3rd Battalion
Royal Australian Regiment
'Old Faithful'

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3rd Battalion

The Royal Australian Regiment
 
 
A brief history of the
3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment
 
FORMATION
 
In 1945, with the unconditional surrender of Japan, the necessity arose for the occupation of the country to enforce the terms of surrender. When it became known that Australian forces were to assist, preparations commenced to raise a volunteer force. Known as the ‘Interim Army’, the force was built around the newly created and designated 34th Australian Infantry Brigade, itself comprising the 65th, 66th, and 67th Battalion.

These new battalions inherited the traditions and manpower from the entirety of the existing Australian wartime Army. The 65th Battalion was formed from volunteers from 7th Australian Division and the 2/40th Australian Infantry Battalion; the 66th drew its men from 9th Division and 1st Australian Corps troops whilst the 67th comprised volunteers from the 3rd, 6th and 11th Divisions. Thus the predecessor battalion to 3 RAR, the 67th Battalion, consisted of men who had the wide, collective experience of service in the Middle East, Greece, New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. The 34th Infantry Brigade was assembled at the island of Morotai in the North Moluccas making itself ready for service with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in Japan.

The importance of this new force can not be underestimated. For the first time in Australia’s history, the Army had raised a full-time, professional infantry force in peacetime. Previously, the Defence Act had not allowed regular troops in peacetime with the exception of some garrison artillery units and cadre staff to train the part-time militia. This full-time infantry force would play crucial roles in the coming Cold War conflicts and form the nucleus of the Australian Regular Army. Japan 1946 - 1950



The main body of 67th Australian Infantry Battalion arrived at Kure, Japan on 21 February 1946 and throughout its time in Japan, the Battalion served at Kahachi, Okayama, Haramuri, Kure, Hiro and Tokyo.

The Battalion's tasks during this period included the screening of returning Japanese soldiers, the destruction of arms caches, the supervision of general elections, guard duties on various important buildings and installations, internal security, as well as normal military operations. It should be noted that the situation in Japan was far from guaranteed and the Brigade Training Instruction emphasized the need “to maintain the high standard of the discipline and fighting efficiency of the last years of the war.” Thus one can see that the new force inherited the ethics and proficiency of the wartime soldiers.

In September 1947, the post-war defence planners determined that the erstwhile Permanent Military Forces would be known as the Australian Regular Army. Recruiting began for this new force began and those members of the Interim Army that wished to transfer across to the new force did so. After much debate, it was decided that the infantry battalions would adopt the British regimental system and thus the 67th Battalion was re designated the 3rd Battalion, The Australian Regiment. On 10 March 1949, HM King George VI approved the title ‘Royal’.
 
 
 

Korean War

Kapyong

Korea up to Kapyong.

On 25 June 1950, the Communist North Korean Army invaded South Korea to unify it under communist rule. On the outbreak of war, 3 RAR was still serving in Japan and preparing to return home to Australia. Due to the rapidly deteriorating situation, 3 RAR, due to its proximity to the theatre, was chosen for the task of assisting in the United Nations effort in Korea. After a short period of intensive training and reorganization, the battalion sailed in the USNS 'Aiken Victory', landing at Pusan, Korea on 28 September 1950 and then moving to join the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade at Taegu.

On 5 October 1950, the battalion deployed to take part in the 8th Army offensive to break out of the Pusan pocket. During the ensuing advance to the Yalu River, 3 RAR performed with great credit, covering some 400 miles and accounting for approximately 450 enemy killed, 1900 prisoners taken and 15 armoured vehicles destroyed. The battalion's casualties were 13 killed and 34 wounded.

By late October, the Battalion had reached the Pakchon-Chongju area, which also represented the northernmost extent of 3 RAR’s advance in the war. However it was here on 30 October 1950, that the CO, LTCOL Charlie Green was killed by a shell fragment exploding near his tent. Green was a highly competent and well-regarded CO and he remains the only CO of the RAR killed in action.

