THE ORDERLY ROOM
||© Don Harrod
The average digger had the opinion that the Orderly Room was where a shiny-arsed clerk sat and marked roll books, etc. Partly correct, but the Orderly Room Corporal did a little bit more. Here are some of the tasks:
0630 - Compile and telephone through a daily parade state to BHQ. This enabled BHQ to assess manpower in the field, numbers on base duties, those on leave, wounded, hospitalised, etc. It also provided information for procuring of rations, water, clothing, medicines, transport and many other logistical items for those on operations.
0700 - Calling a Company parade. This enabled the accounting for all personnel in the Nui Dat base (LOBs), and the issuing of the morning dose of paludrine and dapsone, the anti-malarial drugs.
0730 - Breakfast, changing of manning of the Company CP and gun piquet and weapon cleaning.
0800 - The first of several daily trips to BHQ. This would involve picking up correspondence to or from BHQ, including any variation authorities for Diggers' pay.
0830-1600 - general correspondence, updating of records, booking of R&R leave to suit operational and soldiers' requirements, compiling returns for the Company 2IC and BHQ, dispatch of outgoing mail from the field and Nui Dat, receiving of incoming mail including sorting into platoon lots and delivering it to the Q Store for delivery with resupplies, typing Contact Incident Reports from the OC, preparation of payroll, rosters for gun piquet, rosters for the Company CP, personnel inquiries (both written and personal), hospital visits to wounded or sick personnel,
1600 - Thirty minutes of sport (e.g. volleyball, etc).
1630 - Afternoon anti-malarial drugs and ablutions
1700 - Evening meal (usually at Admin Company)
1800-2400 - manning the Company CP until relieved by a LOB. This could also involve manning a gun piquet from 1800-0730, depending on personnel.
Quite regularly, participation would be required in a TAOR (Tactical Area of Responsibility) Patrol, leaving Nui Dat at 1600, and returning at 0800 the next day.
Close liaison with the CQMS, who had general responsibility for the conduct of LOBs, depending on the operational demands placed on him.
Attendance at the OC's 'O' Groups when the Company was in Nui Dat, and carrying out administrative tasks as directed.
Compiling of A4s (charge sheets) for the CSM, for those poor diggers who were unfortunate enough to have been caught for just being diggers!
Close liaison with the Company 2IC, either personally or usually by instructions issued by him from the field.
The above list is not complete, as it is hard to remember exactly what was done 43 years ago, but may provide some insight.