Kenneth Campbell (CAM) McPherson passed away 3rd February 2019

Kenneth Campbell (CAM) McPherson passed away 3rd February 2019

Cam has been a highly regarded and respected member of the 1st Armoured Regiment Association for many years and as a result of his steadfast commitment and highly valued contribution to the Association he was awarded full life membership. He will be sadly missed by all his good friends.

RIP our good friend.

Cam's funeral is to be held at 10.00 am on Monday 11 Feb 2019 at Crawford's Funeral Home, McKenzie St Melton Victoria. The formal notice is to be published in the Herald Sun this coming Wednesday. A wake is to be held at the Melton Country Club, immediately following the Funeral Service. A private cremation service is to be held in Ballarat sometime later in the week. Association members should wear black beret and medals; a Guard of Honour is to be mounted. We require two ushers prior to the service as well as three pall bearers. Volunteers to provide names to the Secretary. Those members intending to be at the funeral should advise the Secretary so that numbers may be provided to the funeral organisers.

Cam’s Army and Civilian history in his own words

Following my enlistment as a regular soldier in June 1968, Basic Training at 1RTB at Kapooka in NSW and posted to the 1st Armoured Regiment at Puckapunyal in VIC, I underwent 3 months Corps Training with HQ Squadron qualifying as a Gunner/Signaller. At the time, B Squadron was currently in the process of deploying to Vietnam and A Squadron was being raised.

After Corps Training, I was posted to 1 Troop, A Squadron under the command of Troop Leader, Lt Frank Meredith as his Radio Operator/Gunner. Following Corps and Field Operations, in March of 1969, I was encouraged by our RSM WOI Ivan Maher, to undergo NCO Training, which I did and qualified in all three subjects, a) thorough knowledge of; Centurion Tanks and M113 APC’s (Armoured Personnel Carriers), b) Man Management and c) Military Law. Even though qualified, I was informed that I would have to wait until an opening occurred before being eligible for promotion.

In July 1969, I embarked with several others as the first contingent of A Squadron on a now defunct Pan Am flight to Vietnam. On arrival at Nui Dat, I spent 3 weeks posted to Forward Delivery Troop Detachment to acclimatize to the conditions before being posted to a combat unit. On the 21st of August '69 I was posted to 1 Troop B Squadron where I found my previous Troop Leader, Lt Frank Meredith from A Squadron in Command.

As a replacement for departing B Squadron Personnel, I replaced the Gunner on the Troop Leaders Tank, Tango One. This position I held until the Troop Leaders Radio Operator, Lance Corporal Tom McLaughlin as a National Serviceman (a School Teacher from Brisbane) had finished his tour of duty and returned to Oz on the 3rd of December 69. After Tom's departure, Frank Meredith moved me back to my old position as his Radio Operator with the rank of Lance Corporal.

During early March 1970 whilst on Operations, the Crew Commander of Tango One Bravo took ill and returned to Nui Dat. I cannot remember the exact details after all this time but there was no available Crew Commander at Forward Delivery Troop Detachment to replace him. Lt Meredith asked me if 1 could take command of Tango One Bravo. I said that I could and did. Several weeks later Lt Meredith recommended my promotion to Corporal and later approved by our Squadron Commanding Officer, Major John Chipman. During mid-April there was a change of Command of the Troop with Lt Meredith promoted to Captain and posted to 1 Psych Ops Unit to be replaced by 2nd Lt Chris Prickett. I remained in command of Tango One Bravo until May.

My Crew at the time were the following, Trooper Bob O'Connor, Trooper Colin Milner,

Trooper John Thatcher

In early May 1970 I was posted to Squadron HQ Troop to take command of their Tank until I returned to Australia on the 29th of July. After several months leave I returned to the Regiment and as a Corporal Instructor I was engaged in Field Training with C Squadron who were next to replace A Squadron in Vietnam. It was my role to simulate battle conditions they would likely encounter and with a team of young Troopers and the input of C Squadron Troop Commanders as to their movements on the Puckapunyal Range, I devised mock Mortar Attacks and Land Mine situations by having my team dig half metre holes in strategic positions advised by Troop Commanders as to where they would be operating, filling the holes with a plastic canister of Diesel and Sump Oil and a charge of C4 Explosive and a detonator with leads camouflaged to a hidden position by me.

As a Tank was in close proximity I would detonate the charge and the land would erupt with a loud "Bang" and lots of smoke and the Tank Crews would carry out their drill as trained.

Following these exercises, I was once again encouraged by our RSM WOl Ivan Maher, to improve my career by furthering my education by enrolling in an Educational Course and enrolling in a clerical course. I applied for and passed an AACE2 Course conducted by HQ Puckapunyal Area Command, followed by a Clerical Course conducted by HQ Area Command at Broadmeadows in Melbourne. On my return to the Regiment I was posted as Corporal Clerk of HQ Squadron. In early 1972 my father suffered a heart attack and with no other family to look after him. My mother died in 1960, and with no brothers or sisters, I applied for a Compassionate Transfer to Melbourne to look after him. My Regiment Commanding Officer, Lt Col Kepper, contacted HQ 3MD and after an investigation by their Welfare Unit, they strongly recommended my transfer. Lt Col Kepper then wrote to me such a warm letter of understanding, informing me of my responsibilities to family and granting an immediate transfer to Melbourne.

As it turned out, I was transferred to the very unit that investigated my father’s state of affairs, the Welfare Unit of HQ 3MD, where I served the remainder of my enlistment as a Sergeant Welfare Investigator.

I am a Mechanical and Structural Engineer. Following my Army service I spent the next 30 years in underground and surface mining. Initially 6 years involved in the construction of the Melbourne underground loop, after which I became a Quarry Manager for a number of companies including CSR, Readymix, Associated Quarries and Symonds Sands

For a number of years I was the Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Melton Sub- Branch and later, Appeals Officer of the Melton sub-branch of the RSL.

I have belonged to many ESO’s and have a passion and commitment the Australian Defence Veterans Party in Canberra to address the issues so long outstanding.