an interest in the veteran soldier. This newsletter, although originating from the Republic of South Africa is not in any way an official mouthpiece of the South African National Defence Force. It is the voice of the military veteran soldiers and his or her friends. The secondary objective is to promote interaction between soldiers and friends of soldiers from different countries, arms of service and regiments/units. PLEASE NOTE: NEW NINE FOXTROT NEWSLETTER S BANK DETAILS: NAME: ROWLEY MEDILN BANK: ABSA BRANCH: WEIRDA PARK. ACCOUNT NUMBER: A VERY BIG THANK YOU, TO THOSE THAT HAVE, AND STILL ARE, SPONSORING NINE FOXTROT NEWS. I truly value, especially in the current times, your contributions. All contributions are used to improve the product and or distribution of Nine Foxtrot News. Your contributions really help. FROM ROWLEY S KEYBOARD: I am sure you will remember the intake all of us either were part of as a roof or as an officer or instructor meeting the new rovers. Remember the concentration areas where Mommies and Papies could bring their sons and tearfully say goodbye to little Johnny. Their was appoint or line over which the Mommies and Papies were no longer allowed. Little Johnny stepped over that line and was on his way of becoming a man. He would be told in a nice way to stand in a line, sometimes given a mug of horrible tea and a tooth-breaker dog biscuit. Then with Mommies and Papies being told to say that tear-jerking farewell, little Johnny was left in the tender care of the SADF and sons represented by Corpraal en Lytnant
2 2 to form up in three straight stripes and march to the train or the Bedford Ag dit was Lekker. Today, one of our readers phoned me asking me if I could tell him where the Bosman Street Bus rank was. At first I was at a loss. I asked what the hell he wanted to know for and he said that a friend of his son had joined the SA Air Force and had to report to the Bosman Street bus rank. Yes, I did remember it is outside the old 3 rd class railway platform of the Pretoria Station. Gone are the days where a new troop was met and made welcome even if it is with only a cup of tea and a dog biscuit. Orders are shouted in languages the whitie does not understand but eventually he finds himself crammed into a bus on the way to Walmanathal. The only white smarty in the box filled with black smarties Ag dis nie lekker nie. What did they say? Time for a change. Rowley 9F MAIL FROM ROWLEY S INBOX: FROM KOOS VERVEY (ANGOLA): Good day Rowley, being passionate about sport i must relate my dream after the disaster game. In short Bakkies Botha was brought in to bowl in the last over. I woke up laughing hysterical but that shows how this pathetic performance has penetrated my brain. For all the readers who spent some time at the Cunene: it is the fullest in my 22 years and we have still not seen the end. A lot of roads were totally washed away in SW Angola. We are hanging on but have been cut off more than once already. Cunene blessings, Koos. Well maybe he would be a beter captain. He will sommer donner the okes and if that doesn t help, he will donner the other team s okes. FROM PAUL ELS: Ek is besig om die finale soektog te doen in al die Kommando/Paratus ens vir die Kollege boek. Wat ek baie van sien is fotos van trofees, bekers en skulde (weet nie of die genoem word skulde. Net ongelooflik hoe mooi van hulle is in die tydskrifte. Dan wonder mens wat het van party geword. Onder die skool kadets is daar pragtige ietems. Moes baie gekos het. FROM MARK BOUILLON: moths v canopy Saturday 9 April at 14h00 we are having a friendly sporting event against the moths. the events are pool, darts, boule,we need at least two men and two women teams.the afternoon will be completed with a prizegiving and chicken up the chimney meal at R50 pp. Please send me confirmation asap if you would like to be part of this day. FROM MANIE van RENSBURG: Hi Rowley Regarding the request from Wayne Lewis in the latest 9F: There is a lot of Fafa School videoclips available on Youtube. He can also join the Inf School groups on Facebook if he has not yet. Regards and keep up the good work. Manie van Rensburg
3 3 FROM PAUL ELS: 1 Militêr bly n wit olifant Erika Gibson Die weermag se vlagskip -hospitaal is ondanks verbeterings van R420 miljoen steeds grootliks n wit olifant. Boonop het die kontrakteurs die werk aan 1 Militêre Hospitaal in Pretoria klaargemaak sonder dat verskeie gebreke in die bouwerk reggestel is. Dit beteken dat die hospitaal steeds nie aan die wetlike vereistes vir brandregulasies, beroepsgesondheid en -veiligheid, farmaseutiese en mediese regulasies vir n hospitaal voldoen nie. Vrese bestaan reeds dat die departement van arbeid, wie se inspekteurs voor die verbetering verskeie kere gedreig het om die hospitaal te sluit, wéér kan ingryp, het ingeligtes na aan die projek aan Beeld gesê. Boonop is geen instandhoudingskontrak vir die hospitaal van 1 April af van krag nie. Dit beteken dat geen kontrakteur aangestel gaan word om noodprobleme reg te stel nie. Volgens ingeligtes kan geen hospitaal sonder so n kontrak funksioneer nie omdat dit mense se lewe in gevaar stel. Die weermag het verlede week navrae na die departement van openbare werke, wat die kontrakteurs aangestel het, verwys. Dié departement het nie op volledige, skriftelike navrae gereageer nie. Me. Lindiwe Sisulu, minister van verdediging, het verlede jaar in die parlement erken dat die hospitaal in die knyp is wat toerusting en personeel betref. Ook die Militêre Dienskommissie het bevind dit voldoen nie meer aan die vereistes vir n tersiêre gesondheidsorgeenheid nie. Die wasbakke en dissekteertafels in die lykshuis is byvoorbeeld vir die verbetering verwyder, maar nooit teruggesit nie. Die lykshuis kan dus nie gebruik word nie. Die lugversorgingstelsel van die lykshuis is ook nie gekoppel nie. Die splinternuwe waakeenheid het geen rekenaarstelsel waarmee daar tred gehou kan word van toerusting en pasiënte se behandeling nie. Dié rekenaarstelsels hou ook die toerusting-instandhouding en -herstel op datum. Behoorlike toegangsbeheerstelsels vir veiligheidsdoeleindes en aanwysers in die hospitaal is nie aangebring nie. Die nodige stelsels om bestraling en n chemiese reaksie in die x-straal-afdeling en laboratorium te voorkom, is nie aangebring nie. Die stelsel waardeur pasiënte verpleegsters moet kan roep, werk nie. Die hoofbrandtrap is tydens die verbetering so beskadig dat dit nie gebruik kan word nie. Van die branduitgange is ook toegesluit. Verskeie pogings is blykbaar aangewend om die gebreke reggestel te kry, maar dit het misluk. Sisulu het onlangs aangekondig dat die weermag voorts sy gebou-instandhouding self gaan behartig en dit nie meer aan openbare werke gaan toevertrou nie. Volgens die ingeligtes is dié aankondiging na aan die kern van 1 Militêre Hospitaal se probleem omdat die departement se verantwoordelikheid teenoor die hospitaal nie meer van 1 April van krag is nie. Die verbetering wat in 2006 begin is, sou aanvanklik R224 miljoen gekos het. Nadat die voltooiing telkens uitgestel is en nóg geld aangevra is, was die koste uiteindelik R420 miljoen.
