2022 launched Point & Shoot onto the national stage, sharing veterans stories from across the country.
We know firsthand veterans need to be interacting with their communities to keep that strong sense of belonging they had during military service. A sharing and recognition of military experience simultaneously grows societies maturity and understanding of service and combat while helping eliminate the stigma veterans can feel about their experiences.
‘A soldier cannot fully return to their family and community until they are able to share their experiences’
My dad, Glen Peck (dec.) and his mates the night they flew out to Vietnam.
I have memories of seeing this photo on our fridge at home growing up. While I didn’t grasp it at the time, I now realise it had pride of place. This photo really captures the mateship between Dad and his mates and I see the same similarities between my veteran husband and his veteran mates.
(c/- Emily – daughter)
Glen Peck – Vietnam. 1968
This is a photo taken by my dad Glen Peck (dec.) of a teammate at a freshly cut landing zone (LZ) waiting for extraction after finishing a patrol.
Dad used to talk about patrolling, looking for mines and booby traps and how they would then cut an LZ to be flown out, often with the use of explosives.
(c/- Sarah Marsh – daughter)
Glen Peck – Vietnam. 1968
‘Dinner on Patrol’
One of the memorable things about being deployed overseas on operations is getting to experience foreign cultures; their customs, traditions and how the locals live day to day.
Ash Werner – Solomon Islands. 2012
This image represents the task of overwatch for the Australian Cavalryman in Afghanistan. Here my gunner had identified a change in the pattern of life and I was midway through assessing the atmospherics while discussing options with my 2IC when this photo was taken.
Ben Horton – Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan. 2009
A heartbreaking fact about fighting insurgent wars is that civilians, who are part of the “frontline” wear the brunt of the devastating impacts. This grandfather and grandson stopped us mid-patrol, pleading for help after their extended family had been all but wiped out by the anti-coalition militia.
Of the things a soldier brings home from war, it is the impact on the most vulnerable civilians, those you are there to protect, that often cuts deepest.
Harry Moffitt – Khod Valley, Afghanistan. 2005
Whilst conducting night patrols out of FOB Locke, we spent the late afternoons relaxing, playing cricket. The sledging was at its best. ‘Bowl him a hand grenade!’, ‘Watch out, it explodes off a good length here!’, ‘Mine-d your step!’
Unfortunately, Sean McCarthy the photographer of this image was killed in action and the bowler, my interpreter, lost his legs only hours after this photo was taken.
Harry Moffitt – Chora Valley, Afghanistan. 2008
Up at 0400 and after 8 straight hours of combat operations in enemy dominated territory, the sound of US Blackhawks was most welcome. However, our work was not complete. After 2 hours crammed inside an overloaded helicopter, we reacted to a high value target who presented on the way home.
Within an hour of extraction out of the Khas Uruzgan area the troop were conducting more operations very close to sunset. Just another long day.
Harry Moffitt – Khod Valley, Afghanistan. 2011
This was my most memorable ANZAC Day. It was entirely authentic; paying our respects rather privately.
The cenotaph was built by members of the company with no media coverage or speeches delivered by those who had never served.
Anonymous – RAAF Base Butterworth, Malaysia. 2020
Some mates at a Fire Support Base (FSB) going out on a listening post for the night.
Spending the night out of the perimeter in a four-man team was dangerous. They travelled light in case they needed to fall back to base but still took a machine gun if the enemy turned up in force. The night listening post was an important job to give the FSB early warning in case of an attack.
Rex Targett – Vietnam. 1969
Bringing live entertainment to the troops was a positive way to maintain and reinforce group spirit to help offset the harsh realities of battle.
Many famous and less-well known Australian entertainers volunteered to perform in South Vietnam despite the obvious dangers. Between 1967 and 1971 over 50 troupes left Australia to perform in Vietnam.
Rex Targett – Vietnam. 1969
Al Faw Palace, the Australian headquarters for JTF633. As part of the Australian drawdown in Iraq we moved the HQ to the UAE. I took this picture on the last night HQ operated from this building.
Al Faw Palace was commissioned by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s to commemorate the Iraqi forces re-taking of the Al-Faw Peninsula during the Iran-Iraq conflict.
