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Collapse Issue 435 - 25 Dec 2017Issue 435 - 25 Dec 2017
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Liquor and Gaming to review interests at Sporties
Waterfront group asks Council to oppose development
Dredging 'largely ineffective', says residents' group
Christmas petrol prices consistently higher here
Council asks for beach erosion funds
Fitness stations installed by community association
Charge cover 85 per cent of centre costs
Council seeks report on asbestos disposal best practice
Illegal camping and littering targeted
Library work on schedule
Surf club stalwart dies
Council awaits lagoon plan approval
Grants for community groups
Woy Woy masterplan due in 2020
Community carols on Hardys Bay waterfront
Carols at Dusk to be held at Peninsula Village
Community group granted rate relief
Surf club to support Coast Shelter youth cottage
Beach wheelchairs available for disability use
Peninsula works program boosted by $2.2 million
General manager will replace chief executive officer
Council sets up six advisory committees
Apprentice completes jewellery certificate
Holiday reading book sale
Car break-ins investigated
Council offices to close for Christmas
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Too much traffic in Hillview St already
Aerial view is misleading
Why have guidelines if the council doesn't follow them
Jetskis threaten peace of tourist destination
Rates for our roadworks have gone elsewhere
Only system changes could make councillors responsive
Party councillors have been missing in action
ABC Radio Nation is under threat
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
New doctor joins skin cancer clinic
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Chris Masters speaks of our forces in Afghanistan
Artist creates Christmas wildlife theme display
Children's activities at Pearl Beach in January
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
More than $20,000 raised at Woy Woy
Deadly awards at Woy Woy campus
Building work at Woy Woy over the holidays
Ettalong announces next year's leaders
Teachers leave Umina school
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Jemma and Rachel named for State squad
Surf club to get new tractor
Life membership for services to zone bowls
Last charity bowls day for the year
Jemma takes leader role
Mixed pairs final
Sea kayaker nominated for award

Chris Masters speaks of our forces in Afghanistan

Acclaimed journalist Mr Chris Masters, of Pearl Beach, addressed the Rotary Club of Woy Woy about his latest book.

Coming from a family famed for its journalism skills, Mr Masters was educated at Macquarie Boys School at Parramatta getting his leaving certificate in 1965.

He joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation shortly after leaving school and in 1983 he joined the Four Corners program as an investigative journalist.

He remains the program's longest-serving journalist.

He then changed his style by writing books on a range of sometimes controversial topics including crime, corruption and religion.

Mr Masters' new book is about the Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan.

He said he found it a difficult subject to research because of the secretive nature of special services.

Writing the book was a 10-year effort.

He said he believed there was something special about Australian soldiers who come from an open society that believes in the fair go.

Mr Masters became interested in the war in Afghanistan, which he said had become Australia's longest war.

He said he had travelled to Afghanistan three times starting in 2007.

The humanitarian side of the conflict attracted his attention and by 2010 this had changed to a mentoring and training issue so that the locals could gain control of their country.

He said he also wrote the book because he felt that the current generation knew more about the first and second world wars that their grandfathers had fought in than the one that their children were occupied in today.

The bravery of the young troops who were going out to the villages with the mantra of "courageous restraint" with their fingers off the trigger was commendable, Mr Masters said.

He saw for himself how in 2010 an improved explosive device caused the death of some of his young compatriots in the army camp and that reinforced his determination to write about what was going on in Afghanistan.

He said he was fortunate in 2011 to meet some of the special forces at Whyalla, where in the desert, mud brick fortresses such as those in Afghanistan were built for training purposes.

Afghan immigrants were used to give authenticity to the experience.

According to Mr Masters, there were essentially three groups of special forces: the Special Air Services Regiment, the Commandos and the Special Operations Engineer Regiment who defuse the bombs.

One of the characters who feature in the book is Mr Albert Trinh, a boat person and a son of a boat person.

He grew up in Melbourne and decided to join the army as a way of giving back to Australia.

He survived four near death experiences in Afghanistan.

In combat, on one occasion he found himself surrounded by red smoke which had come from a canister in the front of his chest armour that had been hit by a bullet.

Another time he stepped on a detonator which exploded but did not set off the main charge.

Later he was supported in combat by a US Apache helicopter that unfortunately fired its guns too close to his team and he was the only one not injured.

The final time was during the biggest mission the Australians were engaged in when he was hit in the chest and invalided out but again he survived.

He said it was interesting to see the way that ordinary people stepped up in extraordinary circumstances.

To combat the income from drugs, it was important not to interfere with the livelihood of the average farmer but to somehow stop the income being used by the Taliban for combat, he said.

The key was to attack the drugs distribution after the farmers had been paid.

They therefore had to take on the drug lords who had their own defence force to prevent loss of their drugs which were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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