In November 1950, the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) entered the war.  This resulted in the a reversal of the successes enjoyed over the last months; during the harsh winter of November and December 1950 the Allies were forced to withdraw across the 38th Parallel.   On 4 January 1951, Seoul fell once again to the Communists. During the withdrawal, 3 RAR was employed in tasks ranging from rear guard actions to the defence of Corps HQ.
 
 
 
Kapyong
Visit Korea Video for documentry of The Battle of Kapyong here.........

The Chinese winter offensive was eventually halted and in February/March 1951, UN forces began to push the CCF slowly back. Seoul was recaptured by US troops on 14 March 1951.By 22 April 1951, 3 RAR and advanced as far as Kapyong where it was held in reserve while 50 km to the front, 6th Republic of Korea (ROK) Division held the frontline.

On the night of 22 April 1951, the Chinese launched their Spring offensive and the 6th ROK Division withdrew in disorder through the battalion's position.

On the evening of 23 April 1951, the main Chinese force reached the battalion's perimeter.   During the 23 and 24 Apr 51, in the face of continuing attacks, the battalion held its position, exhausting and demoralising the Chinese and gradually blunting the offensive. The battalion's cost was heavy: 31 killed, 58 wounded and three PWs. For its fine display of courage and steadfastness, the battalion was awarded the United States Presidential Citation. Today, the Battle of Kapyong is the cornerstone of the Battalion’s commemorative calendar; the Kapyong Citation Streamer is attached ceremonially to the Regimental Colour during the Kapyong Parade and the US Unit Presidential Citation is on display in Battalion Headquarters.
 
 
 
Kapyong to the Cease Fire

After the collapse of the Chinese offensive, 3RAR joined 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade. During the following six months, by a series of deep patrols and probes, the battalion captured all its objectives in a UN drive to a position overlooking the strategically important Imjin River.

During 2-8 October 1951,as part of ‘Operation Commando’, the battalion assisted in the capture of Point 355 and played a leading part in the capture of Maryang San (Point 317). In five days of heavy fighting, 3 RAR dislodged a numerically superior enemy from a position of great strength.  This classic offensive action is acknowledged as an RAR battle honour and is studied by staff cadets at RMC as the acme of offensive operations and a textbook example of battlefield command at all levels.

During this phase of operations, 3 RAR killed at least 280 Chinese soldiers and took 50 prisoners at the cost of 20 killed and 104 wounded.

In the period from November 1951 to the Armistice, 3RAR occupied various positions in ‘Jamestown Line’ between 'The Hook' and Point 355 with brief periods in brigade and corps reserve. The role of the unit, like that of all UN forces, became one of defence; the holding of a strong defensive line extending across Korea just north of the 38th Parallel. During this period, 3RAR became known for the aggressive spirit displayed by its patrols and the procedures evolved by it were accepted as the basis of the Division's policy for the organisation and control of patrols.

At the cessation of hostilities on 27 July 1953, the battalion was occupying Point 146. On 3 August 1953, it moved from there to its post-hostilities location at Area 6, on the ‘Jamestown Line’

 
 
 
Return to Australia

Despite the cease fire, 3 RAR remained in Korea for another 14 months improving its defensive position on the Kansas Line and conducting unit and sub-unit training.

Eventually, however, on 12 October 1954, after serving continuously overseas since its formation in 1945, 3 RAR embarked in MV 'New Australia' for its return home. During the Korean War, 3 RAR casualties were 198 killed, 892 wounded and 38 missing in action.  Perhaps because the Battalion was the first Australian Army unit in action in Korea and was still in the frontline when the fighting stopped, it became as 'Old Faithful' among other units serving there and is still referred to affectionately as such today.

The Korean War blooded the newly created ARA and the battalions of the Regiment. It tested Australian infantry in both mobile operations and in defence; in both maintained the standards inherited from the Second World War veterans and provided experience to a new group of officers and men for future operations.
 