Ian (Gooch) Cummings – Iraq. 2009
As the RSM of JTF 633 I had joined a patrol from 7 RAR. We were on route to Cemetery Hill and paused for a navigation check in a large poppy field. Shortly after, we had a Troops in Contact where several Taliban fighters were engaged.
To me this picture shows the stark contrast as to why we were there. A soldier in a strange country in the midst of a beautiful flowering poppy field, of which the profits from the opium sale would most likely return to our enemy.
WO1 Ian (Gooch) Cummings (Ret) – Chora Valley, Afghanistan. 2009
This artwork provided a welcome break in colour from what was often a rather bleak, daunting and muddy landscape.
Contributing to the mission to train, advise and assist the Iraqi Military to conduct counter insurgency operations against the Islamic State was extremely worthwhile and rewarding.
James Crosby – North Baghdad, Iraq. 2019
This is a photo of me at the Kibeho Internally Displaced Peoples camp captured the day before the massacre which killed between 4000-5000 of its inhabitants.
Recalling the unimaginable carnage after the killing came to an end, ‘I couldn’t believe they could do this to their own people. The RPA seemed to show no remorse for that they did.’
Anonymous – Kibeho, Rwanda. 1995
Australian soldiers from the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) ascending toward the peak of a thermally active volcano.
The scarred landscape and haze is the result of the natural volcanic activity, steam and sulphur gas.
Anonymous – Savo Island, Solomon Islands. 2012
This image is of my Dad, Jack Roughley (dec.) with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) conducting hand grenade practice with the local ‘Civilian Irregular Defence Group’ (CIDG).
I think this image typifies the type of soldier this country produces; fit, professional and courageous. A tradition that is still alive in us today.
(c/- Chris Roughley – son)
Jack Roughley – Ashau Valley, Vietnam. 1964
Warrant Officer 2 Jack Roughley, CSM of A Company, 6RAR, Qld, contacts his platoon headquarters from an Armoured Personnel Carrier sweeping after retreating Viet Cong (VC). The pursuit followed a crushing defeat of the enemy at Long Tan.
6RAR and supporting elements destroyed 250 VC in the battle during Operation Smithfield.
(c/- Chris Roughley – son)
Jack Roughley – Vietnwm. 1966
A short break after patrol through the streets of Bidoa.
Even in periods of respite you never really switched off. You were always on edge with constant threat always around the corner especially in complex urban terrain. You couldn’t relax until you were back in a secure compound.
Richard Heard – Somalia. 1993
Operations with 5 Platoon B Coy on the streets of Baidoa. The scenes of poverty and starvation were confronting but I have positive memories of the trip as a whole.
I remember one night we did a roadside standing patrol and the rest location was in undulating sand to the rear. The wind picked up during the night and exposed the sand to reveal we were laying between shallow buried corpses.
Troy Simmonds – Somalia. 1993
I had just turned 21 and never seen anything like it. This was a food convoy and these days were long, difficult and sometimes very emotional. The air was so thick due to the mass of people trying to break lines and get through to the grain that you almost could not breathe.
We had to try to bring hope to people who simply had none. The smells and sights just left you speechless and asking why.
Stephen McCaig – Somalia. 1993
The picture was taken at the local orphanage, this little girl one of the many victims of the civil war and famine.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the humanitarian deployment, Op Solace to Somalia.
Gary Ramage – Baidoa, Somalia. 1993
With the country torn by feudal conflict and years of famine these mothers watched as soldiers of the 1st Battalion eagerly came to bring “peace and order to the chaos”.
On our arrival, Baidoa was drab, solemn and desperate. During our presence a physical and social vibrance emerged, a “victory” won by a willingness to appreciate the people’s plight and ability to exhibit our true spirit and genuine nature.
Alex Tessieri – Baidoa, Somalia. 1993
Dog – Richa
This is Richa, an SASR military working dog (MWD).
Richa survived 5 years in combat before retiring in 2011 and passing in 2017
Ask any SASR soldier from that era and they will tell you that few dogs have impacted the lives of others so strongly.
Anonymous – Afghanistan. 2007
This is a photo of Caesar, one of eleven combat tracking dogs who served during the Vietnam War.
The dogs, along with their handlers, two visual trackers, a machine-gunner, and a signaller, made up a tracker team. Tracker teams were called out to follow enemy trails or locate suspected enemy hideouts after a contact.
