2017 has seen many changes occur within 3rd/9th Light Horse! Starting from the top, the unit saw Major Christopher Manning return to occupy the helm of the Squadron. Concurrently, a new 2IC also posted in. Captain David Adams arrived at the unit with his vast experience from his service in the ARA. Between the two they have strived to reinvigorate the unit and have overseen changes to the ORBAT and other processes within the unit.
The unit currently operates three Troops; 1 Troop is responsible for PMV training and is the primary supporter of the Reinforcing Battle Group support tasks, 2 Troop is responsible for G-Wagon Surveillance and Reconnaissance Vehicle (SRV) training as the surrogate non-armoured platform and 3 Troop as the dedicated Cavalry Scout troop. The unit received the Mission Kit for the G-Wagon SRV late last year and the Sqn has worked hard to fit out the first vehicles after qualifying the Training Sergeant, SGT Scott Kernot on the kit. The fitting of these vehicles with the mission kit will enable the Troop to conduct the myriad of Light Cavalry Scout tasks from a properly enabled platform. The Sqn has continued to grapple with the ongoing servicing and inspection regime pertaining to the PMV fleet. However, the impending digitisation will see them capable of integrating with the Battlefield Management System which will increase the capability for the unit to integrate within 9 Brigade and its full-time counterparts.
The unit sent a section sized compliment of PMV's to Exercise Boars Run in support of 7 RAR and was ably supported by 4/19 PWLH. This saw members integrated with 7 RAR, A Sqn 1 AR, 9 Fd Sqn 1 CER and a number of other supporting units. This gave a unique training opportunity which saw the Sqn members working together to achieve real time support and integration in a combat role which included live fire activities. Further contributions by the unit saw CAPT Bob Cushion and TPR James Wilsdon deploy on Transit Security Element 85 and Troopers deploy to Rifle Company Butterworth 120. This year also saw the return of SGT Paul Williams from the Sinai on Operation Mazurka where he was awarded the Force Sergeant Major's Commendation. The contribution of these members, whilst not only a credit to themselves, will see the unit gaining valuable knowledge and skills acquired as a result of their experiences. The provision of this additional training opportunity will increase our capability upon their return and can only strengthen the unit's capability as part of the 9th Brigade.
This year has also seen the Sqn grow three new Troop Sergeants and the qualification of 14 new fully qualified Cavalry Scouts adding to the unit's capability. A number of senior soldiers will also be promoted to LCPL as they complete their promotion courses in the last six months of the year. The Sqn has also benefited from a number of soldiers from the ACRs transitioning to part-time service and parading with the Sqn. In addition, the Sqn has also received the newly graduated Lieutenant Leigh Haring from the part-time officer's first appointment course. These promotions and transfers clearly demonstrate the health of the unit with a strong spread of promotions across all ranks which will make a signification addition to capability going forward in 2018.
Recruitment has seen an increase in interest with the unit recruiting over 20 members over the last financial year; mainly due to the diligence and hard work of CPL Robert Hutchinson and LCPL James Findlay. This has been impart due to cooperation formed between the Sqn and Defence Force Recruiting to using 3rd/9th's facilities in Elizabeth North Training Depot to run information sessions and personal fitness assessments for the northern metropolitan area. The unit has also successfully recruited its first two female light cavalry scouts which marks a significant milestone in the history of the unit. The accelerated training option (ATO) which allows recruits to go from basic training to complete their employment training in a continuous block has also seen a positive influence in recruiting and will assist in providing job ready cavalry scouts upon their entry to the unit.
This year marks a historical milestone for many light horse units with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba. The Sqn will commemorate the event through the conduct of a formal dinner at the Adelaide Town Hall as well as a Catafalque Party at the Light Horse and War Horse Memorials in the Adelaide CBD.