 
 
Australia 1954 - 1957

The Battalion arrived in Brisbane on 20 October 1954 and paraded through the city.   This was followed by similar parades through Sydney and Melbourne. Finally, the unit concentrated at Ingleburn on 1 February 1955.

On Kapyong Day 1956, 3 RAR received the Queen's and Regimental Colours from the Governor General, Field Marshall Sir William Slim, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ.

From Ingleburn the Battalion moved to Holsworthy to undergo three months of intensive training in preparation for its deployment to Malaya and with this training completed embarked on the 'New Australia' in Sydney on 24 September 1957.
 
 
Malaya 1957 - 1959

The next major conflict that the RAR was involved in was the Malayan Emergency. The Australian Government first committed a battalion in 1955 to assist Malayan Government counter incursion of ‘Communist Terrorists’ (CTs). However, it was not until October 1957 that 3 RAR arrived in theatre; it then commenced a period of acclimatisation at the FARELF Training Centre Kota Tingi (later to become the Jungle Warfare School). 3 RAR then moved to company base camps at Kuala Kangsar (BHQ), Lasah, Sungei, Siput, Penang and Lintang.

The unit was engaged on anti-communist terrorist operations in northern Malaya.   Operations began in November 1957 and as a result many terrorist camps and food dumps were located and destroyed. 3 RAR was accredited with killing 14 terrorists and was responsible for the capture of 32 others. Battalion casualties over the two years were two WIA and four who died of non-battle casualties.

The Emergency was a section-level war that was different to the set piece battles of the Korean War. It gave the infantry soldiers a taste of low-level, jungle operations that would develop procedures and techniques later used in Vietnam.
 
 
 
Australia 1959 - 63

On its return to Australia in October 1959, 3 RAR established itself at Enoggera. It remained there for four years during which time it carried out routine training and barracks duties.

In July 1960, the battalion was organised on the ‘Pentropic’ establishment, with five rifle companies and an enlarged headquarters. Based on the US ‘Pentomic’ model that was designed to counter the effects of tactical nuclear weapons on unit cohesion, the new organisation was probably the first real attempt to realise a combined arms battle group. Training as a battalion and a battle group was carried out culminating in divisional exercises in 1961 and 1962. The Pentropic model, which was fraught with problems pertaining to command and control, amongst others, since its inception, was discarded in 1964..

In this interregnum, the Battalion adjusted to peacetime soldiering at a time when the Army was adjusting to the new realities of possible ‘Cold War’ scenarios and slowly modernising itself. In early 1961, company groups conducted recruiting drives throughout Queensland.  Later in 1961 companies conducted armoured/ infantry training at Puckapunyal, Victoria. In 1962, the Aslt Pnr Pl cleared an old wartime minefield in Darwin. During 1961 and 1962 the battalion participated in the Northern Command Army Week celebrations with mechanised parades, assault river crossings and with helicopters demonstrating the mobility of the infantryman. In 1963, E Company moved to Cape York Peninsula to take part in Exercise BLOWDOWN, an exercise simulating the effects of an atomic blast and the subsequent fall-out under tropical conditions.

July and August saw the battalion being air-lifted to Malaya for its second tour of duty there. Boeing 707 jets were used - a far cry from the troopship days of Korea.
 
 
 
Malaya and Borneo 1963-1965


Malaya
Malaya and Borneo 1963 - 1965

Australian troops were again deployed to Malaya after deterioration in the regional situation. At this time, there was growing concern about the spread of Communism in South-East Asia but Australia’s immediate worry was Indonesia. It opposed the creation of the Federation of Malaysia and soon Indonesian backed rebels began infiltrating across the border into Sarawak and Sabah. Thus began the Indonesian Confrontation or Konfrontasi.

