8th/9th Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment.
Raised: 31 October 1973.
Disbanded: 30 June 1997.
Re-raised: 24 August 2006.
Location: Brisbane QLD.
Structure: Motorised Battalion.
Lanyard: Slate Grey and Beech Brown.
Regimental March: Band: The Brown and Grey Lanyard. Pipes and Drums: Black Bear Mascot: Merino Ram. John Macarthur.
Battalion History in brief
8/9 RAR was formed on 31 October 1973 by linking 8th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment as part of cutbacks to the army following the end of the Vietnam War. Upon formation the unit was based at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane where it formed part of the 6th Brigade.
In 1976 the battalion provided and exchange company for 6 weeks to Fort Valcartier Canada and in 1973 a company to the US Base in Hawaii
During the 1980s the battalion lost a large number of its personnel to the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment as part of the Operational Deployment Force, but nevertheless undertook the task of maintaining the Army’s amphibious and urban operations specialisations.
RCB ( Rifle Company Butterworth)
The Battalion provided a full strength Rifle Company in rotations of 3 months with other Battalions in the Regiment in Butterworth Malaysia during the communist insurgency 1973 to 1989 also known as the Second Emergency or Communist Insurgency War 1968 to 1989. The Company tasks were to provide protection of the Australian assets and personnell and maintain a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in case there was an attack mounted on the airbase. The QRF requirement ceased in 1989 when the Peace Agreement was signed and ratified by Chin Peng Malaysian Communist Party, the Malaysian and Thailand Government in Hat Yai Thailand.
Since 1989 Australia has maintained a Rifle Company from the Regiment in 3 month rotations as part of the Five Power Defence Agreement which now trains with the Malaysian Armed Forces in a peacetime role.
|Dates||Company and Officer Commanding|
|29 Aug – 27 Nov 73||A Coy 8 RAR, CAPT Guy Bagot(became 8/9 RAR 31 October 1973)|
|25 Nov 74 – 10 Mar 75||B Coy – MAJ Dave Procopos|
|6 Jun – 3 Sep 76||B Coy – MAJ Paul Green|
|4 Sep – 5 Dec 76||C Coy – CAPT Mick Bell|
|30 Nov 78 -13 Feb 79||D Coy – MAJ Peter James|
|10 Sep – 2 Dec 80||C Coy – MAJ Glynn D Williams|
|19 May – 1 Sep 82||B Coy – MAJ Les Boag|
|29 Nov 83 – 21 Feb 84||A Coy – MAJ Anthony Casey|
|4 Jun – 4 Sep 85||B Coy – MAJ Chris R Smith|
|3 Dec 86-4 Mar 87||A Coy – MAJ Damien SM Roche (deceased)|
|31 May – 2 Sep 88||C Coy – MAJ James Dittmar|
|1 Dec 88- 28 Feb 89||A Coy – MAJ John F Edwards|
8/9RAR has assisted in training Recruit and IET soldiers for the PNGDF on a number of occasions commencing in September 1990 to June 1991. C Coy based on the Officer and NCO structure became The Australian Army Training Project Team – Papua New Guinea (AATPT-PNG) after pidgin English, Instructor Development Course and needles deployed to Goldie River Training Depot 20 kms outside Port Moresby where they trained approximately 560 soldiers working in oppressively hot conditions overcoming many problems and situations very different from those in Australia including curfews.
In January 1992, the battalion took on the role of a Ready Reserve unit. Under this scheme Ready Reserve soldiers were posted to the battalion for an initial 12 month full-time period, followed by a further period of four years part-time. On 10 October 1992, the battalion received the Right to the Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane. In 1996, the Ready Reserve scheme was abolished by the incoming government and shortly after this, as part of a restructuring of the Army, 8/9 RAR was disbanded on 30 June 1997.
On 24 August 2006 Prime Minister John Howard announced that the battalion would be re-raised under a new plan to increase the size of the Army. The battalion would continue to be called the 8/9th Battalion and would be based in South East Queensland. On 2 October 2007 the Australian Government announced that 8/9 RAR would be re-raised to be operationally deployable by 2010, and a full battalion by 2011. The battalion would be based in Brisbane at Enoggera Barracks, as part of the 7th Brigade.
The battalion was officially re-raised on 31 October 2007, and was rapidly established as a motorised unit, equipped with Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles. Although originally it was intended that the battalion would consist of two motorised rifle companies, a support company and an administration company, this structure was deemed unworkable and the battalion was subsequently reorganised. By mid-2009, the battalion consisted of 620 personnel organised into one motorised rifle company, one light infantry company, a manoeuvre support company and a combat service support company. Meanwhile, 7th Brigade was transformed into a regular motorised formation, following the transfer of its reserve infantry battalions to 11th Brigade. By 2010, 8/9 RAR was established as a motorised infantry battalion, and with 6 RAR and 2/14 Light Horse (QMI) is one of three deployable Battle Groups in the brigade. By mid-2011, 8/9 RAR had grown to comprise a battalion headquarters, three rifle companies and an operational support company.
In late-February 2010, 130 soldiers from the battalion’s ‘A’ Company took over responsibility of the Timor Leste Task Group, replacing 2 RAR in East Timor. This force was rotated back to Australia in June 2010 after a four-month deployment, and was replaced by ‘B’ Company, 8/9RAR. The battalion has also contributed small numbers of personnel to Operations Slipper, Anode, Pakistan Assist.
8/9 RAR provided two small detachments to operations OKRA in 2015 and 2016. The role was to train, advise and assist the Iraqi Defence Force. The task is regarded as having been successful, particularly the training conducted at the Iraqi School of Infantry.
In January 2012 8/9RAR was the infantry component of MTF 4 the last Mentoring Task Force in Uruzgan province. The role was to mentor the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army in Uruzgan Province from section to brigade headquarters levels. The Australians shared forward outposts with their Afghani counterparts, patrolled with them and supported them on operations. It was normal now for the Afghanis to take the lead as the previous Australian Task Forces had succeeded in imparting all the basics. The Task Force completed its task by June and returned home.
Between 2015 and 2016 8/9RAR provided two detachments as the army component of Operation High Road replacing Operation Slipper which concluded in 2014. The role was to train, assist, and advise the Afghani Defence Force in every way possible in order to improve their capabilities to counter the insurgents and protect the population.
Being in Brisbane 8/9RAR has been involved in many operations in support of the community following natural disasters. One of the first operations was in support of the Brisbane community following severe flooding in 1974 when it assisted with the subsequent disaster relief and clean-up efforts.
While there were many other tasks the 2010-2011 floods, which were the worst in memory required a major call out and was heavily involved in search and rescue efforts during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods, deploying to its emergency support force on short notice to Grantham in the Lockyer Valley. The battalion’ assistance was essential to the success of the operation.
The battalion lanyard is coloured Slate Grey ( RGB 112,128,144) and Beech Brown (RGB 87, 51, 32) and these colours are used elsewhere in sporting uniforms and the like. The official battalion march is The Brown and Grey Lanyard, but the unofficial march is Black Bear with a boisterous ‘OYE’ inserted in the appropriate places. The 8/9 RAR mascot is a stud merino ram officially named John Macarthur (currently John Macarthur VII), after the Australian wool pioneer, but known affectionately to the diggers as ‘Stan the Ram’.