Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Exercise Wallaby 2017 XWB training incident: Sad homecoming

One of our own prepares to come home from Exercise Wallaby 2017. 😢


We wish the crew and passengers aboard 752 a safe journey home.

The incident weighs heavily on our hearts and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the late Third Sergeant Gavin Chan Hiang Cheng. 

To the men and women of the SAF Armour Formation: Stout hearts. Rally round those who need support during this difficult time and complete the rest of the XWB Frames safely and professionally. 

H/T to the Central Queensland Plane Spotting community in Rockhampton for the dedicated yet sensitive coverage of this morning's proceedings. Photos by IAD and Daniel Bishop.


James said...


David, I wonder whether have you compared how MINDEF respond to training accidents, esp those with fatalities, over time? My impression is that this one is handled with particular sensitivity and empathy. This honor guard for example, is this the norm for all fallen soldiers? Flying NOKs into a foreign ex area within 24 hrs, was that how it was managed for the Arty incident in NZ?

It may come across as callous of me to pose these; at the same time, as the citizenry plays an increasingly important constituency in shaping our NS policies, comms management and media management becomes more and more important, won't you agree?

David Boey said...

Yes, an active citizenry has changed the information management landscape.

You may have read this piece:

Re: Thunder Warrior. Checking up on this & past o/seas accidents. Will respond in due course.


Unknown said...

The impression n culture of the SAF, RSAF n RSN is one of cover up when there are accidents n deaths.

David Boey said...

Hi Jim,
The impression, which I too have heard friends and colleagues raise from time to time, does not gel with timely updates from MINDEF/SAF on training deaths of personnel while on duty in-country, or when sent overseas.

The impression was likely seeded from the time NS began in 1967 through to the 1970s. During that pre-internet era, word of mouth could have led to the mindset that there were unreported training deaths.

Anyone who makes time to sift through the National Archives would find newspaper stories throughout that period of training deaths - some reported in a rather grisly manner.

Bear in mind MINDEF Public Affairs (now MCO) wasn't formed till 1979, so there were more than 11 years since NS began when incorrect points of view were left unchallenged, or were not responded to decisively, and rumours not debunked. My sense is that some of these impressions were handed from one generation of NSmen to another.

Re: Cover ups. Even in the 1970s, there were Coroners Inquiries convened to investigate military fatalities.

Best regards,