Therefore the second tour of Malaya began on July 1963 and 3 RAR again joined 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, this time at Terendak near Malacca. Training for anti-terrorist operations began immediately and the Battalion was honoured to serve for the first time with the Scots Guards, its affiliated British Regiment.

Acclimatisation and training were begun immediately and the first unit exercise was held in October 1963. Brigade exercises were held on the east coast of Malaya near Kuantan. The battalion moved to the Thailand-Malaya border on 20 February 1964 and was again involved in counter-insurgency operations against the communist terrorists. There it was under the command of a Malaysian, BRIG Syed Mohamed Bin Syed Ahmed Alsagolf Amn Pjk. Many old and new terrorist camps were discovered together with communist propaganda and stores. Illegal immigrants and smugglers were also apprehended.

In late October 1964, an aggressive force of Indonesian troops landed at Kesang slightly south of Camp Terendak. The unit was alerted and a force went into action capturing more than 50 enemy without loss to the Battalion.

The next major and distinct phase of the conflict, was the decision to conduct Operation ‘CLARET’, aimed at ambushing Indonesian troops and supply parties close to the border as they infiltrated. Thus during March 1965, a serious threat developed in the Borneo states and the unit was once again alerted and on this occasion deployed in the state of Sarawak relatively close to the capital Kuching.   This operation lasted some five months with the unit returning to Terendak at the end of July. The unit acquitted itself very well on this tour killing approximately 30 enemy troops for the loss of three of our own troops and an Iban tracker.

The operations on the Indonesian border tested and honed the Battalion’s small level jungle skills and the ability to plan sustained complex operations in the jungle. The operations served as an excellent training ground for junior officers and NCOs for the forthcoming Vietnam conflict.
 
 
 
Australia 1965 - 1967

During this time, the situation in South East Asia had worsened and realising that the small Australian Army could not meet a number of commitments, the Australian Government introduced Selective National Service Scheme in October. This would eventually allow the RAR to expand to nine battalions- a far cry from the original three. The newly raised 7 RAR was built around a cadre of 3 RAR veterans.

In September 1965, the Battalion returned to Woodside, South Australia.  The official date of 3RAR's occupation of Kapyong Lines, Woodside, was 14 October 1965 .The Battalion was reformed after leave in 1966 and began training for operational service in South Vietnam.

3 RAR's advance party arrived in Saigon on 12 December 1967.The main body followed on HMAS Sydney departing from Outer Harbour, Adelaide on 16 December 1967. The main body of the Battalion arrived at Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy Province on 27 December 1967.
 
 
 

Vietnam 1st Tour 1967 / 68

Vietnam

stripes

Vietnam 1967 - 1968

Australia’s entry into the Vietnam War had been gradual and grew from the initial commitment of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) in 1962 to the deployment of an initial infantry battalion, 1 RAR in April 1965. This grew again in May 1966 when the two battalion-strong 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) was committed; when 3 RAR arrived in December 1967, 1 ATF consisted of three battalions.

3 RAR’s entry coincided with a new phase of the war. When 1 RAR first deployed it worked with the US forces in Bien Hoa. With the establishment of the 1 ATF, operations had been aimed at pacifying and securing the Phuoc Tuy province. With the launching of the Tet Offensive in January 1968, Australians would enter a new phase of the war where they would often work outside the Phuoc Tuy Province against main force and regular North Vietnamese troops.

After a short period of acclimatisation allowed the Battalion to feel its way in the theatre and to familiarise itself with the operational techniques of the Americans and Vietnamese. The Battalion's first operation against the Viet Cong began with A Company deploying to Baria, the provincial capital, at the start of the Tet Offensive.

Subsequent operations were undertaken in and out of Phuoc Tuy province with the Battalion employed on mine clearing, counter mortar and rocket tasks and on numerous reconnaissance-in-force operations. During 26 and 28 May 1968, 3 RAR, while in a battalion defensive position, withstood two determined assaults by regimental sized units of the North Vietnamese Army at Fire Support Base (FSPB) 'Balmoral'. This symbolised the first concerted ground assault against an Australian FSPB.

