President of the Rockhampton National Servicemen branch, John Hogan, reflects on his time in the army. The Nashos will play a key role in the Anzac march.
President of the Rockhampton National Servicemen branch, John Hogan, reflects on his time in the army. The Nashos will play a key role in the Anzac march. Chris Ison

Nashos lead Anzac Day parade

ROCKHAMPTON’S John Hogan and his ex-national servicemen colleagues will take centre stage today when they lead the Anzac Day march through the city’s streets.

The ex-servicemen, known as Nashos, have been given the privilege of commemorating the 60th anniversary of the first national service scheme where young men had to do compulsory service in the military forces.

For John, who is the president of the Rockhampton branch of Nashos, today’s involvement will be an honour.

Almost 300,000 young Australian men were called up for service during two national service schemes from 1951 to 1959 and again from 1965 to 1972, to counter the perceived communist threat in Asia.

National service was the way governments supplemented recruitment in the armed forces in times of war and conflict when voluntary enlistment was not sufficient.

John said the discipline and respect he learnt during his time in the army had served him well.

“My number came out of the barrel in 1967, but because of my study and teaching position I did not arrive at Singleton to begin my national service until 1969,” John said.

He said he was quickly selected for an officer’s course. “We were expertly instructed in all aspects of military drill and parade ground performances, weapon training and live firing of all available weapons, including mines and rocket launchers,” John said.

“Each day was full-on and all activities were intensive and regarded as extremely important.

“We were constantly reminded of our probable later postings – essentially, we were being trained as young leaders for a tour of duty to Vietnam.”

He said after graduation he was posted as an infantry platoon commander at 3rd Battalion, based at Singleton. While there he represented the battalion in rugby union, before being discharged at Enoggera, Queensland in December, 1970.

Though John didn’t see action overseas, plenty of his Nasho colleagues did.

Anzac Day Committee Chair Rose Swadling said it was fitting the ex-Nashos lead the march.

“We have a strong band of ex-Nashos in the Rockhampton region and it is fitting that they lead the march on the 60th anniversary of the first national service intake,” she said.

Rockhampton’s Anzac Day march steps off at 10am from the corner of Alma and Archer streets and concludes at Riverside Park for a public service at 10.45am.

Marmor flag

AN Australian flag brought home from Afghanistan by a Central Queensland soldier will be flown at this afternoon’s Anzac Day service at Marmor.

While the soldier cannot attend the service because he has been assigned

elsewhere, his parents will be there. The flag is now in the care of the Rockhampton Regional 125 Army Cadet Unit. The soldier had not long returned from active duty in Afghanistan before his latest assignment.

Showers expected

The weather bureau has forecast a shower or two today, so it might be worth having an umbrella handy.

The temperature is expected to reach 28 degrees.



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