John Frewen - An unusual conglomeration

Running time
2 min 40 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


It's multiple army units and there were joint people in there as well. So there were Navy and Air Force medical specialists in particular that were there. So yeah, quite an unusual conglomeration. The infantry battalion headquarters was sort of a dominant feature of it, but really it was just a clumping together of many, many disparate sort of elements. It was very much a blending, and me, I was familiar with some of the command elements of the battalion headquarters because the battalion headquarters would interact with the brigade headquarters very regularly.

But I was suddenly then supplanted into the battalion headquarters, as were other elements, such as intelligence elements and signals elements, and all sorts of things that weren't normally a part of the battalion headquarters. And then that battalion headquarters became sort of the force or the group headquarters. So it was coming together at the same time as the medical units were trying to come together and cohere as well.

So no, it was very much a coming together on the hop. And then of course the advanced party were... while the others still had more time to prepare, we were gone and we're in country sort of getting set up and experiencing the early days of the mission while they were still preparing and coming on in. So, the battalion ops side. Simon Gould was the head of the advanced party. I was taken as one of the sub headquarters groups to help him with the commander control of it.

There was a bunch of medical folks, both doctors, pharmacists, others. There were some specialist elements, tradies, and things that could help us get set up. And then there was an infantry platoon that was there to provide the protection, and there were others in there as well. But that was sort of a mixed, a little mini version of the main body that was to come to allow us to get into theatre. There had been a reconnaissance that had gone in prior, but we were really going in to then just figure out exactly where we were going to put everything and how it was going to work and get things set up for the main body's arrival.

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