The battalion's tour in South Vietnam was the first time National Servicemen had served with 3 RAR on active service. Their devotion to duty was in the highest traditions of the Australian Army and helped to maintain the proud reputation and esprit de corps of 'Old Faithful'. 3 RAR casualties as a result of the year’s fighting were 24 KIA and 93 WIA.

While in Vietnam, 3 RAR once again formed many close ties with supporting arms and services and the RAAF. The Battalion was proud to be associated with 161 Field Battery, RNZA, a 105mm Howitzer battery of the 16 Field Regiment, RNZA that supported 3 RAR during the Battle of Kapyong.
 
 
 
Australia 1968 - 1971

After a period of leave, the Battalion reformed at Woodside in Jan 1969. Here, although remaining under strength, the Battalion continued training in preparation for a possible second tour of Vietnam. Major training activities included exercises at Puckapunyal, Canungra, Shoalwater Bay and the Flinders Ranges.

Other incidents of note included Terence Cuneo completing the painting of the Kapyong Battle, which now hangs in the Officers' Mess and the battalion celebrated its 25th birthday on 15 October 1970.

3 RAR Pipes and Drums raised under the direction of Pipe Major SGT Des Ross. Royal Stewart tartan was chosen due to the Battalion's affiliation with the British Scots Guards. The Queen gave her approval on 19 Nov 74 and the traditional uniform has been worn on ceremonial occasions since.
 
 
 

Vietnam 2nd Tour 1971

Viet

stripes

Vietnam 1971

The second and last tour conducted by 3 RAR was undertaken in and out of the Phuoc Tuy province, with the main emphasis was placed on operations east and north east of Nui Dat to prevent enemy infiltration and attacks around the Zuyen Moc District. During this time 3 RAR had a number of day-long bunker contacts with D445 VC Battalion and local guerilla forces.

On 6-7 June, in southern Long Khanh Province, the Battalion located and attacked an extensive bunker complex occupied by 3rd Battalion, 33rd North Vietnamese Regiment. After a long battle involving artillery, armour, Australian and United States helicopter gunships, the system was found to contain 47 bunkers as well as training areas and kitchens.

In August, the Prime Minister of Australia announced the withdrawal  of 1ATF combat troops. Following a commemorative service and farewell parade on 5 October 1971, 3 RAR sailed for Port Adelaide, South Australia on 6 October 1971. During this tour four 3 RAR soldiers were killed in action.

 
 
 
The Defence of Australia Period 1973 - 1999

After Australia withdrew from Vietnam, defence policies revolved around defending the continent and retreating from the ‘forward defence’ stance that characterised the 1950s and 1960s. The most immediate and visible impact on the battalions of the RAR was the decision by the Labor Government in 1972 to abolish the Selective National Service Scheme. This meant that the nine battalions that existed would have to be reduced in number without the flow of national servicemen to swell the ranks. In the end, the Army decided to link battalions in order to preserve colours and traditions.

3 RAR returned to Woodside where it was to stay for the next ten years.   On its return, 3 RAR found itself limited to low level training activities.  The year 1973 began with 3 RAR being given a temporary role supporting the Army Reserve in South and Western Australia and being reduced to a strength of only 200 men comprising mainly officers and senior NCOs.

The second half of 1973 saw a change of role for 3 RAR. In the Army reorganisation, 3 RAR was designated as a Field Force unit with a proposed strength of 560 all ranks. It was further planned that 3 RAR should make its future home in the Holsworthy area in Sydney, in barracks made vacant by the linking of 5 RAR and 7 RAR. This move was subsequently deferred due to a lack of married quarter accommodation.