4 4 FROM JOHN FRENCH: Always wondered why they called it 1 Mil. Now I know: there is only 1 lift that works. FROM DAAN NELL: SA PLANNED TO SELL R6 BILLION ARMS TO LIBYA Written by defenceweb Friday, 01 April :27 Last year Denel was busy finalising a deal with Libya to sell billions of rands worth of military hardware to the country, including G6-52 artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and antimaterial rifles. The Mail & Guardian obtained an internal Denel memo outlining a successful arms sales trip to Libya last year, which the newspaper says describes the negotiations as close to a done-deal. "The MOU is initiated and will be signed in due course. The trip received the blessing from both the presidencies. The Brother Leader also stressed the importance of having Africans trading within the continent," the memo reads. "The president of Libya and his South African counterpart will sign within the coming year. The memo added that the Libyans were willing to pay half the contract in advance. The value of the weapons Libya would have received amounts to R6.289 billion, City Press reports. Today Denel strongly denied that it had sold weapons to the north African nation. Denel acting group communications manager Pamela Malinda told Sapa that, no contracts and deals were concluded. She confirmed that Denel representatives had visited Libya last year to explore the opportunities for the marketing of defence products. A delegation, including Colonel Trevor Mketi, director of the department of defence s Defence Industries, and Prosper Ladisias Agbesi, CEO of Basic Commodities CEO, was invited to Libya. Denel marketing executive Thabo Skosana was one of the delegates who visited Libya on 9-12 April, the Mail & Guardian reports. However, one deal that did go ahead was with Mechem, a subsidiary of Denel, for training on de-mining equipment, City Press reports. For the time being no further arms sales will be possible as South Africa s National Conventional Arms Control Act does not allow sales to governments that violate or suppress human rights and basic freedoms. In late February the United Nations voted to impose an arms embargo on Libya. In late 2010 South Africa exported more than 100 sniper rifles and rounds of ammunition to Libya and between 2003 and 2009 the country sold R80.9 million worth of military equipment to Gaddafi. This included shotguns, military vehicles, ammunition, parachutes and night vision equipment. FROM MANIE GROVE: Those darn Israelis are at it, again!!! ISRAEL'S IDF MEDICAL CLINIC STARTS WORK IN TSUNAMI-STRICKEN MIYAGI PREFECTURE OF JAPAN CNN: "Israel is first to set up Surgical Unit in Japan" The Israeli clinic includes orthopedics, surgical and intensive care units as well as a delivery room and pharmacy. The delegation includes 50 doctors. They brought with them:
5 tons of equipment tons of humanitarian aid---10,000 coats, 6,000 gloves and 150 portable toilets With all their billions of "petro-dollars", where is the humanitarian relief from the Arab countries? You are welcome to share this with everyone you know in the world. FROM MANUEL FERREIRA: 1 Para Bn turns 50 Written by Leon Engelbrecht The South African Army's 1 Parachute Battalion (1 Para Bn) is celebrating its 50th anniversary today with a series of ceremonies, including a trooping of the colours parade at 2pm. In 1960, 15 South African Defence Force volunteers were carefully selected and sent to the United Kingdom for parachute training. On their return to South Africa, this nucleus of men set about establishing the country s first airborne unit. Commandant (Lieutenant Colonel) WP Louw was the Officer Commanding of what was then called 2 Mobile Watch. On April 1, 1961, this composite unit was converted into 1 Para Bn. 1 Para Bn is the only regular Parachute Battalion in the South African National Defence Force. Currently the battalion serves under 44 Parachute Regiment, along with the Reserve Force 3 Para Bn. 1 Para Bn forms part of the CSANDF Strategic Reserve and is at all times ready to be rapidly deployed anywhere within Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1990, the first intake of full-time black recruits into 1 Para Bn was trained as B Company. The battalion was involved in stabilising the internal unrest situation prior to 1990 and continued until to the historic elections that took place in April Towards the end 1991, 1 Para Bn received the status of battalion group with the placing of artillery, anti-aircraft and engineer elements in its ranks. These elements remained in their ranks until With the disbanding of 32 Battalion in 1993, most of its parachute qualified members were integrated in 1 Para Bn Group and with the closure of the former homeland's defence forces their paratroopers were also integrated in Since 1998, 1 Para Bn has participated in numerous multinational exercises with different foreign armies, both in South Africa and abroad. The members of 1 Para Bn took part in Operation Boleas in Lesotho as part of a SADC force. Several members were lost. In 1999, they were the very first members who deployed to Burundi as part of Operation Fibre and they again contributed in ensuring that the Comoros held a free and fair election in In 2009, they participated in the first multi-force SADC Brigade exercise, Exercise Golfinho that took place at the Combat Training Centre at Lohatla. One company of 1 Para Bn is presently deployed to the Sudan with 5 South African Infantry Bn. FROM PAUL ELS: Soldaat val flou, sterf tydens recce-keuring Deur: Erika Gibson Ernstige vrae word gevra oor die opleidingsmodel van die recces nadat n soldaat in die Madimboomgewing in Limpopo vermoedelik aan hitte-uitputting dood is. Kanonnier Danile Alfred Morae, wat besig was om deel te neem aan die keuringsproses vir die weermag se spesmagte, het volgens die weermag tydens n 50 km-mars verlede Donderdag inmekaargesak. Hy is na n nabygeleë hospitaal geneem en later in 1 Militêre Hospitaal in Thaba Tshwane opgeneem. Hy is kort daarna dood. Beeld verneem 82 voornemende recces is sedert Januarie opgelei voordat hulle verlede week met die keuringsproses vir toelating begin het. Slegs 16 het die keuring in hitte van sowat 37 C geslaag. Volgens ingeligtes was dié voornemende spesmagsoldate n besondere sterk groep en uiters fiks voor keuring. Vrae word gevra oor hoekom die keuring weens die geweldige hitte nie in die koeler ure van die dag of nag gedoen is nie.
