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Veterans Advisory Council

The Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) was established in April 2008 to promote the well-being of South Australian Veterans and to provide advice to the state government about matters concerning the Veteran community. The VAC is chaired by Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM (Retd), and comprises 16 members of the veteran community.

Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM (Retd) Chair

Brigadier Lewis served for 32 years in the Australian Regular Army.  During that time he saw active service as an infantry officer with the Royal Australian Regiment in Malaya and South Vietnam.

Brigadier Lewis subsequently became the General Manager of the Aged Care and Housing Group from 1984-1996, and was Chairman of the Repatriation General Hospital between 1993-2005.

Since 2006, Brigadier Lewis has been Chairman of the Consultative Council of Ex-Service Organisations which represents 26 ex-service organisations in South Australia.

Brigadier Lewis is also a Patron of the Royal Australian Regiment Association (SA Branch) Inc. and the Guards Association, Vice-Patron of the Association of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (SA Branch) Inc., Adviser to the War Widow’s Guild of Australia (S.A. Branch) Inc., a member of the Veterans’ Review Board and the Ministerial Advisory Board on Ageing.

In 2006, Brigadier Lewis was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to veterans as an administrator of aged care and health services, as an adviser to state and national ex-service welfare groups, and through support for charitable organisations.

Miss Chantelle Bohan

Miss Bohan served in the Royal Australian Navy from July 1997 until June 2003. Her rank on discharge was Leading Seaman, Combat Systems Operator.  During her career Miss Bohan was posted to the Australian Joint Intelligence Centre in Sydney and served on HMAS Tobruk between 1999 and 2001, serving in East Timor and the Solomon Islands. On discharge Miss Bohan completed a 12 month full time reservist posting at the Joint Electronics Warfare Operations Support Unit at DSTO RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Chantelle is the Deputy Director of Veterans’ SA, before her current appointment she worked for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for 11 years gaining experience in several business areas including Income Support, Community Mental Health and Community Nursing.  Chantelle was also an Australian Site Liaison Officer for the Anzac Centenary commemorative activities at Gallipoli.

Commander Andrew Burnett ADC RAN

CMDR Andrew Burnett ADC RAN has served in the Royal Australian Navy for 37 years, as a sailor and officer, and as a reserve and permanent member.  He commenced as the Commanding Officer Navy Headquarter South Australia on 15 December 2016.

Commander Burnett joined Navy Headquarters South Australia after a seven month deployment to Afghanistan as the Chief of Operations and Humanitarian Law for NATO in the Operation Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul.

Prior to the deployment Commander Burnett was the Chief Legal adviser to the Chief of  Navy from February 2013 to December 2015 and before that he was the Command Legal Adviser to the Commander Border Protection Command, as it was then known, from December 2010 to February 2013.

Commander Burnett is qualified as both a Maritime Logistics Officer and a Navy Legal Officer.  He has a Masters in International Laws.

Both Commander Burnett and his wife Susan are parochial South Australians.

Colonel Chris Burns CSC

Colonel Burns enlisted in the Australian Army as an apprentice electrician in 1975 and graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea in 1979.

A Royal Australian Armoured Corps officer, Colonel Burns has served in the 1st Armoured Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd/9th South Australian Mounted Rifles, and 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry).  He has also served as an instructor at the First Recruit Training Battalion and the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

In 1988-89 he was seconded to the United Nations as a military observer in the Middle East.  During this secondment he saw service on the Golan Heights in Syria, in Iran for the establishment of the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq and in the Gaza Strip during the ‘Palestinian Uprising’ or ‘Intifada’.

He was promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed as the Director of Operations for the Australian Army in January 2002.  In that appointment he was responsible for the strategic level planning and management of preparedness and operations involving Australian Army forces.  This included significant operations in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Solomon Islands.  For his role in the planning and conduct of operations in Iraq he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC).

Subsequent to this he was posted as the Australian Defence Attaché in Manila where he focussed on counter-terrorism operations in the Southern Philippines. In this role he was awarded the Legion of Honour by the Philippine Government.

Chris is currently South Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner, Honorary Colonel of 3rd/9th Light Horse, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management – SA, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Certified Professional Manager and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Teaming Centre.  Chris is a Director on the Legacy SA Board and is a member of the RSL.

Ms Paula Dabovich

Ms Dabovich joined the Army in 1992 and is a Commissioned Graduate of the Royal Military College. Ms Dabovich completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2004 and worked as a registered nurse at Sutherland Hospital NSW.

Ms Dabovich is currently a member of the SA Health Veteran Mental Health Precinct (Glenside) Research Partnership Committee, the Veterans’ Health Advisory Council and is a PhD Candidate , University of Adelaide – Thesis topic: From Well to Wounded and Back Again: Identity and Agency in High Risk Highly Cohesive Soldier’s Undergoing Rehabilitation in the Australian Army.

The combination of military service, work as a nurse and study under the tutelage of the Director of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor Sandy McFarlane AO, gives Ms Dabovich a broad base of experience from which to draw upon when considering the needs of our veteran community.

Mr Leon Eddy

Mr Eddy volunteered for National Service.  He served with 2RTB and the 9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.  His active service was in South Vietnam, firstly as a scout with 4 Platoon and later as a Storeman/Driver in the Bravo Company Q store.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal.

In 1970 Leon married Jeanette and they moved to Darwin where he joined the Public Service, where he worked until 1977, when he leased a Service Station.  In 1980 Leon was part of the Foundation Committee for the Darwin Life Saving Club.  Leon has many Lifesaving accreditations up to the level of Advanced Resuscitation Examiner.  Leon has officiated as a Judge at three Australian Surf Life Savings Championships.  He was President of Darwin Surf Life Saving Club 1982 – 1993 and was its first life member.  In 1993 Leon joined Legacy. He cared for 6-8 widows until 1999. Leon went on to be the President of Legacy in the Northern Territory.

Leon and Jeanette (now with two adult sons) moved back to Adelaide in 2000. Leon joined the TPI Association in May 2000 and was soon elected a committee member and Treasurer, a position he held for eleven years.  In 2009 Leon was granted Life Membership of TPI SA and was elected as State President in October, 2011.  Leon is also a Federal Director of the TPI Association.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Graham

LTCOL Graham graduated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps in 2001. He has served in a variety of command and staff appointments, and deployed on operations to East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He also has extensive experience in partnering and mentoring defence forces of developing nations.

Prior to being appointed as the Commanding Officer, 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, he served in the Plans Branch of Headquarters Forces Command and was responsible for the development of the Forces Command Campaign Plan.

LTCOL Graham was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service as an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team leader in Afghanistan in 2008-2009. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Academy, Australian Command and Staff College and the Apollo Course in future warfare analysis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics and Masters of Military Studies.

Air Commodore Margot Forster CSM (Retd)

Margot joined the Defence Teaming Centre as Chief Executive Officer in December 2016 after a long and distinguished career in the Australian Defence Force.

Born in Adelaide, Margot joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in August 1982. On graduation from the RAN Naval College and completion of Supply Officer training, she undertook a number of Supply Officer roles ashore and at sea before transferring to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in late 1988.

Margot took a three year leave of absence from the RAAF in 1992 and worked as Senior Administrator with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Australian Embassy, Washington DC. In May 1995 she returned to the RAAF to work in Air Force Materiel Division.

Over the next ten years Margot specialised in organisational reform and design, and workforce transition, supporting a number of workforce reform projects including the Chief of Air Force’s Rebalance and Reshape Program. January 2007 saw Margot’s focus shift to combat support when she was appointed as the Base Commander RAAF Base Williams and Commanding Officer Combat Support Unit Williams, for which she was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

In 2009, Margot joined Aerospace Operational Support Group as the Staff Officer Personnel, and later the Chief of Staff. Margot deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations in November 2010 as the Commanding Officer Combat Support Unit, Rotation 3. Her efforts on this deployment saw her awarded a Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for ‘contribution to significant improvements to support for forces engaged in combat operations’. Other awards include commendations from the Chief of Air Force and Assistant Chief of Materiel – Air Force for her contribution to workforce reform and for project management.

In May 2012 Margot was promoted to Group Captain and appointed as Director, Pathway to Change. In this position she was responsible for coordination, reporting and oversight of Pathway to Change implementation within Air Force. Margot served in this role until January 2013 when she took up the position of Chief of Staff Air Force Personnel Branch. Margot is a graduate of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (2015), with a Masters of Arts in Strategic Studies. Margot was promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and appointed to the post of Commandant, Australian Command and Staff College in December 2015 before retiring from the Air Force in December 2016 to take up the position of CEO of the Defence Teaming Centre.

Major Sally Heidenreich

Sally Heidenreich was commissioned as an officer of the Australian Regular Army on 19 January 2001. On her graduation from Duntroon, Sally joined the Australian Intelligence Corps.

During her full-time career Sally deployed to Iraq in 2005/6 as the Information Operations officer with the second Al-Muthanna Task Group, and to Iraq a second time in 2008 in an independent counterintelligence role, from where she was later redeployed to Afghanistan. In 2009/10 Sally deployed again to Afghanistan as the Officer-in-Charge of the Fusion and Targeting Cell with the ninth rotation of the Special Operations Task Group, in which role she was responsible for the dynamic prosecution of insurgent targets.

Sally transferred to the Army Reserves in 2011 and embarked on an undergraduate Law degree at the University of Adelaide. In 2013 Sally completed part of her degree at the Chuo University Graduate School of Law in Tokyo as the recipient of a Prime Minister’s Endeavour Award, studying the impact of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution – the “Renunciation of War” clause – on Australia-Japan bilateral security relations.

Sally recently completed the South Australian Governor’s Leadership Foundation program. This program gave Sally an excellent opportunity to deepen her understanding of a broad variety of social issues impacting our State. In 2015 Sally completed the 56km Yurrebilla ultra-marathon to raise funds for Soldier On. Sally’s particular area of interest lies with the mental health of contemporary veterans and especially the obstacles and challenges faced by contemporary veterans leaving the military to resume civilian life.

Sally is married to Alex, a former Special Air Service Regiment officer turned cyber security entrepreneur. Her two step-children are Macy, 11, and Nicholas, 8. Sally enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, Japanese language and travel.

Mr Bronson Horan

Bronson Horan has been a commissioned officer in both the United States and Australian Army for over 15 years. He initially served with the US Army 10th Mountain Division before spending over 10 years in both the United States and then Australian Special Forces. As a Special Forces Officer he successfully trained and led up to 100 Special Forces operators and 500 indigenous troops on combat missions in Bosnia, Philippines, Iraq and Afghanistan.  For his work with the United States Army in Iraq, Bronson was awarded the US Bronze Star.

In November 2008, Bronson was in a group of Australian soldiers who were conducting a dismounted patrol in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. An improvised explosive device exploded, killing one of the group – 25-year-old Lieutenant Michael Fussell. Bronson and one other Australian soldier were also injured by the explosive device. Bronson sustained a cracked spine, a traumatic brain injury, and other sensory deficits.  These injuries and decreased sensory abilities still affect his daily life but he has developed strategies in an attempt to mitigate their effects. Bronson was medically discharged from the Australian Army in July 2012.

Bronson was the South Australia & Northern Territory State Manager for Solider On, a charity which strives to help contemporary wounded soldiers.

Mr Frank Lampard OAM

Mr Lampard is an Aboriginal Elder of Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna descent.

In his work life, he was a school teacher for more than 30 years, before holding several senior roles in the Public Service, including that of the Acting Chief Executive of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Later he took up roles in the NGO Sector such as the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Prisoners and Offenders Support Services Incorporated.

He has also served on several advisory government and NGO bodies and is currently Co-Chair of Aboriginal Veterans SA.  He also once held the post of Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Committee.

Mr Lampard has received numerous awards and recognition, including an Order of Australia Medal and the National NAIDOC Elder of the Year Award.

Whilst passionate about retaining Aboriginal languages and culture in schools and the tertiary sector, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to the wellbeing and prosperity of Aboriginal people in SA with a particular interest in the Aboriginal Veteran sector.

Mr Lampard was a national servicemen from 1967-69 and served in the Australian Army as a medic with 2 Field Ambulance at Albert Park and Victoria Barracks in Melbourne.

Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare

Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare is a Military Public Affairs Officer in the Australian Army Reserve with an established track record as a journalist and communications strategist specialising in veterans’ affairs and the commemoration of Anzac Day.

Sharon holds an MA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University in London and a PhD in Communication from the University of South Australia.  Her doctoral thesis examined journalistic practices among Anzac Day reporters and advocates accuracy, originality and ethical conduct through the publication of the Anzac Day Media Style Guides.

In 2015, Sharon was nominated on the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll in recognition of her services to the media and journalism education, in particular her coverage of Indigenous Affairs and the Anzac Centenary.  She continues to be actively involved in communicating the significance and relevance of the Anzac Centenary through her work as an Army Officer, journalist and member of the Veterans Advisory Council.

As a Public Affairs Officer, Sharon deployed to Iraq from 2016-17 where she contributed to media coverage of Task Group Taji and the Battle of Mosul.

Today, Sharon is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of South Australia, where she continues to be involved in research programs to improve media coverage of veterans’ experiences and responsible reporting of PTS.

Ms Karen May

Karen May is the Executive General Manger of The Road Home for further research and programs to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for current and ex-serving veterans, emergency services and their families.

As the major philanthropic funder of independent research in this area in Australia, The Road Home convenes the new PTS research centre to create a centre of excellence at the new Jamie Larcombe Centre.

Prior to work with the Road Home, Karen’s career has been working predominantly in the Social justice / Not-for-profit sector working to develop organisations from fundraising brand and performance to best practice, high impact service provision.

Karen’s major posts in recent years have been with Can Do Group Charities, Connecting Up, and Birthing Kit Foundation Australia. Early in her career, before returning to Adelaide, Karen pursued community development, social impact measurement, crime prevention  and sustainability projects in the Philippines and major cities in Australia.
Karen also enjoys a busy family life with her partner and together they raise their 4 children.

Mrs Helen Meyer

Helen served in the Australian Regular Army from 1963 to 1966. It was the period when women were forced to leave the Forces if they married.  She married a soldier from the Armoured Corps, and went on to a career in the administrative side of the Insurance Industry, eventually running her own training and consulting company within that industry.

Helen is one of the founding members of The Partners of Veterans’ Association, SA Branch, and served on their Board for many years. She was a Board member, Grants Officer, and Language teacher for The University of The Third  Age, Tea Tree Gully;  a Volunteer at The Army Museum of South Australia;  and Consultant for the book  ‘Lady Soldiers’ by Lyn Kane Dale.

In her late 60s, Helen completed media training and became the Producer of The Legacy Hour at Radio Adelaide.  She is currently Producer of Service Voices, a radio program that depicts news, views, perspectives and memories from the veteran, service, volunteer and defence communities.

Helen was presented with a ‘Woman of Achievement’ award at Adelaide Town Hall in 2014 for her service to community, recognising her involvement in many aspects of a variety of organisations.  Helen is a named nominee on the SA Women’s Roll of Honour 2015.  She is a delegate to the South Australian Scottish Association, and a current Board member of The War Widows Guild of Aust SA Branch.  Helen serves on the Programming Committee at Radio Adelaide, reviewing existing radio programs and assessing new programs.

Mr James O’Hanlon

James Terence O’Hanlon was born in Sydney and educated at Windsor High School.

James has held a range of regimental and instructional appointments culminating at the rank of Major. These include instructor appointments at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the 4th/3rd Battalion, The Royal New South Wales Regiment; and regimental appointments as a Company 2IC and Operations Captain of 1RAR. He was appointed Senior Military Recruiting Officer at Defence Force Recruiting-Newcastle and Executive Officer of Australia’s Federation Guard during 2010-2012. Posted to 7 RAR in South Australia in 2013, he achieved company command of Alpha Company and was the Chief of Staff in 2014. He transitioned to the Army Reserve in early 2015 and currently serves with Adelaide Universities Regiment as the Deputy Chief Instructor and Second-in-Command.

In 1994 he deployed to Rwanda with ASC UNAMIR as a Rifleman in Alpha Company 2/4RAR. Between 1999 and 2007 he deployed to East Timor on separate INTERFET, UNTAET, UNMISET and UNMIT missions with 1RAR and 2RAR in a variety of regimental positions as both an Officer and NCO. In 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan with OMLT-C, MRTF-2 as an Afghan National Army combat advisor and mentor. For his service and leadership in action as a Team Leader of OMLT-C MRTF-2, Major O’Hanlon was awarded the CJTF 633 Silver Commendation in December 2009. He has participated in numerous exchange and training deployments to Germany, France, Malaysia, Brunei and the United States of America.

James separated from the permanent forces in early 2015 to better balance his work, family and lifestyle. He is the Director and Principal of Heterodox Solutions which is a small management consultancy firm, and a preferred KPMG Contractor to Defence.

Group Captain Brendan Rogers CSC CSM

GPCAPT Brendan ‘Buck’ Rogers joined the RAAF in 1987 through the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. He undertook pilot training at Point Cook and Pearce, gaining his Wings in 1991 to fly MB‑326H Macchi jet trainers before completing P‑3C Orion operational conversion at RAAF Edinburgh. He went on to accrue over 4,500 flying hours.

His operational experience span a wide variety of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and electronic warfare missions including regional crises in the South West Pacific and active service during the Timor and Iraq campaigns. GPCAPT Rogers has completed two tours of the Middle East, first in 2005 as the Australian Maritime ISR Liaison Officer to US Navy Maritime Patrol HQ in Bahrain, and in 2016/17 as Commander of Task Unit 630.1 for the conduct of Strike, Command and Control and air refuelling air operations in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Okra.

His staff roles include service at Joint Operations Command and Air Command. There he planned domestic security operations spanning Counter-Terrorism, Emergency Management and Surveillance and Response operations. As Director Operations and Plans at Headquarters Air Command, he completed structural reform of Air Command planning processes for air operations and training.

GPCAPT Rogers has had extensive involvement in RAAF airborne electronic warfare capabilities, completing several tours on acceptance test and evaluation activities in the USA before leading deployment of these new capabilities on joint operations and exercises.

GPCAPT Rogers was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2014 for outstanding achievement in the delivery of airborne Electronic Warfare Capability for the RAAF. His achievements in command during Operation Okra was recognised through the award of a Conspicuous Service Medal in 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma of Management in Defence Studies. GPCAPT Rogers is married to Sarah and has three school-age children in Adelaide. He assumed his current role as Chief of Staff to the Air Warfare Centre at RAAF Edinburgh in April 2017.

Mr Michael von Berg MC OAM

Mr von Berg enlisted in the Army as a soldier, serving in the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, before attending the Officer Cadet School, graduating in 1965. He saw active service in Vietnam with the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment in 1966/67 during which time he was awarded the Military Cross. He went on to serve in the Special Air Service Regiment, Commandos, and as Adjutant and Company Commander in the 5th Battalion before resigning his commission in 1973.

He is the President of The Royal Australian Regiment Association (SA), Chairman of the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation, President of the Royal Australian Regiment Council and a member of the Ex Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) at federal level.  He is a life and hall of fame member of the South Australian Rugby Union and a past director of the Australian Rugby Union.

Michael lived, studied and worked overseas in the UK, Germany, Austria, USA, South Africa and Kenya after resigning his commission, returning to Australia in 1984 to take up his position as a director of The Hardy Wine Company.  He established his own strategic management consultancy in 1991 which operated for some 20 years before his retirement.

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