An honour to wear the slouch hat
New South Wales-born Corporal Todd Madden has had many challenging experiences in his nine years as an infantryman in the Army.
After enlisting at the age of 22 in 2011 and completing his basic training, Corporal Madden posted to Adelaide’s 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR), where he has been fortunate to gain operational experience, both at home and overseas.
“While at 7 RAR I deployed to Afghanistan as a part of Force Protection Element 6, where my team and I provided integral force protection [to Australian trainers] at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy at Camp Qargha,” Corporal Madden said.
Closer to home, Corporal Madden recently returned from assisting local communities throughout Victoria and South Australia as part of Operation Bushfire Assist.
This experience was deeply personal. Corporal Madden’s hometown, Hawkesbury, endured some of the longest burning fires during the 2019/20 bushfire season.
“I’m still a volunteer firefighter with the Wilberforce Rural Fire Service and during the Australian bushfires I was a part of the Ready Battle Group who reacted to assist communities which had been hit pretty hard by the fires,” he said.
When not deployed overseas on operations or assisting the local community, the 7RAR soldier focuses on his military combat skills as an infantryman.
In 2019 he represented the Australian Army Combat Shooting Team in Canada as part of the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration (CAFSAC).
“During CAFSAC I had the opportunity to meet members from other militaries and got to see how they operate and what weapon systems they shot with, it was an awesome experience,” he said.
With Anzac Day fast approaching, Corporal Madden reflected on his nine years of service.
He said he had developed an understanding of what it means to wear the slouch hat, which represents the spirit of the Anzacs.
“I can only imagine what our veterans have sacrificed and lost while wearing this very same slouch hat. For me, putting it on for Anzac Day is a big honour,” he said.
“It’s more than just a hat; it is a significant piece of history and an icon that is part of being in the Australian Army, being an Australian soldier.”