6 6 Daar is ook vrae oor hoekom n dokter of n helikopter nie tydens die keuring op bystand was nie. Volgens kenners word lank reeds gespook om die bestaande model van opleiding van die recces in ooreenstemming met die internasionale peil te bring. Morae, wat in sy vroeë twintigs was, was voorheen aan 10 Lugafweerregiment in Kimberley verbonde. Volgens die weermag is n raad van ondersoek na sy dood belê. Geen verdere besonderhede kan nou bekendgemaak word nie. Die laaste keer toe n spesmagte-kandidaat in opleiding dood is, was sowat nege jaar gelede in Phalaborwa. FROM JC GREYLING: Security Firms Threaten to Leave Afghanistan Maria Abi-Habib KABUL Some private security companies guarding diplomatic and aid missions and critical infrastructure facilities in Afghanistan are threatening to withdraw from the country if President Hamid Karzai's government follows through on its plans to impose on them hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes. Many of the more than 30 security companies targeted by the Afghan tax authorities say they are supposed to be tax-exempt because they support diplomatic missions, such as the large U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Executives at these companies say Western diplomats are encouraging them to hold off on paying the taxes so as not to set a precedent for U.S. and European diplomatic missions around the world. The Afghan government issued its unexpected tax demand last month, at the same time it made all current security company licenses expire. The assessed taxes are in some cases higher than several years' worth of operating profits for the companies. "It's not feasible for us to pay such a large bill. We wouldn't be able to continue to operate here," one security company official in Kabul said. Until the companies pay the back taxes, they cannot apply for new security licenses or weapons permits, throwing their legal status in limbo and leaving them ineligible to bid on new contracts to protect diplomatic missions or government development projects. Private security contracts that aren't connected to diplomatic missions are taxable. "In other cases, however, the Embassy believes the taxes were assessed in error, on activities that were properly exempt from taxes," said a U.S. Embassy official in Kabul. "Consistent with U.S. law and policy, the U.S. government seeks exemptions for U.S. foreign assistance from host-nation taxation in any bilateral assistance agreement." When asked why the Afghan government was taxing companies that work for diplomatic missions, Najib Malalai, a Finance Ministry spokesman, said he can't comment on individual cases. "The taxes aren't too high," he said. The standoff over back taxes is the latest in a simmering conflict between Mr. Karzai's administration and Western governments over the presence of private security companies. Last summer, Mr. Karzai announced plans to dissolve all these companies within four months, calling them "criminal" for the number of civilian casualties they cause. The deadline, however, has been pushed back repeatedly as the international community lobbied for their stay, arguing that Afghan police aren't yet able to provide adequate security. At stake are billions of dollars in development money. Many aid organizations and U.S. Agency for International Development contractors have said they would leave Afghanistan if they can't use private security guards a concern that is especially acute after last week's deadly mob attack on the United Nations compound in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Development Alternatives Inc., a big subcontractor for USAID, said it would scale back its operations significantly if the security companies left Afghanistan. "The international community is
7 7 worried that if this goes through, all construction programs, consultants everyone working on government aid and development projects will also be taxed," said one private security company executive. Among the targeted companies, G4S, which protects the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul, could be slapped with one of the biggest bills, some $125 million, according to Western officials familiar with the matter. Global Security Group could also be charged a hefty sum in the millions, according to officials. Control Risks Group, which protects some European embassies, may be charged about $25 million in back taxes by Afghanistan's Finance Ministry, the Western officials said. Some of these companies have yet to receive official documentation from the Afghan Finance Ministry and have only been verbally notified. "We're working with the British foreign office and Afghan authorities to receive clarification on the tax situation," said a G4S spokesman. The media office for Control Risks declined to comment. Global Security's communications director, Tim Matthews, said the company is in "discussions with the Afghan authorities to resolve any outstanding issues on taxation." A British Foreign office spokesperson said the U.K. government has "been in regular contact with [the Afghan government] where this relates to our contract with G4S and hope that all these issues can be resolved soon." FROM PADDY PEREIRA: Hi Rowley I read with great interest the circulars you send out on . For the record, I was in the SAP on the Natal North Coast between 1976 and What I am looking for is a quote by George Patton which I saw a few issues back. It had words to the effect that Patton said give me 100 boers and I ll be able to FROM CRAIG NEWHAM: Hi Rowley 101 Air Supply Unit is trying to track down former members of the the unit, as well as any information about the unit's past and the activities and achievements of its members (including members of the former 102 ASP) or just about Air Supply in general. Could you perhaps help with this initiative? The previous OCs and RSMs that I am aware of are: Commanding Officer Maj T. Moodie Cmdt P.L. Jackel Cmdt J.V. Hattingh Cmdt C. Groove/Grove Cmdt F. Toerrien Cmdt. J Loyd??? Maj S.W. Letseleba (Acting OC) Lt Col K K Mancotywa Lt Col D D Mziki Lt Col B H Morkel (current OC) Regimental Sergeants Major WO1 Schutte WO1 Heilberg WO1 J Teitge WO1 M Z Mdolo (current RSM) The following instructors are also believed to have featured prominently in the history of Air Supply in the SANDF: WO1 Ben Viljoen WO1 Hans Fresco