In December 1974, the battalion assisted in the task of housing Cyclone Tracy victims evacuated from Darwin to Adelaide. In 1975 saw the battalion receive priority for training and a gradual build up in strength began.  The major activities during this time were aimed at developing infantry/armoured cooperation skills.

Major ceremonial parades were held that year. A Trooping of the Colour was conducted at Torrens Parade Ground on 20 April 1975 to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong. The parade was reviewed by MAJGEN A.L. MacDonald, CB, OBE.  The trooping was the first since the presentation of the Colours in 1956. The Pipes and Drums also paraded for the first time in the dress of the Scots Guards.

Other historically significant ceremonial activities that year included the opening of a memorial stone at the camp entrance on 13 November 1975 and a 30th Birthday Parade on 14 November 1975.  His Excellency, the Governor of South Australia, Sir Mark Oliphant, KBE unveiled the plaque on the stone commemorating 10 years residence of the Battalion at Woodside. The following morning the Colonel Commandant, LTGEN Sir Thomas Daly, KBE, BD, DSO reviewed the birthday parade; this parade was the Colonel Commandant's formal farewell from the Regiment prior to handing over his duties to MAJGEN C.M.I. Pearson, AO, DSO, OBE, MC.

During this long period it conducted normal training activities and was often involved in providing assistance to the civil community. Perhaps the highlight of this peacetime soldiering was the provision of a Royal Guard for HM The Queen’s visit to Adelaide in 1977. After the parade, which went well, a small group of protesters tried to threaten the colours but were dissuaded when the colour escorts assumed the ‘On Guard’ position!

Throughout 1976-1979, the battalion trained extensively in conventional operations and including tours by sub-units to Air Base, Butterworth in Malaysia. A highlight of 1979 was the Kapyong Parade held at Woodside for the first time in many years. The parade was conducted in the format of the 1950’s and the battalion paraded by platoons.

3 RAR’s training continued in mounted infantry, combat team and battle group tactics.  This period was marred by the untimely loss of the CO, LTCOL Paul Mench, who died in a cliff fall in June 1980.

1981 proved to be a significant year in the history of the battalion. Finally, after it had first seriously contemplated a move in 1973, the unit moved to Holsworthy, NSW from Woodside, South Australia, ending a long association with that state. On 4 December 1981, a small but moving farewell parade was held at Kapyong Lines and by February 1982 the last elements of 3 RAR had been relocated in Holsworthy.

3 RAR's new barracks were formally designated Kapyong Lines during the Kapyong Day Parade, held at Holsworthy on 24 April 1982. The parade was reviewed by the CGS, LTGEN Sir Phillip Bennett, KBE, AO, DSO. This had special significance, as LTGEN Bennett was a platoon commander at the Battle of Kapyong.

However it was in 1983 that 3 RAR received news that would have the most dramatic impact on its future and role. Following a period where the Army sought to maintain specialist skills within the RAR, its seemed that 3 RAR would join its sister unit in 1st Brigade, 5/7 RAR, and become mechanised. However around 1980s there was talk of an airborne trial with the objective of expanding the current airborne capability. (6 RAR had formed an airborne company in 1974).

In 1981, 3 RAR had begun sending soldiers to PTS for parachute training and by June 1983, Army Headquarters had approved 3 RAR becoming an airborne battalion. In October 1983, the battalion was designated a 'Parachute Infantry Battalion' and in December 1983, assumed responsibility for the Australian Army's conventional parachute capability.

On 29 August 1985 the battalion was granted permission to wear the dull Cherry Beret, common to all parachute units worldwide. On 12 December 1985 approval was granted to wear parachute wings identical to those worn by the 1st Australian Parachute Battalion during the Second World War.

Work developed on airborne scenarios and possible roles. Soon it became apparent that to be effective, 3 RAR would also need a supporting arms and services with it. To this end, the nascent '‘Parachute Battalion Group” began to be developed. During 1989 the battalion participated in its first Parachute Battalion Group (PBG) exercise to practice SPE/SAE, operations, under the direction of HQ 1 BDE commanded Brigadier Frank Hickling.

