Monday, March 22, 2010

Stephanie Zagalak Photography

I have known Stephanie Zagalak since 2009 and I have found her photography work to be of the highest standard. Stephanie has a broad range of expertise and her areas of interest includes: sport, music, small scale, and landscape photography. SmugMug provide an excellent sales service for all of Stephanie's works, and I have made multiple purchases from them, which have certainly met my satisfaction. For more information on Stephanie and her work please refer to this link:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All Missing Australian Defence Force Personnel From The Vietnam War Repatriated

Source: Australian War Memorial
A total of 521 Australian service personnel died as a result of the Vietnam War (496 Australian Army; 17 RAAF; eight RAN), as well as seven Australian civilians. This number includes six servicemen who, by the end of the war, were classified "missing in action – presumed dead" in four separate incidents. The remains of all six have now been located and repatriated to Australia.

Lance Corporal Richard Harold John (“Tiny”) PARKER (pictured left), 24, of St Leonards, NSW, and Private Peter Raymond GILLSON (pictured right and below), 20, of Holsworthy, were both regular army soldiers with 1 RAR. On 8 November 1965, during Operation Hump in Bien Hoa province, both soldiers were observed by their comrades to be hit repeatedly by enemy automatic weapons fire at close range. Despite brave attempts by other soldiers, their bodies could not be recovered, owing to heavy enemy fire that pinned down their company. The remains of Gillson and Parker were located in May 2007 and were repatriated to Australia in June 2007.

Private David John Elkington FISHER (pictured left), 23, was a national serviceman from Balgowlah Heights, NSW. He served with No. 3 Squadron, SAS. On 27 September 1969, Fisher was a member of an SAS patrol that had contacts with parties of Viet Cong in south-eastern Long Khanh province, about 30 kilometres northeast of the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat. During a "hot extraction" by helicopter Fisher fell about 60 metres into dense jungle from a rope attached to the helicopter. He was believed killed but searches over six days failed to recover his body. Fisher’s remains were located in southern Vietnam in August 2008 and were repatriated to Australia in October that year.

Pilot Officer Robert Charles CARVER (below right, first left), 24, of Toowoomba, Qld, and Flying Officer Michael Patrick John HERBERT (below right, right hand side), 24, of Glenelg, SA, were both career air force officers in No. 2 Squadron, RAAF. On 3 November 1970 their Canberra bomber disappeared from a radar screen while returning from a night bombing mission in the northern I Corps Tactical Zone of South Vietnam. An extensive aerial search of the area failed to find any trace of the aircraft or crew and was called off after three days. In April 2009 the wreckage of the Canberra bomber was located in thick jungle in Quang Nam Province near the Laotian border. Human remains discovered near the site were identified in July 2009 as those of Carver and Herbert and were repatriated to Australia on 31 August 2009 for burial in separate military funerals.
Lance Corporal John Francis GILLESPIE (pictured left), 24, of Carnegie, Vic., was serving as a helicopter medic with 8 Field Ambulance. On 17 April 1971, during a "dustoff" (medical evacuation) operation in the Long Hai hills in Phuoc Tuy province, Gillespie's helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. His body could not be recovered from the burning wreckage. The crash site was located in February 2004. In December 2007 human remains discovered at the site were positively identified as those of Gillespie and were repatriated to Australia for burial.
My comments:
I would like to thank the Vietnamese and Australian Government, and all private parties who contributed towards the successful return of the above mentioned Australian Defence Personnel. At last they are all home. Finally, a special thank you to Mr Jim Bourke, founder of the group Operations Aussies Home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Peter Moylan: A Great Australian Sports Story

If I told Australian sports fans that there was a test cricket player, who played cricket for Australia between 1996 and 1997, then disappeared until 2005 / 2006, returning reinvented and almost instantly a brilliant success, the story would be embraced by every newspaper in the country. There would also be television interviews, a few documentaries and a movie deal. All that might be dedicated to Australian marquee sports like cricket, Australian Rules Football and rugby league. Major League Baseball is played on a bigger stage than any domestic sporting competition in Australia, yet Australian baseball participation doesn't receive the same attention, as it is in the shadow of many other sports. Peter Moylan was a talented baseball player as a teenager, signing a professional contract with the Minnesota Twins, and playing within their farm system in 1996 and 1997. Moylan hadn't even turned 20-years old when professional baseball ceased to be his occupation. Like many baseball players, who find themselves contemplating life after the game, Moylan had to reconnect himself with normal life, finding a job as a pharmaceutical salesman in Australia, and as time went on having a family. During this time Moylan just played baseball for fun, but found himself representing Victoria in the Claxton Shield. Trouble with his throwing arm made pitching challenging, so he concentrated on hitting and playing some 1st base. Perhaps a flash of genius came over Moylan or a stubborn refusal to accept that his pitching days were over. So he reinvented his pitching delivery to sidearm or submarine style. Moylan quickly found himself on the Australian 2006 World Baseball Classic team. With a fastball clocked at 96 mph he struck out respected players Bobby Abreu and Magglio Ordonez, both of whom are noted for their formidable hitting at the Major League level in the US. But the quantum leap was far from over for Moylan, he was signed by the Atlanta Braves and he made his Major League debut on the 12th of April 2006. This was followed by a sensation 2007, with an ERA of 1.80 and a very reliable 2009 campaign. Moylan is highly regarded within the Braves pitching bullpen and his success is perhaps one of the most inspiring Australian baseball stories. Many people have suggested that Peter Moylan's story is one that I should aim to pen, and I have read on some publicly amendable Internet encyclopedia's that I have approached Moylan regarding such a project. I can confirm that the only contact I have had with Moylan was last year, when I sent him a copy of The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento. If the opportunity came up, I would be thrilled to pen Moylan's story, but as far as I'm concerned his life experiences and baseball endeavours continue to unfold, and I hope he has a decade of Major League pitching ahead of him. Perhaps once he has completed his baseball journey he might be interested in putting it all in a book. Until that day comes he will continue to proudly fly the Australian flag in Major League Baseball. To purchase a copy of my baseball themed books please refer to these links: Boomerang Baseball cheapest seller and The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento cheapest seller.