Billy Bacon couldn’t outrun the German machine gun bullets, although his actions saved the lives of two of his fellow diggers. I have just returned from seeing ‘Beneath Hill 60’, which details the story of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Division and the mining of the Messine Ridge in Belgium in 1916. This excellent Australian movie captures
some of the feel of the trench warfare of 95 years ago and highlights the real challenges of the stretcher bearers, corpsman and medical officers in providing medical care. While Billy Bacon still probably would not have survived, many others would have been more fortunate with the medical care of today. Capturing the histories of how
health care is provided in all the conflicts over the last 100 years remains important, particularly if we are to continue to refine and improve modern military health care, and I would encourage any of our authors who may be considering documenting such histories to consider publishing them in this Journal.
I have recently resumed the role of Editor, having edited the predecessor Journal, Australian Military
Medicine, for a number of years. I have taken over from Dr Russ Schedlich, who has done a wonderful job in growing the Journal to cover both military and veterans’ health, and am thankful for the excellent foundation he has laid. So who am I? Many, particularly the older ones, will know me. I am a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, having served 23 years in the RAN from 1979 to 2003, before taking up a role as the Director, Disaster Management for the Department of Health in Western Australia. I am Public Health Physician and specialist Medical Administrator by training, with a background in disaster medicine and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear
defence. I have held various editorial positions and still sit on various editorial boards for journals as diverse as Australian Health Review, Military Medicine and Emerging Health Threats.
Our April 2010 issue covers a diverse range of topics across the military medicine and veterans’ health spectrum. Two original research articles look at different aspects of the preparation of deploying troops, through vaccination and physical training. Our review article looks at air travel and pregnancy and the issues that may arise. From the
Front, we have a paper on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and military service. This article is not designed to be a definitive piece on PTSD, but rather a personal view on the ongoing challenges of managing PTSD from diagnosis to discharge and beyond. Finally, in our reprinted article section, we have a historical article on life in bomber command and the German prisoner-of-war camps of over 65 years ago. All the articles are intended
to challenge, educate and broaden the operational and strategic viewpoint of our members. We would particularly welcome continuing discussion on the issues of current military operations, current military and veterans health issues, military health history and military-civil interactions. We also appreciate our regular authors and would
encourage others to write on their areas of military or veteran’s health interest.
Dr Andy Robertson