8 8 Regards Craig FROM AL J VENTER: AL VENTER: Can it be right to unleash the dogs of war in Libya? Last updated at 12:03 AM on 8th April 2011 Guns for hire: Mercenaries from several countries have been contacted by both the Libyan government and rebel forces in Libya, with many eager to make money (posed by model) Reports this week that British military commanders have been secretly advocating the use of mercenaries in the battle to remove Colonel Gaddafi from power in Libya came as little surprise to me. In my mind, there is no question that this will happen. Indeed, as a veteran war correspondent, who has covered many campaigns involving the dogs of war, defending myself by carrying an AK-47 alongside my notebook and camera, I have heard just such intimations from my many mercenary contacts. One of these, former South African Air Force Colonel Neall Ellis who worked as a mercenary in Afghanistan for three years told me that a number of his pals have been contacted both by the government and by rebel forces in Libya. British, South African, Russian and Zimbabwean nationals have all been approached, and many are eager to take up the offer and make some money. The unprincipled greed of such men has led them to being vilified. But no one should be surprised that senior British officials might sanction such murky methods of warfare as deploying these guns for hire they have quite a history of it. One of the most delightful lunches I ever had was at the Guards Club in London where I was entertained by Colonel James Johnson. A former SAS commander who he led a force of British mercenaries in Yemen in the early 1960s. This covert attempt to help Yemeni tribesmen defeat Egyptian forces has long been denied by the British government. But as Jim regaled us with tales of leading the ragtag force of tribal warriors he intimated that the operation was sanctioned at the very highest levels. These days mercenaries are more palatably known as private military companies and it is common knowledge that huge numbers of PMCs and private security contractors have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. More... Send in the dogs of war: Mercenaries could help the rag-tag rebels say UK generals 'Stop the unjust war on Libya... and good luck with the election: Gaddafi's rambling letter to Barack Obama Botched NATO bomb raid on Brega leaves 13 Libyan rebels dead 'People are dying every day': Libyan rebel leader attacks NATO's 'slow' air strike response time At one stage there were 30,000 mercenaries under contract in Iraq and in Afghanistan today almost all support missions flown to supply outlying Coalition Forces with essentials are handled by foreign contractors. There are many reasons why civilised nations are happy to turn to them. Not the least is that they can be highly effective. They were immensely successful in Iraq. One organisation, SafeNet, started with 40 security guards and two years later expanded to a force of 2,000 more than half of whom were Iraqis speeding the return of British forces out of the country. One of the early PMCs, Executive Outcomes, was founded by former British SAS officer-turned-oil baron Tony Buckingham. It became the more acceptable face of the mercenary business. It has since been joined by dozens of other freelance firms from countries including Britain, American and South Africa.
9 9 Part of the attraction in using such companies lies in simple economics. Britain, like many Western nations, is short of trained military personnel, and air crews in particular. Solid support: Mercenaries who choose to go to Libya will opt to join the freedom fighters because of the support the West are giving them which suggests they will come out on top Rather than keep large reserves of expensively-trained men on standby, it makes financial sense to hire them as and when they are needed. In this sense, the use of mercenaries is just another example of privatisation. But more than that, Western governments are reluctant to put their boys at risk for causes that might be difficult to explain to their electorates. And mercenaries are willing to do the kind of work that conventional soldiers cannot be seen to do from assassinations to kidnappings or otherwise disappearing people with no awkward questions asked. These are invariably men with service backgrounds. In the UK they tend to be former members of the Special Air Service (SAS), Special Boat Service (SBS) or former Marines. In the USA, Navy Seals and the elite counter-terrorism Delta Force account for many of their numbers. There are always wars waiting to be fought and much recruitment takes place among friends who have lived and fought together for many years. A former SAS man working as a mercenary in Iraq might, for example, sound out his buddies on a home visit, pointing out the high rewards which can make the merc lifestyle seem very appealing. The average freelance helicopter pilot working in dangerous circumstances can be expected to earn at least 7,000 a month tax free, with more senior operators double that. Why take a job as a poorly paid security guard on civvy street when you can continue to work alongside your friends with all the adrenaline buzz and thrills of your service years? Those who have the right combination of skill and, of course, luck, can build very successful careers. Many modern-day soldiers of fortune have two decades of freelance fighting behind them. After Africa, many ended fighting up in Iraq and Afghanistan and may now be returning to African shores again as part of the Libyan conflict. There they may well find themselves ranged against colleagues whom they served alongside in previous conflicts Angola, Iraq or the Ivory Coast. Easy money: The average freelance helicopter pilot working in dangerous circumstances could earn 7,000 a month - with more senior operatives taking even more. As long as the money is good, this is unlikely to bother them much although we should not imagine that mercenaries are without principles altogether. My friend Neall Ellis was recently approached by Laurent Gbagbo, the rogue President of the Ivory Coast, and asked for his help in putting down the uprisings there. He declined on the grounds that the man is a psycho. In deciding whether or not to join the freedom fighters in Libya, potential mercenary recruits will be impressed by the solid Western support which suggests that the rebels will eventually come out on top. Mercenaries like nothing better than to be on the winning side, if only because it makes their pay cheque guaranteed. In that respect, those eyeing up Libya as a potential work place will also be tempted by the knowledge that the Saudis are acting as the rebels paymasters. After all it was Saudi and Israeli money which financed the campaign led by my old pal Colonel Jim Johnson in the Yemen. The Saudis have always despised Gaddafi and will dig deep into their pockets if it means getting rid of him. In theory, both Britain and the UN have always opposed the use of mercenaries. But it is interesting to note the wording of a Ministry of Defence statement issued earlier this week. In the minority: Daniel Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, murdered two Iraqis during a drunken argument We have not decided to arm or train the opposition forces, although as the Prime Minister has said our view is that the UN resolution does not necessarily rule out the provision of assistance in certain circumstances, it said. To what extent Britain is prepared to endorse or actively pursue the use of mercenaries in Libya remains to be seen. Many argue that we need to make sure that the rebels have the advantage once, as seems likely, a ceasefire is announced. Others fear that this policy might backfire
