Letter from LtCol PA Kenny, Commanding Officer 4 RAR (Cdo)
4 RAR State Associations
C/O MR Garry Heskett
As you are now likely aware the Chief of Army (CA) has directed a change to the Army’s Order of Battle (ORBAT) in the form of a name change for the 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment. In order to complete the 1996 Government direction to raise a regular Commando Regiment, the Commando unit known as 4 RAR (Cdo) will be renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment (abbreviated as 2 Cdo Regt).
The Minister of Defence endorsed the CA’s decision on 4 May 09. As a consequence we are planning to conduct a parade to officially ‘deactivate’ 4 RAR and raise 2 Cdo Regt, which is to be held at Tobruk Lines on 19 Jun 09. Invitations to all former members of the Battalion will be made via the various 4 RAR Associations in due course. The CA has directed that like 8/9 RAR previously, 4 RAR will 'not be lost' or 'disappear from Army's ORBAT', but rather it will be laid up, enabling re-raising in the future if so directed.Whilst remaining on the Army ORBAT it will not be entitled to equipment or personnel. As such, the School of Infantry (SOI) will preserve the colours and store the property of the Battalion until it is re-raised in the future. The 4 RAR Mess Property, both Officers and Sergeants Messes property respectively has been placed into a separate inventory and will be handed over to the respective SOI Messes. The SOI Messes will be responsible for the care of this property in exactly the same fashion as they cared for the 8/9 RAR Mess property.
While 2 Cdo Regt has been directed not to retain an official linage with 4 RAR, both 4 RAR and 2 Cdo Regt will continue to share the history of 4 RAR (Cdo). Please note it was the unit’s strong desire to retain some linkage with its 4 RAR (Cdo) history and keeping ‘4’ in the new title was the preferred option. It was decided that this should not occur to ensure that 4 RAR could be re-raised in time. As such, 2 Cdo Regt will forge a relationship with the WWII Commando Association. Past members of 4 RAR (Cdo) (1997-2009), by virtue of their commando qualification and service provided, will be considered for all purposes members of 2 Cdo Regt as well as veterans/former members of 4 RAR (Cdo). Should these members continue to march with 4 RAR on ANZAC Day will be a personal decision.
As 2 Cdo Regt is authorised to assume the commando history and memorabilia; all property associated with 4 RAR (Cdo) will be retained by 2 Cdo Regt. All 4 RAR property prior to the commando conversion has been identified, audited and returned for safekeeping to the SOI. The Infantry Head of Corps has directed that the two brass RAR badges held by the Battalion will be passed to 8/9 RAR and Rifleman Wing School of Infantry respectively. Additionally the CA has directed in the spirit of its awarding to the Commandos serving as part of the Special Operations Task Group (Task Force 637), the Unit Citation for Gallantry (UCG) is to be removed from the 4 RAR colours and retained by 2 Cdo Regt on behalf of all 4 RAR (Cdo) Afghanistan veterans. While 4 RAR, if raised in the future, will not be entitled to wear the UCG, it is appropriate the 4 RAR Association banner continues to reflect the history of 4 RAR (Cdo) by displaying the current unit motif and UCG. Ultimately, this will be a decision for the Association.
I recognise the loyalty shown by the various 4 RAR Associations over the past fifteen years and wish to extend an offer of continued support by 2 Cdo Regt, specifically through the provision of facilities for annual meetings, unit birthday and ANZAC day. Tobruk Lines should also be considered the home of the 4 RAR History Room and Memorial Rock until 4 RAR is re-raised or at the changing preference of the Association. While I acknowledge the intent of the Association to hold the 50th Anniversary in Tobruk Lines based on discussions with previous Commanding Officers, I cannot in good faith extend an offer of similar support on behalf of a future Commanding Officer in 2014.
In closing, please accept my sympathy in the deactivation of 4 RAR and hope you will recognise this change is a significant and well deserved recognition of this unit’s overall success for the past 12 years and a true reflection of the units role within the modern Army. The importance of this last milestone cannot be underestimated but will not be carried out without due recognition of 4 RAR and its veterans.
P. A. KENNY