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2018 Life Member, Gary Townsend

Gary TownsendGary Morice Townsend was born in Melbourne on 12 June 1945. He was educated at Coburg Technical School and after leaving school he was employed in small business.

Gary was called up for national service in the first intake on 1 July 1965 and undertook recruit training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion at Puckapunyal. He was allocated to the infantry corps and posted to the 5th Battalion at Holsworthy where he completed his corps training. He joined 7 Platoon C Company and stayed with this platoon as a rifleman/scout for the entire duration of the battalion's first active service tour of duty in Vietnam from April 1966 to May 1967. He deployed to and from Vietnam aboard HMAS Sydney.

After completing his national service obligation Gary returned to his civilian employment in Melbourne. In 1985, Gary and his family re-located to Queensland where they managed their own wholesale agency business from which they retired in 2008.

It was just prior this time (2006) that Gary became aware of the 5RAR Association. He joined up and immediately became involved in its activities. In August 2007 he volunteered to be the Editor of the Association's newsletter "Tiger Tales" and from that time until his appointment as a Life Member he has produced 35 editions. The quality of "Tiger Tales" is widely applauded as being an outstanding unit magazine within the Army veteran community. To achieve this high standard he has maintained close liaison with 5RAR to ensure that balance is maintained on contemporary tiger battalion matters as well as historical and veteran issues.

In 2015, Gary volunteered to take on the additional role of Membership Officer of the Association. In this capacity he has modernised our records processes and goes to extraordinary lengths to follow up members who are errant in paying their membership dues. He also willingly researches and investigates a range of issues that affect the Association with consequential sound advice to the executive of the Association. His achievements and dedication to two crucial roles in the conduct of the Association's affairs have been paramount in the continuing success of the 5RAR Association.

He has also voluntarily taken on other activities in support of the Association. At his own initiative, Gary established and manages a website "The Mushroom Club" to record the personalities and history of C Company's 1st tour of Vietnam. He was a key member of the committee that planned and executed two highly successful major Association reunions on the Gold Coast in 2010 and 2015. In addition, since 2013 he has initiated an annual 5RAR reunion lunch on the Gold Coast that enables battalion veterans from south-east Queensland to gather together in a spirit of camaraderie.

Gary Townsend has selflessly given outstanding, loyal and dedicated service over a long period to the Association. He is eminently qualified to be appointed a Life Member of the 5RAR Association.

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