10 10 spectacularly. After all mercenaries are, by their very nature, largely laws unto themselves and my observations suggest that some who take to mercenary activity have psychotic instincts. Mercenary forces do not have the same kind of mental health checks as, for example, the British Army has. Earlier this year, British mercenary Daniel Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, was found guilty by an Iraqi court and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after shooting dead two men during a drunken argument. At his trial, he blamed post-traumatic stress disorder. Such individuals are in the minority but even those who might otherwise be regarded as sane are capable of stupid mistakes. Think back to 2003 when a team of mercenaries led by former British commando Simon Mann attempted a coup in Equatorial Guinea. Their greed for oil wealth, political power and lucrative jobs for life, led them to attempt to short-circuit the operation, invading from the air rather than by sea, and ended inevitably in their capture. The possibility of similar incompetence hampering rather than helping the rebels in Libya would be a public relations disaster for the Western allies. Yet balanced against that is the realisation that the no-fly zone and air attacks are unlikely to secure the desired result. This leaves Western governments with a moral dilemma. Which is worse, advocating a form of warfare which is morally dubious at best and potentially disastrous at worst, or leaving the Libyan people to their fate? Whichever they decide, they can be assured that they will find no shortage of mercenary volunteers. Al Venter is author of War Dog: Fighting Other People s Wars The Modern Mercenary in Combat. Read more: FROM MANUEL FERREIRA: South Africa s oldest paratrooper: 65 and still jumping Special Bloemfontein - The oldest still-serving member of South Africa s elite paratroops, Major Hans Human, has been a paratrooper all his life, whether as a National Serviceman or a member of the Reserve Force. He s been jumping out of aeroplanes for more than 47 years. Speaking at 44 Parachute Regiment in Tempe, Bloemfontein in South Africa s central Free State province, Human told Digital Journal: I did my jump course in 1964 and after that I was with 1 Parachute Battalion, after that I joined 2 Parachute Battalion and then with 44 with the Dispatchers Company. Now I m the O.C., Dispatchers Company, with 3 Parachute Battalion." ( O.C. stands for Officer Commanding and a paratroop dispatcher (see here, bottom left) is a paratrooper who is responsible for tasks which include dropping cargo from aircraft by parachute as well as rig, load and unload and prepare cargo for airdrops. Paratroop dispatchers perform a key logistical role in airborne operations.) Human is proud to be a parabat. He puts it like this: "I ve always been with the paratroopers, from the word go. He explained that he was never a regular soldier, instead: I ve never been Permanent Force. I first in the old days did my National Service and straight after that went onto Reserve and I m still on the reserve force." In the Border Conflict ( ) Citizen Force units (as the reserves were then called) formed the backbone of many fighting units, including the parabats. At 65 and-a-half, Major Human is the oldest serving member of the parabats, but he isn t stopping just yet. Soldiers in the South African Army are supposed to retire at 65, but: My application is through so I should be carrying on, probably until 70. I asked if there were others of comparable age, and Human said there were a few: "There are, there s General Les Fouche, but he went out to other units, but he s back with us now. I don t think there are many other people of my age, really, but there are fellows from 67, 68,
11 11 69, but most of them are slightly older than myself. Human reminisced about the first commander of the unit and revealed the identity of 1 Parachute Battalion s own teddy bear, called Willempie or Little William. The first commander was Willem Louw. Human continued: When I got here in 64, Commandant Willem Louw, who was the father of the paratroopers, he started the paratroopers here, he was the O.C. when I joined here." I asked if that was why the teddy bear, who was used as a drifter, to check the wind before the parabats jumped, was called Willempie. STORY TIME: FROM Beverley Thomson : My father, James William Reeves, an Australian, who at 91 is still alive, has written his memoirs including a chapter on his surviving the torpedoing of the Sebastian Venier in WW2. He thinks he was the only Australian on board. I have included an electronic copy of part Chapter 6, all of Chapter 8, and part Chapter 9 of his book. This enables the reader to see a little of what happened to my father before and after the torpedoing of the Sebastian Venier. We were very happy that he has written his memoirs, consisting mainly of his War and POW experiences. It took him many years to research some details and to write. He is a wonderful, intelligent man, and we are so fortunate and lucky he wrote them when he did as his memory is now causing him some concern. Extract from One Man s War: A True Story memoirs of James W Reeves, ISBN (pbk.) [Part Chapter 6, (November 1941)] In the northern Autumn I was seconded to a new Unit being formed to provide the signals required for air support (not that we had seen many of our own aircraft). The Unit was called 1 st Australian Air Support Signals. It was mainly, of necessity, wireless communication, of which I was not familiar. After a few weeks training we set off back into the desert to join the South African troops in operation Crusader. Crusader was planned by our Generals with the object of joining up with the garrison at Tobruk, and then, driving Rommel s forces back to recapture Cyrenaica. The British forces had a greater number of tanks, but the German armour was superior. The Germans also had a vital superiority in Artillery and anti-tank guns. Our small detachment of three men was separated from other detachments of our Unit, and we had used our signals procedures to direct a squadron of our bomber planes to targets requested by the 5 th South African Brigade. We immediately came to the attention of the Germans and we found ourselves partly surrounded. At night, Verey lights lit up the sky at intervals. We were also the target of tank shells. During one such episode I had taken shelter in my one-man slit trench, when a tank shell exploded 15 inches from the edge. Afterwards, I found the upper portion of the shallow trench was covered with pieces of metal from the shell. It was only the rocky nature of the desert that saved me. CHAPTER 7 CAPTURED, 1941, NOVEMBER 21 On the following day, 21 st November, 1941, a heavy bombardment of tank shells commenced in the afternoon, and the sky became thick with smoke. I noticed the Brigade Major standing near our headquarters tank, with his binoculars up to his eyes. I went over to him to ascertain what was
