When South Australian-born Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Michael Foster wears the slouch hat with the gold rising sun, he is reminded of his family members who fought in WWII.
The 1st Armoured Regiment soldier said while the design may have changed over the years, the soft khaki fur felt hat and golden sun still symbolise tradition and link a soldier to his or her past.
“When we wear the slouch hat it represents what soldiers have achieved before us, allowing us to show pride in the Army’s past and our country’s history,” WO2 Foster said.
“Especially in an armoured unit where we add the emu plume to it, linking us to our mounted infantry forbears.
“It is obvious that we respect our history, how important it has been and continues to be to our organisation’s identity.”
Growing up in Naracoorte, WO2 Foster is the latest in a long line of family members to have served in the Australian Defence Force.
“When we wear the slouch hat it represents what soldiers have achieved before us.”
For WO2 Foster, the choice to join the Army over the other services was a simple one.
“My grandfather served in WWII, so signing up to carry on that family legacy was an easy choice,” he said.
Throughout his 16 years of service, WO2 Foster has had an interesting career working alongside foreign militaries both in barracks and on exercise.
Visiting the New Zealand Light Armoured Vehicle Program Office while posted to the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle Program – Capability Acquisitions and Group in 2017, remains one of his most memorable experiences.
“It was great to see first-hand how strong the bond of the Anzacs is between our two nations and how well we can still work together to achieve shared goals,” WO2 Foster said.
Thinking of the Anzacs, WO2 Foster is looking forward to Anzac Day, however, he knows it will be very different this year, not sharing it with the large crowds that usually gather for the dawn service in Adelaide.
Regardless, he knows that the Australian community and soldiers all over Australia will be commemorating the Anzacs from the safety of their own homes and sharing their experiences online.
“Seeing the pride that the Australian community has in us as a Defence Force strengthens our resolve and reminds us how vital our role is, especially during these uncertain times,” WO2 Foster said.