John Quane – Vietnam. 1968
‘If you’re not 5 minutes early you’re 5 minutes late’
Within a Military environment punctuality holds an extremely high level of importance. This common phrase is a reminder to always be in control of your own time.
Matthew Jenkins – South Australia. 2010
This image was taken while conducting airborne door gunnery training off the coast of Dili.
In my downtime whilst deployed I completed an online digital photography course and would keep my newly purchased Nikon D90 camera in the Blackhawk crewman grenade bins using it as much as possible to capture our experiences.
Clay Marks – East Timor . 2011
In an age of email and social media, a few of us found pleasure in using the UK military Bluey aerogram to keep in touch with loved ones. Here I am penning a handwritten Bluey to my wife while resting against the rear fuselage of an Australian CH47D Helicopter.
This image remains one of my favourites taken during two tours with TG633.7 and Rotary Wing Group One.
(Image captured by Sgt Lee Maloney)
Jason Otter – Afghanistan. 2008
Returning from Kampong Cham crossing the Mekong River as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.
Sitting in front of our Rover with the biggest smile, you couldn’t help but wonder how this young girl could smile so freely after witnessing the devastating effect of violence by the Khmer Rouge.
Wayne Ryan – Cambodia. 1991
One of the tasks we performed between jungle operations was Road Runner Patrol, where diggers would load into APC’s and head up Highway 15 as escort for a supply convoy.
During one patrol, we passed this sign set back just beyond the edge of the road. Through the trees, about 30 metres beyond the sign we caught a glimpse of a building and a few Vietnamese children. Proclaiming a simple but sad message, this sign typified the mess Vietnam was in.
Brian Cunningham – Vietnam. 1968
‘The Forgotten People’
Between Vietnam and Cambodia in a small enclave were the remnants of the Montagnards, wanted by neither country.
Eventually 398 people in the Mondolkiri province were resettled in the USA. For this young girl, a monkey was her only toy.
Wayne Ryan – Mondolkiri Province Cambodia. 1992
Taken on ANZAC Day just a few months into an almost year long tour I reflect on this image regularly, each time with the same consistent thoughts:
‘Service’; a thankless core part of my personality that has always motivated me to deploy. Yet, I have struggled to feel proud, a level of shame at the thought that my life became more valuable than friend or foe in the pursuit of security. Why did I return and not them?
Anonymous – Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan. 2010
I turned 19 laying in the mud manning a night observation post on a known smugglers route. Tasked with catching them in the act the smuggler’s vessel chugged into the bay before spinning around and disappearing, tipped off at the last second by an unseen local in the jungle.
I settled back into the slop and sandflies and as midnight ticked over my section commander whispered into the radio, ‘Happy Birthday mate’.
Luke Richmond – East Timor. 2003
There are a lot of roles in the military that require manual task proficiency, involving hours and hours of repetition until the tasks becomes second nature.
We trained long and hard for 18 months as part of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Domestic Counterterrorism Unit. Everything from air, land and sea drills to coordinated assaults and driver training to provide security capability.
Mark Direen – Sydney. 2000
The brick and mud walled homes in Afghanistan were difficult to fight in. Every compound you entered could have civilian families, women, children or enemy fighters. And some had all.
Often you couldn’t tell enemy from friendly except for the guns and look of hate or despair on their faces.
Mark Direen – Afghanistan. 2007
Rest while remaining ready is not an easy task whilst patrolling.
One of the many images that reminds me of the mates on operation that always have your back.
Joshua Thomas – Afghanistan. 2012
This image was taken whilst training with 1st Tank Battalion United States Marine Corps at 29 Palms California on Exercise Gold Eagle, training with the M1A1 Abrams tanks.
Most of the Battalion deployed to Afghanistan a few months after this exercise as part of Obama’s extra 30 000 more troop commitment.
Adam Lea – California USA. 2009
This picture of the cockpit of a Bell UH-1 Iriquois helicopter, also fondly known as a ‘Huey’, was taken while plowing through tropical downpour returning from patrol with A Company, 3 RAR.
The courage and dexterity of the New Zealand pilots that flew this Huey were second to none, extracting us in extreme weather where the Blackhawks were unable to fly.
Christopher Whitehouse – East Timor. 2008
My mates from 6 Platoon, Bravo Company, 1 RAR during a force protection task for Op Resolute Support to the Afghan National Army.