12 12 happening. He said, There is a tank battle going on but we are winning. Then a shell exploded and a piece of shrapnel whizzed a few inches from my face and hit our tank. Five minutes later a formation of tanks emerged through the smoke about 100 yards away. I expected them to be British because of what the Brigade Major had said. The first tank turned towards us, and on the front was a large red flag, with a huge black swastika. They were German tanks! The shock sent us into instant evasive action as we anticipated the tank would open fire. The Brigade Major started to climb into our tank and two of us dived under the tank. Then our tank s engines started up and the huge tracks commenced to move. No rabbit could have moved faster than I did, as I shot out from under the tank, and covered the ground to my slit trench, and dived in. I remained down for a short time but I could not resist poking my head up to have a look. As I did, there was a tank heading straight for me. I was spotted and the tank drew near me and stopped. A German Officer appeared from the conning tower, revolver in hand. Then he dropped down again as a bullet hit the conning tower. However, he came up again and said to me in English, Get up, for you the War is over. I remember reading these same words in a war book when I was growing up. Little did I know that I would be the recipient in a realistic occasion. With others, I was marched across the desert, under cover of a German machine gun carrier, heading for a central concentration area. Our column was strung out in no particular order when, suddenly, about 50 yards in front I saw prisoners clutching at themselves, and falling down. The Germans made us go on. I can only assume that some of our troops, probably New Zealanders who were in the vicinity, had mistaken us for Germans. Fortunately the machine-gunning stopped and I passed the danger area safely. At the central point we were made to sit down under cover of guards, machine guns, and an antitank gun. It was late afternoon when a tank was seen approaching. A cheer rang out when we saw the British flag and thought we were saved. However the German anti-tank gun crew, extremely quick and efficient, moved their gun some 40 yards from us, and, with one shot finished our tank. (Only two of the tank crew escaped and joined us in captivity.) The evening came and with it the intense desert cold. I lay there trying to maintain warmth and wondering how to escape. However, we were constantly patrolled by guards, and frequent Verey lights lit the sky. In the morning we were marched to another gathering point where other groups of prisoners joined us. It was here that I was separated from the other two Australians, who volunteered to drive ambulances and help with the dead and wounded. At the time I could not drive. We commenced a long walk across the desert. There was little joy in the situation, except the relationship between white South Africans and the blacks, who had (I discovered) been servants. One large South African officer ordered his servant to carry his equipment. The black replied, We are all the same now, all prisoners, and refused. The officer was most irate, and proceeded to try to kick the black across the desert, until quietened by an amused German guard. During the hours we marched, I noted many wrecks of British tanks but not one German tank. Obviously there must have been some German tank casualties, but apparently they had been removed for possible repair. Later that day we arrived at a barbed wire holding compound where we received our first small amount of food and water. There we remained until a convoy of trucks arrived, and we were transported behind the enemy lines
13 13 In the late afternoon the convoy stopped for comfort. We were in a hilly area, probably in the vicinity of Barce. My truck was the last in the convoy and immediately behind was a German armoured escort. I was the last man to appear to be boarding, after our stop. There was a fading light, and I hung on the side of our truck, asking those inside if anyone would come with me to try to escape. However, no one would and I only had seconds to decide whether to go it alone. Back into the transport I went. Being so far behind the enemy lines, without food or water, I probably didn t have much chance. There was also the armoured car. Would I be shot, or were the Germans unobservant? I have often wondered what would have happened, because, years after the War, I found out that the Barce area was retaken by Allied forces approximately 3 weeks later, (when the Germans had to withdraw due to shortages of supplies occasioned by their very long advance). The convoy travelled through the night and eventually arrived at Benghazi, the scene of my A.W.L. episode. In the dock area of the port we were housed in various large warehouses in which we remained, mainly living off the fat of our bodies and using primitive latrine equipment. NEXT WEEK A BIT MORE WHO IS THIS WEEK S PHOTO OUKIE? THE ORIGINAL WILLEMPIE SICK REPORT and PROGRESS:
14 14 Our readers needing a prayer or more: Dougie Oostelaag Please let me know if these names must still remain on the Sick Report list. TRANSFERRED TO HIGHER COMMAND: FROM WIM BURGER: Hallo Rowley. Ek het gesien dat Neville Scott ooelede is in n voertuigongeluk. Ek het hom leer ken toe ons saam in Windhoek was. Jy het nie dalk kontakbesonderhede van hom nie asseblief. Ek sal baie graag met sy vrou wil kontak maak al is dit nou al na die tyd. Hulle het vir my en my eerste vrou ontsaglik baie beteken. Groete, Wim Burger. THEIR NAMES SHALL LIVITH FOREVER: WO 1 NEVILLE SCOTT WINDHOEK In proud thanksgiving Let us remember our elder brethren. They shall grow not old As we who are left grow old.
