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Unit Farewells APC

Article courtesy 'ARMY the soldiers' Newspaper'
Photographs courtesy CAPT Darren McKenzie 5RAR

The last APC M113 leaving 5RAR lines at Roberston Barracks Darwin

'The last of 5RAR's M113s has left the battalion lines at Robertson Barracks with the battalion members lining the the streets to see it out of service with the unit.

Crewed by Sgt Scott Barry and driven by L/Cpl Joshua Wale, the M113 made its way slowly along the street with each soldier standing to attention as it passed to mark the importance of the event.

CO Lt-Col Richard Barrett said the APC was not only a significant part of the battalion's heritage but also of the Army's history.

"The M113 has provided a unique warfighting capability to 1 Bde," he said.

"They have been part of the unit for than 30 years and we now have the task of transitioning to a standard infantry battalion."

In 1976, before the delinking of the two units, 5/7RAR began working with the vehicles after accepting them from 2 Cav Regt as part of a two year trial.

Years later in June 1984 the unit adopted the "Mechanised" suffix and conducted its first battalion-level mechanised exercise in late 1985.

The unit deployed on operational service with the vehicles during Interfet in Timor-Leste in 1999 and maintained a QRF presence with M113s in Timor-Leste in Timor-Leste from 2006 to 2009.

Sgt Barry was chosen to crew the last vehicle in recognition of his years working with armoured vehicles in 5/7RAR, School of Armour, 7RAR and 5RAR.

"It's a shame to see them go," he said. "I liked the excellent firepower and protected mobility they provided."

Sgt Barry played an important role in the battalion's efforts to move the M113s from 5RAR to be based with the soon-to-be-formed armoured cavalry regiments (ACR).

The battalion will remain the ready battalion group until November.

Lt-Col Barrett said it was an exciting time for the unit.

"We have some major exercises this year where we will refocus for conventional dismounted operations," he said.

"We'll wait and see how the ACRs evolve as we'll be in a position to actively contribute to their tactics, techniques and procedures being previously mechanised."

The M113 fleet is being upgraded and are expected to remain in service for at least the next decade.

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