A Tribute to Volunteers of all Military Associations – Still Soldiering On in Mufti

Still Soldiering On In Mufti.
  Inspired by Lieutenant Colonel Ted Chitham MC OAM (Retired) who has always led the way       

Soldiering is a life experience and for most never to be forgotten. From the very moment that the oath is sworn, you are for the time being, just another unfortunate creature whose mother sold you to the military for a silver coin. 

What the recruiting sergeant conveniently did not mention is that a total and rigid obedience to military regulations was obligatory.

Incredibly as each uncoordinated group experienced the wrath of instructors at varying level of rank, slowly and surely the rabble became a team with instinctive obedience to all commands

 Military history records the deeds of units in both peace and war yet often fails to recognize those who made it so and the powerful spirit of unit pride and mateship which old soldiers carry to the grave and perhaps beyond.  Such spirit and loyalty to unit did not just happen, but began with the very first shrill bark of command by a non- commissioned officer.

In time, with hard and demanding training, strangers became friends and then comrades. Individual views and uncoordinated action were transformed into a team with clear purpose and action.

No one can determine exactly when the precious brother and sister hood arrived to embrace both unit and regiment. However, there is no evidence whatsoever it came to be with a wave of a General’s baton or a space age politician making promises.  

What we do know is that the military family gathered strength with each demanding challenge and recognition of achievements in peace or war. We do know the demands of high standards were met, and with it came even more confidence, battle discipline, individual and collective pride. With all of these assets was the most valuable legacy of the ANZAC spirit.

It is not surprising that as each column converts to mufti, there are many volunteers who continue to shepherd the thinning ranks with sharing and caring and reminding society of who and what they still are.  

Thus my compliments to all volunteers of all military associations and in particular those I have seen at first hand being The Royal Australian Regiment Association (RARA), Battalion Associations of the Royal Australian Regiment, The Australian Training Team Vietnam Association (ATTVA) and 51st Battalion , Far North Queensland Regiment Association

Old Soldiers Never Die

Time has aged those who once wore the proud badge of the Roo The gaps in the ranks of old warriors are more than a few
Gone the spritely step and strong pulse beat
No more the singing round campfires on ready made seats
Yet still the memories of roll calls for so many brothers
Still young soldiers at heart, so ready to help each other
Beat the drums and sound the bugle call
All for one and one for all

Soldiers grow old yet always a powerful regimental spirit is there
 Thanks to volunteers who are seen to be everywhere
They’ve traded rifle for names and addresses of mates in strife
No need of compass to find the home of a widow, once an army wife
Work parties maintain walls with proud names of fallen to be seen
Reunions, charity, funerals and telling school kids what ANZAC means
Beat the drums and sound the bugle call
All for one and one for all

In turn, each generation of the Regiment marches on and on
Until at last it blurs and fades on distant horizons and is gone
In each passing column, volunteers step forward to seize the flame
Dressed in mufti, armed with pen and phone, are on duty again
Old and new sentries have changed and the relief is complete
With mateship, sharing, caring, and despite weary shuffling feet
Beat the drums and sound the bugle call
All for one and one for all

George Mansford © December 2019

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