15 15 Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM. A NOTE FROM ROWLEY: Please, when submitting notices of death or illness, give as much detail as possible eg Service, Corps Rank (Ret) and places of work. Tell us a bit about him. Others might want to remember him as well. Thanks you. Rowley 9F PARADES, FUNCTION AND GATHERINGS: FROM LAARSA: Hello We thought it fitting to combine the 50th Anniversary of 1 Parachute Battalion with the Cassinga/Remembrance Day Parade. The Parade will be held on Sunday, 8th May 2011 at the Museum of Military History (War Museum) in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. Service to commence at 10:30 sharp. The dress code will be Association/Regimental Blazers, Berets and Medals. Civilian guests to be appropriately dressed for this occasion, preferably in a jacket and tie. The names of our departed Airborne comrades be ed to Manie Grove by 30 April 2011, for inclusion on the Airborne Wall of Remembrance. (See contact details below.) Those wishing to lay wreaths are to please advise Manie Grove a.s.a.p. for inclusion. Tea and coffee will be served after the Parade. In this regard, it will be most appreciated if the ladies would volunteer a plate or two of snacks - we expect this to be a very big gathering! Thanking you in anticipation and looking forward to seeing you there. Best regards, Andrew Leece Chief Clerk LAARSA PUBLICATIONS: FROM MANUEL FERREIRA: BUSH OF GHOSTS Life and War in Namibia By John Liebenberg and Patricia Hayes ISBN Published By: Umuzi, an imprint of Random House Struik (Pty) Ltd. 80 McKenzie Street Cape Town, 8001 South Africa One of the latest photographic records of Namibia and the war that was fought there up to 1989, John Liebenberg s book is 270 pages in length, and printed on high quality glossy paper. I say John Liebenberg s book, as the book is essentially a collection of his photographs, taken over many years as a civilian and freelance photographer, but primarily covering the years between 1986 and Let me start by saying that this is, in essence, an anti-apartheid book rather than one that
16 16 sets out to be objective. One has only to read the narratives, particularly that contributed by Patricia Hayes, to conclude this. The authors main focus throughout seems to be how the conflict affected the local population, emotionally, physically and intellectually, and in this I believe they succeed rather well. However, it is at this overall level that the two seem to diverge, with Hayes the ardent anti-apartheid activist, if I may describe her as such, and Liebenberg the photographer, always pragmatic, not necessarily supportive of the South African Government of the time and their role in the lives of young South Africans and Namibians alike, but considerably more objective and interested in his art. Perhaps I am reading too much into both authors, but this is how they came across to me when reading the book. Perhaps the difference lies in their perspectives, as Liebenberg did complete his National Service in 1976, spending time at Ondangwa during Operation Savannah, which would at least give him some understanding of the conscripts lot. As an academic who has never been in the military, I doubt that Hayes can claim the same objectivity. Apart from the lengthy introduction by Hayes, the book is broken up into three distinct Chapters, the first of which covers the period of the war itself. All of the photographs are monochrome, or greyscale, and range from the seemingly innocuous snapshot of family life in Ovamboland to the visceral images of dead SWAPO insurgents strapped to the spare wheel of a Koevoet Wolf Turbo, or being cast like so much flotsam into their mass graves. Many will be familiar scenes to all who served in Namibia, whether SADF or SWAPO, and in themselves bring back memories of a bygone era in a way that words cannot. One that really struck a chord personally was the young conscript infantryman on the back of a Buffel, holding his rifle in one hand and his Scope magazine, resplendent with almost naked young woman on the cover, in the other. This image for me captures the complete contrast between the innocence of youth and the harsh reality of conflict. Chapter Two, Interim Living, comprises photographs taken during the transition period prior to independence, and is again described by Hayes in a foreword titled The Spectacle of Politics. Again, the photographs do most of the talking and cover everything from protest to outright conflict between State and People, as well as the less well talked about bombing of hotels and other atrocities. It is the latter that I found refreshing, as Liebenberg does not at any point attempt to apportion blame for the atrocities to any particular party, which is rare in these days when the security forces are blamed for every one, whether it obviously suited then to commit these at the time or not. Although interesting, I would have to say that the photographs in this and subsequent Chapters will have little meaning to the former SADF members who served in Namibia, unless it was during the time depicted, as they are more relevant to Namibian aspirations and expressions of freedom than anything else. I make no apology for this sentiment, as my experience, along with all former SADF conscripts at least, was very different to that of the Namibian people. They live there, whereas we did not and, in most cases, did not seek to. We were there at the call of state, to serve as best we could. No more, no less. Anyone who believes that we must somehow feel bad today, or apologise for doing what was right at the time, is sadly misguided in my opinion. It is no more sensible to expect the former PLAN soldier to apologise for a landmine planted and aimed at the security forces, which happened to kill fellow Ovambo civilians instead. Such are the vagaries and random chances of war. Chapter Three, The End of War, is preceded by transcripts of discussions between the two authors, and I believe these, more than anything else, clearly show the different perspectives of the two. The photographs in this chapter depict life from mid 1989 onwards, after the shooting had stopped for the final time, and there are many interesting prints of PLAN members returning to Namibia finally, civilians going about their business and even those taken at abandoned former SADF