1989 also saw C Company deployment rotation of Rifle Company Butterworth, Malaysia. For the period 1990 to 1999, 3 RAR continued to hone its parachute skills and firmly establish the requisite Parachute Battalion Group affiliations. During this period, the battalion also continued to ensure that training did not lose sight of an operational focus and that it was significantly challenging and diverse in order to ensure the capability for which 3 RAR had been created was maintained.
 
 
 

East Timor

NTERFET/East Timor

On 22 September 1999, 3RAR deployed as part of the INTERFET group to East Timor. This was preceded by an initial deployment of the B Coy group from Sydney to Darwin as part of Operation Spitfire. B Coy remained within Australia but deployed with the remainder of the battalion group, to East Timor, on Operation Warden. 3RAR remained in East Timor until March 2000 and its sub-units operated in all locations of the force, initially in Dili, in the Bobonaro District and finally into the Oecussi Enclave.  Following the battalion's return to Australia in April 2000, the unit again found itself in a training and readiness role. In August/September the battalion participated in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as part of Operation Gold. In November 2000, 3RAR participated in Ex SWIFT CANOPY, a PBG parachute exercise under the command of HQ 3 BDE. Throughout 2001 the battalion participated in further parachute exercises, deployed a Rifle Company to Butterworth, Malaysia, and assisted in the security provisions for CHOGM held in Brisbane. It was also warned for a return deployment to East Timor.  3 RAR returned to East Timor in April 2002, as the Australian Battalion (Group) Six (AUSBATTVI), on Operations TANAGER and CITADEL. It witnessed the declaration of Independence of East Timor on 20 May 2002 and provided security overwatch along the Tactical Control Line until handing over to 5/7 RAR (AUSBATTVII) in Oct 02. In July 2002 the battalion officially came under-command of HQ 3BDE as part of the Ready Deployment Force.

 
 
 

Iraq

Iraq 2003

In late 2003, 3RAR was warned to provide a Company Headquarters and a four rifle section platoon for security duties in IRAQ on Operation CATALYST. This group was deployed to Baghdad from December 2003 to May 2004. It provided specific local protection to the Australian Diplomatic Mission in Baghdad.  After a period of nearly four years involvement on operations, 2003 and 2004 saw 3RAR continue to focus on 'warfighting' and 'airborne-insertion' skills. This was successfully achieved through the reintroduction of the annual Airborne seminar, regular parachute continuation training, and both company and battalion group tactical insertion training during Exercises Arnhem, Crocodile and Swift Eagle respectively. The unit also saw the reintroduction of sub-unit deployments to Jungle Training Wing - Tully, and the assessed company activities at the Combat Training Centre (Live) - NQLD.

 
 
 

Solomons

Solomon Islands 2005

In January 2005, Bravo Company was called to deploy to the Solomon Islands on OP ANODE to restore order after the shooting of an Australian Federal Police officer. The company quickly established a presence and restored order. The deployment was marred by the accidental death in March 2005 of one of its soldiers, PTE Jamie Clark - 3 RAR's first operational casualty since the Vietnam War.


 
 
 
2006 – 2007

2006 and 2007 were some of the busiest years in the battalion's history with, in a period of 18 months, the Battalion seeing continuous operational service across three separate theatres over six deployments.  From February 2006 until March 2007 the Battalion returned companies to Baghdad as SECDET IX (C Coy) and SECDET X (A Coy). Both tours were eventful with several contacts, a rocket attack that injured four soldiers, and the death PTE Jake Kovco in a non-battle accident in April 2006 – Australia’s first casualty in Iraq and the subject of intense media attention. 

In March 2006 A Coy was sent to reinforce 1 RAR as violence broke out in the Solomon Island’s capital Honiara. They returned in May 2006 after a successful mission to restore law and order. At Kapyong