warriors of 51FNQR
island warriors of Cape York and the Torres Strait are as rugged as
the terrain they patrol
Cpl Belinda Mepham of ARMY News
patrols sit together in circles on the ground and talk in native dialect
about who-knows-what giving a rugged and real impression of the work they
do at 51FNQR.
month, after a lot of planning, the unit formed up in Townsville for a
week of weapons, surveillance equipment and patrol procedures practise and
qualifying and having time on the range as a unit is a geographical near-
impossibility for 51FNQR.
51FNQR Lt-Col Paddy Hallinan said the battalion had brought together
members from BHQ, Admin and Training Coy in Cairns with most of the
patrols from the four surveillance companies at Weipa, Thursday Island,
and Mt Isa.
of our GRes members are drawn from the Aboriginal and Torres Straight
Islander communities as well as a range of other locals in the far north
and gulf region, giving the battalion its unique character and great
strengths,” he said.
are 500 personnel in the battalion. Seventy of those are ARA members and
we rely on them to conduct up-to-date training, they are critical for
conducting the cradle-to-grave element of the training.”
Hallinan said it was common for the part-time soldiers to spend their
entire Army career in 51FNQR, conducting all courses and patrols in their
local and neighbouring areas.
six-man patrols are the core of the battalion’s operations.
main capability lies in its patrols, which in just about all cases are
manned by highly trained and motivated GRes soldiers,” he said.
member is cross-trained in a number of specialities including command,
communications, surveillance, reconnaissance, combat medical, combat
vehicle and small craft tactical operations.”
patrols are all highly mobile and interoperable, trained to operate in a
combined and joint environment with RAN, RAAF assets and other Army
patrol is also capable of self-deploying by tactical vehicle and small
in fully modified RFSVs, GS Land Rover 110, the patrols are equipped with
the latest surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities available in the
Mt Stuart and High Range Training Areas near Townsville, the battalion
trained in the use of some of the newest additions to the patrol’s
Hallinan said a bullring of activities gave each company an opportunity to
monitor the training on laser range-finding equipment, GPS, the early
warning device, Classic.
were also lessons on the technical nature of some specialist optical
each patrol are equipped with image capturing equipment, Ninox,
communications data transfer – these are the latest surveillance and
be effective in the AR we must all be trained and practised to a high
standard. This week in Townsville will bring everybody to the same
standard and give us a benchmark for future training.”
achieves its mission through a consistent schedule of training and
Hallinan said the real time role of the battalion was what made service in
51FNQR so challenging and rewarding for both ARA and GRes members.
any member of 51FNQR and they will probably tell you they are the eyes and
ears of the north.”
November 9, 2002, 51FNQR has invited all past members of the battalion to
return to Cairns for a ‘Bolds and Olds’ Day.
day is designed to inform, entertain, and update members on 51FNQR’s
capabilities and role.