17 17 bases. The book concludes with a section of stories by John Liebenberg, in which he gives the background behind selected images used in the book, and these are in many cases both interesting and illuminating, as they give the reader some background to each image, something rare in photographic accounts, at least in this reviewer s experience. Overall, despite the obviously anti-apartheid slant of this book, I would have to say that it is well worth a read, especially to see John Liebenberg s photographs, which are excellent, and his comments, which are enlightening. On the negative side, I found co-author Patricia Hayes comments to be lacking in objectivity at times, and she is also inclined to stray too often into what I can best call academic-speak, when she attempts to find hidden meanings behind some of John Liebenberg s photographs that are, in this reviewer s opinion, frankly not there. Peter Chapman FROM MANUEL FERREIRA: DVD: Captor and Captive the story of Danger Ashipala and Johan van der Mescht An emotional story of two enemy soldiers who meet 30 years after an event that changed both of their lives Johan van der Mescht was a South African army conscript who was captured in 1978 by Danger Ashipala, a guerilla fighting for Namibian independence. Van der Mescht was held as a Prisoner of War in Angola before being exchanged for a Russian spy, Aleksei Koslov at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin in Van der Mescht met his former captor, Ashipala in 2009, an emotional reunion to complete a story of forgiveness and redemption. Running time: 52-minutes Year of production: 2010 DVD Pal, stereo English, Afrikaans, Oshivambo with English subtitles FROM MANUEL FERREIRA: (Louis Bothma in one of our best Afrikaans writers -- Die buffel strykel.) I have no write up yet but start putting extra pennies in you piggy bank. Rowley 0F FROM PETER POLACK: Sextante, an imprint of the largest Portuguese publishing group Porto Editora, has acquired the Portuguese and Lusophone Africa rights to publish the significant African history book Black Stalingrad by Peter Polack, about the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, Angola ( ). Cuito Cuanavale was a battle in an obscure war that appeared to herald great changes in southern Africa as well as the end of the apartheid government in South Africa. Peter Polack has
18 18 previously released a list of Cuban casualties of the Angolan war published in the Miami Herald and written an opinion editorial for the South Africa Times on Cuito's fallen. He has also been interviewed about the book by the Portuguese service of Voice of America.The Portuguese edition of the book is to be published and distributed throughout Portiugal and Lusophone Africa in the summer of 2012 on the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. Peter Polack was born in Jamaica in 1958 and has been a criminal lawyer in the Cayman Islands since 1983 where he resides with his wife and two daughters.in July 2005 he organized a Cuba relief shipment after Hurricane Dennis from generous donors of the Cayman Islands. He visited Cuba for the first time in June FROM MAUEL FERREIRA: From 'police patrol' through to the border war years and Operation Protea, townships and baselife, Cameron Blake has assembled an all embracing study. Featuring exclusive and previously unpublished photographs, this is a valuable addition to the Border War's published history. Whether you are a Border War veteran, a student of military history, military modeller or wargamer, Troepie will evoke, compel and fascinate. Blake, Cameron Cameron Blake was born in 1969 in Johannesburg where he grew up. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1991, with a Diploma in Graphic Design. The following year, and still liable for compulsory national service albeit in the early 90s when most conscripts were not heeding their call-ups he cleared in at Voortrekkerhoogte, a large military base outside Pretoria. After doing his basic training in the Technical Services Corps, he was transferred to the Ordnance Services Corps in Cape Town, completing his service in the media department. After a decade of varying careers in creative media fields, he finally teamed up with a long-time friend to open a small shop in Cape Town s CBD. The shop specializes in coins, medals and surplus militaria: his true passions. It was here that he began networking with veterans and collecting their stories, in line with his interest in southern African military history. His first book, Troepie: From Call-up to Camps, was published in c VACANCIES:
19 19 LAUGH AND THE SERGEANT MAJOR LAUGHS WITH YOU: FROM PAUL ELS: PECANS IN THE CEMETERY On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. 'One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,' said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence. Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, 'One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.' He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. 'Come here quick,' said the boy, 'you won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.' The man said, 'Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk.' When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, 'One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.' The old man whispered, 'Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can see the Lord.' Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord. At last they heard, 'One for you, one for me. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done.' They say the old man made it back to town a full 5 minutes ahead of the kid on the bike. SMILE, God Loves You FROM ORAFs: If you can't afford a doctor go to an airport - you'll get a free x-ray and a breast exam and; If you mention AI Qaeda, you'll get a free colonoscopy. FROM DAAN NELL: Man versus Wife A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. A s they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, 'Relatives of
20 20 yours?' 'Yep,' the wife replied, 'in-laws.' FROM PIET OPPERMAN: WIE WAS SY? Twee kollegas geniet 'n drankie ná werk. "Jy weet," sê die een, "ek glo in outydse morele waardes. Ek het nie voor ons troue by my vrou geslaap nie. Kan jy dieselfde sê?" Sy maat dink so 'n bietjie en antwoord toe: "Ek is nie seker nie. Wat was jou vrou se nooiensvan?" We may be the Retired, Fired, Packaged, Bandaged and Kicked in the Arse Sergeants Major/Warrant Officers but we still salute the officers who still acknowledge that it was the Sergeant Major/Warrant Officer who assisted them to achieve their rank and appointment that they held. STAND EASY, Have a fantastic week everyone. Rowley 9F HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK,