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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a little surprised there wasn't already a post on this -

The return of the body of Private Jake Kovco to Australia has been delayed.

At 2120 hours last night, the Chief of Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy advised me that the casket containing the body of Private Kovco remained in Kuwait.

It was expected that his casket would arrive in Melbourne on a commercial flight at 0030 hours.

General Leahy and I were about to board a RAAF jet to travel to Sale to collect Mrs Kovco, her children and family. We were then to meet the plane in Melbourne with fellow soldiers from 3RAR.

I was advised that an error had occurred in Kuwait and the incorrect casket was despatched.
http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/NelsonMintpl.cfm?CurrentId=5583


With no bias whatsoever - this makes me sick to my stomach. I can't believe that something like this could happen (well actually I can, but that's besides the point).

Everyone is trying to place blame - but nobody knows the facts yet. The only fact we do know is somebody f**ked up. Big time.

Although I've been weary of the new Defence minister - he did show quite a lot of backbone today when he said he will never let anything like this happen again.

I also agree with Kim Beazley when he said that all defence personnel should be brought back on RAAF aircraft. However, we don't really have the resources for that at this time (but soon will with the C-17s).

I just feel so sorry for the soldier's family, and his unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, it sounds like a classic case of a U.D. - which happened in Timor.

Unless he was shot on prupose it must have resulted in a failure to handle the weapon properly - either his or someone elses.

I'm not overly suspicous about it - these things happen. And it must be all but impossible to investigate. Still, anything is possible. Just don't get carried away by the media.
 

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Neo said:
I'm a little surprised there wasn't already a post on this -
Probably because there's little to add on this one. Everyone agrees that it's a massively unforgiveable **** up and I hope that they track it to the incompetent fool(s) (be they in the military or in the private company (contracted)) who were responsible for ensuring that the body was returned to Australia. Clearly the system failed and what's more, many in the military today are gobsmacked that the body was entrusted to a civilian air transport organisation to be returned to Australia unescorted. Well, there's modern Government cost cutting in all of it's glory exposed, and it's typical of how the contracting to private companies continually and completely fails to serve the Defence Forces today. Many in the military today are asking what the media were asking this morning. Why wasn't the body returned on an Australian Military Transport?

After the Blackhawk disaster in Townsville in 1996, every single one of those killed were escorted by military personnel to their final destinations. What's worse is when you put it into perspective and you consider that it's not like we're getting a person killed in Iraq every week, this is the first one over there and it's been a complete farce. Even the Defence Minister should have shut his bloody mouth last Saturday and not made any comment what so ever on the circumstances surrounding the death. That's why we have official enquiries and investigations. They establish the cause of death and not the rumour mongering that has been rife around the Defence Force this week and the speculation by the media.

The whole thing has been handled badly from the word "go", and the Defence Minister ought to take some of the kick in the arse. The family have every reason in the world to be angry and pissed off.

this is probably not the time to be apportioning blame but more importantly to find out what went so horribly wrong and to make sure that something like this never ever happens again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Adamonline said:
Many in the military today are asking what the media were asking this morning. Why wasn't the body returned on an Australian Military Transport?

After the Blackhawk disaster in Townsville in 1996, every single one of those killed were escorted by military personnel to their final destinations.
I agree with you 100%. But the problem is, it's much easier to send a body from Townsville or even Timor / Indonesia. Iraq is a long way from Australia - and it's simply not possible in a C-130.

We don't really have the transport aircraft that can fly that sort of range in an acceptable timeframe. However, we should. I mean, we have to charter the Air Luxor A330 to run supplies.

This should all change when we get C-17s.
 

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Mephisto said:
Not to mention the fact that it appears that he didn't shoot himself after all, and the military aren't clearing up the issue.
There's an old saying: "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread". The Defence Minister is obviously a fool because he tried to give an explaination before there was any evidence of what has happened.

The Defence Force will not try to quickly "Clear up" the issue. They will leave no stone unturned and thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the daeth and provide everybody with a true and propper account of what happened.

Neo. It's tempting to speculate but remember that you're in the Defence Force and we are not meant to be delivering an opinion publically in an internet forum as to possible causes of a fatality of one of it's members whilst they are on operations. In particular before there has been any official enquiry, investigation and subsequent outcome. Be mindful of the Secrets Act that you signed on enlistment. ;) Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh yes - disclaimer - my opinions may or may not be shared by that of the Australian Defence Force... :)

I wasn't trying to speculate on what actually happen - I have no idea. But from what is coming out from the media - that's what it sounds like. My point was I don't necessarily smell a rat - it could just be media hype.

But as I've said all along - anything is possible. And for God's sake don't take my opinion as fact! I don't know what I'm taling about :D

I can't really infringe the secrets act - I don't know any secrets!
 

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So in future a single dead Private will get a whole C-17 to himself? However shocking and unfortunate this event is and while I'm sure procedures will change as a result, I do doubt that this is quite the change that would happen...
 

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I caught the story on CNN last night. What a terrible **** up. The soldier being grilled by the deceased's mother looked very stupid indeed and Howard looked like he hadn't slept anymore after that 3am telephone call. And what sort of crate was that that they used to fly the (wrong) body in? Looked very cheap and nasty.
 

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Neo said:
I agree with you 100%. But the problem is, it's much easier to send a body from Townsville or even Timor / Indonesia. Iraq is a long way from Australia - and it's simply not possible in a C-130.

We don't really have the transport aircraft that can fly that sort of range in an acceptable timeframe. However, we should. I mean, we have to charter the Air Luxor A330 to run supplies.

This should all change when we get C-17s.
It could be done with one of the politicians RAAF VIP 737's though
 

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I think the real issue here is how did he die.

I'd be happy to be corrected by Neo of anyone else involved with the ADF or Police or any job where you handle weapons

But the second the story came down that he was "shot in the head whilst cleaning his gun" I didn't buy it one bit.

At first I was OK with that mostly because in every cop show or movie I've seen "Cleaning his weapon and it accidentally discharged" is a euphamism for suicide. I figured it was BS but it was being trotted out to protect Kovco's family.

Well now it turns out his family was fed the same BS line - so I'd even doubt it was suicide.

I'd also doubt it was due to cleaning the weapon because.

a) I know less about guns than anyone but If I had to clean my gun for whatever reason I'd want to be absolutely sure there was no ammunition loaded inside.

b) wouldn't there be a special area in the barracks for cleaning your sidearm, you wouldn't be doing it in your bedroom surely!

c) Opinion from several military experts in the past week seems to suggest that save for on duty guard personell no-one would be carrying around a loaded pistol whilst within the confines of a FORTIFIED barracks. In fact the have special sandpits where you can discharge any remaining rounds before entering (although you'd think you could just take the magazine out and place it in a storage hold of some kind.

I see two possibilities either (most likely) death as a result of idiots horsing around with a loaded gun and severely breaching regulations or (less likely IMO) murder. Either way it looks like the Minister in his eagerness to seem like the go to guy on this has come out looking like an idiot!
 

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I think he suicided. This is based on news reports today that he had apparently just read an email from his wife, was depressed and sad and was alone in his room when the pistol discharged, with a direct gun shot wound to the temple. The odds are heavily stacked toward suicide I think. However I am only speculating on what is being reported.
 

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Sadly suicide or horseplay. Not sure if they were trying to spare the family, but as in all situations in life, the truth is the best.
 

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Let's not speculate on how he died, it's tempting but not helpful. The media are already talking to alledged "sources" within Defence. And speak to anybody in Defence and they all have an opinion but few people actually have the answers. I was intimately involved with a suicide 16 years ago and was privvy to many of the facts. The facts surrounding that death were that only one soldier (Who wasn't me) actually saw the body hanging from a toggle rope in a tree and cut it down. He wisely covered the body, cordoned off the area and the only other military person who saw the body was the unit doctor. The area was immediately treated as a crime scene and even the unit's Commanding Officer was told to bugger off when he tried to enter the cordoned area. The body was taken away by the civil police and the death was investigated by the NSW State Cororner. Curiously the amount of people who knew bugger all about what happened, yet they all claimed to have been there when the body was found hanging in a tree, and apparently half of the Army was doing PT that morning and ran past the body :) ... You all know what I mean.

As I said earlier, Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. There will be an enquiry into this death and the public shouldn't expect or fairly demand any immediate outcomes. The board of enquiry that has been raised has asked for three months to investigate thoroughly, and the government have given them one month. The board of enquiry won't be headed by a Defence Force person and further it won't be investigated solely by Defence. This is in line with the "Military Justice System Reforms" announced last September (2005). Since then, any deaths in Defence must be investigated independantly of Defence so that alledged cover ups cannot occur. It ultimately will provide the public with the answers they want and adds to thr transparency of these investigations.

There is absolutely no reason for a cover up when people die in the Defence Force, and those in Defence (contrary to popular conspiritists beliefs, and what you see on JAG) don't make a practice of hiding the reasons or causes when people are killed or die. People must remember that Defence is filled with human beings who have families too, and Defence Force personnel treat these incidences as they would want done for their own families. They approach investigations honestly, earnestly and with a view to getting to the cause of the death.
 

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castrovalva said:
lol. This Kovco ****-up is an appropriate metaphor for the whole Iraq debacle.
lol???????????? Don't sound like you're enjoying this in a smug sort of a way?

Is this a refection of the Iraqi deployment ... Not from an Australian Defence Force perspective. The ADF have been highly successful over there and are presently directly involved with training the new Iraq army. We haven't had anybody killed in combat and even the earlier activities of the RAAF and SAS were highly effective and earned a lot of praise from not just the Americans and remaining coolition nations, but also the Iraqi's. Aussie troops deployed over there are building a marvellous raport with their Iraqi counterparts.

The incident with a wayward corpse is a "**** up" alright, but it happened in Kuwait. The only serious question with the wayward corpse is why the body wasn't escorted by ADF personnel in Kuwait and identified again when being picked up from the Kuwaiti morgue? Simple enough?

As for why this soldier died, well that's a matter for the board of enquiry and the NSW state coroner's office. I did say all the long that the cause of death won't be investigated by the ADF so there can be no allegations of conspiracy, collusion or cover up.
 
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