Always looking out for each other, your mates are your family when you are on deployment.
Slats – Afghanistan. 2015
On ‘the long walk’ to defuse an improvised explosive device.
This image captures the polarity between the amazing countryside of Afghanistan and the reality of prolonged war. Shortly after this photo was taken, we were contacted by insurgents and had to take cover. Late that afternoon, we lost an Australian combat engineer (Jamie Larcombe) to insurgent gunfire. Lest we forget.
Sean O’Rourke – Afghanistan. 2011
After rounding up gang members and recovering weapons taken from the Timor Leste Police armoury, we stopped at a forward operating base using the old Indon Jail.
I was taken aback by the artwork and how cold the cells were. After talking to locals I found that it was a place of many deaths in custody. A very chilling and humbling experience.
David Smith – Dili, East Timor. 2006
A huge operation on our own soil. Here, transporting firefighters to assist with the intense fires.
As we dropped down into the smoke on approach, none of us were ready for what we would see. The entire aircraft light up orange. While it looks bright there was very little light; the pilots were incredible flying through zero visibility. One of my proudest moments being a member of our Air Force.
Chris Dickson – Operation Bushfire Assist, NSW. 2020
Our engineers are the frontline to our frontline, always walking into the unknown. There is no quick way to get from place to place in Afghanistan. Every trip, every patrol had to be planned and coordinated while not knowing what lay ahead. To move only a couple of km’s long would take hours, clearing for IED’s.
These guys are the brave of the brave; walking, often taking the first rounds coming in and clearing the path for the rest of us.
Chris Dickson – Afghanistan. 2011
Two ‘Jingle Trucks’ entering the Multi National Base, full of wood for the winter and about to be searched by ED dogs.
The term is derived from the jingling sound the trucks make due to the chains and pendants hanging from their bumpers. The decorations and colour are such a contrast to the dust, heat and conflict in Afghanistan.
Chris Vardanega – Tarin Kot, Afghanistan. 2013
This image was taken on a 4 week RAAF Ground Defence exercise in the Woomera summer.
When you spend so much time with your section out field doing night patrolling you learn to tell people by the small detail; how they walk, their webbing etc. After 24 years I can still tell my mate by his stance.
Chris Vardanega – South Australia. 1998
The early weeks were tough on the troop after striking an IED and killing Poppy (TPR Pearce).
As the Troop Sergeant and Senior Soldier it was a huge burden that I tried not to share. This constantly had me being ever so vigilant. I think it also provided me with a distraction to such a huge blow within our first patrol.
Anonymous – Chora Valley, Afghanistan. 2007
A section of the Afghanistan National Army soldiers returning to base after an operation.
This image captures the various faces of soldiers returning from the field; the look of focus, relief and fatigue as they stride off the landing zone to barracks.
Ken Bullman – Afghanistan. 2013
Whilst on a night patrol in the village of Glai we met Victor, one of the village elders. Victor worked with the Aussies when he was a young boy, carrying the bags for Australian Soldiers who were fighting the Japanese. He also fought the Indonesians for East Timor’s independence.
I returned to Timor in 2018 and was able to track Victor down. He remembered our meeting and was generous enough to invite me to stay at his house. Unfortunately he died last year.
Mathew Bell (MRyan Photography) – East Timor. 2008
‘The Girl on the Bridge’
I took this photo as we returned to base after a compound raid. What captured my eye was the innocence of the young girl crossing the bridge on her own whilst being overshadowed by the Afghan National Army Soldiers passing. The girl and the soldiers are then both shadowed by the powerful Afghanistan mountains in the background.
Mathew Bell (MRyan Photography) – Deh Rawud, Afghanistan. 2012
I spent a vast amount of time as an upper deck lookout on HMAS Parramatta during my 2005 MEAO deployment. If quiet fell around sunset or sunrise, I gave myself the challenge of capturing a bird in flight heading towards the sun.
Getting this image took me four months and hundreds of photos, the dhows (Arab sailing vessels) in the background were a lucky bonus.
Zoe Martin – Middle East Area of Operations, Persian Gulf. 2005
Casevac of an Australian Soldier outside An Nasiriyah in the early hours of the morning wounded by an IED strike on a lead bushmaster whilst on patrol.
Surviving the blast he was evacuated to Germany but sustained serious life changing injuries.
Brendan Allen – Iraq. 2008
‘9 Liner… Wait Out!’
Blackhawk helicopter landing at Tarin Kowt with the first casualty from my unit 1 RAR on our Afghan deployment in 2009. As a medic, seeing one of our mates come in on a helicopter really hit home and made it all very real.
Greg Ryan – Afghanistan. 2009
Hugging the permanent watercourses like well manicured golf fairways, the green zone was a blessing and a life source to the local Afghans.
For the Taliban it provided a tactical advantage due to ease of concealment amongst the local population. To coalition forces the green zone could be a curse, presenting us with complex terrain near impossible to dominate.
BJ Pearce – Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. 2011
The setting of the sun whilst on extended Vehicle Mounted operations signified the beginning of night routine. This consisted of rolling out the swag and picket duty after a long day operating in the green belt. Or, the completion of orders and gearing up to head down into the valley for night time operations disrupting the enemy.
T – Mirabad Valley, Afghanistan. 2007
When reminscing on my time in Afghanistan, the word contrast come to mind. The desolate deserts to the lush jungle like green belts. The happy children and hospitality of the Afghan people to the ruthlessness and violent extremes of the Taliban. The dry hot fighting season to the bitter hand numbing winters. The intense contacts paralled by the monotonous tasks in conflict such as hours spent on picket looking into the desert or keeping the burn pit fire going.
T – Chora Valley, Afghanistan. 2007
Parade for visiting South Vietnamese president Thieu with Brigadier Graham and 23 Battalion at Nui Dat Australian task Force HQ.
Although in a war zone, there was no guard on the president’s helicopter so we of 9 Squadron aircrew crawled all over his UH1B to compare it with ours.
Alastair Bridges – Nui Dat, Vietnam. 1967
2019-2020 Op Bushfire Assist supporting the fire ravaged NSW countryside. Clearing teams moving through the Wollemi National Park cleaning up roads blocked and damaged by the fires.
Andrew Conroy – NSW. 2020
This image was taken whilst on an operation in the Baluchi Valley. The sky and visuals were amazing, no photo could do it justice.
It almost felt like we could have been on another planet that evening; the calm between the chaos of war.
Sean O’Rourke – Afghanistan. 2010
Two 9 Squadron RAAF crewmen (Bruce Shearer and Fred Monahan) with pilot Al Bridges holding captured Viet Cong (VC) equipment, blood still wet.
This was part of Operation Broken Hill, a search and destroy operation in the Hat Dich area of Phuoc Tuy province.
Alastair Bridges – Nui Dat, Vietnam. 1967
Two members of Mentoring Task Force 4 practicing their drills with an 84mm Carl Gustav on the range.
While the 84mm was designed as an anti-armour weapon, it’s main use in Afghanistan was against the centuries old mud brick buildings. If we were taking fire from an enemy within these buildings, our rifle ammunition wasn’t strong enough to penetrate the dense walls but the 84mm would do the trick.
Mathew Bell (MRyan Photography) – Deh Rawud, Afghanistan. 2012
No matter how dark the night, how scared or lonely you feel. Regardless of the cold in your bones or the endless fall of rain.
Despite the images and sounds that play in your mind the morning always comes, bringing with it renewed hope and opportunity. A light to warm you inside and out. It will, if you let it, refresh your soul. All you have to do is to be there to see it.
Mick Hunter – Puckapunyal, Victoria. 2019
2021 Highly Commended
Searching for narcotics and weapons caches with Special Operations Task Group.
I captured this image during our extraction using the camera to shield my face from the flying debris before the dust engulfed me completely.
Chris Dickson – Kajaki, Afghanistan. 2010
2021 People’s Choice Award
Having a smoke with the locals.
The local kids were smart, always happy to get photos taken but only for money, food or cigarettes
Rex Targett – Vietnam. 1969.
To the veterans who willingly share their experiences, images and stories and all who have taken the time to view this exhibition both online and in person to learn more about those who proudly serve our nation, thank you. Without veteran and community support, events like this would not be possible.
Support Point & Shoot in its valuable work of sharing veteran stories and integrating military experience into the community
Share your thoughts with us to help us grow this event. Proudly Sponsored By: