Fleming

Date of Entry: 01/01/20xx
Surname: Fleming
Christian Names: Andrew
Country: Australia
State or Province: VIC
City or Town: Echuca
Service #: R134401
Service: R
Commencement of service: 30 Mar 83
Completion of service: 30 Aug 09
Case Notes:

 

 

 

Andrew Fleming is a well known identity around Echuca and Beechworth in Victoria. He separated from the Royal Australian Navy in March, 2004 after 21 years. He then transferred to the RAN Reserves and served in that capacity until August, 2009.

Since his discharge in 2009, he has attended the Echuca RSL and the Beechworth RSL on Anzac Days and other commemoration days dressed in his former Royal Australian Navy Uniform with medals.

He is a former President of the Echuca RSL Sub Branch.

Below is a photograph of Fleming leading the Echuca Anzac Day march recently.
Marching behind him and in front of genuine returned Vietnam veterans, are two uniformed Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) imposters Jan Bier and Michael Woolard. Bier is also a local Echuca resident. Both these imposters appear separately on Anzmi.

 

In the above photographs, Fleming is wearing the following medals.

1. Australian Active Service Medal, (AASM) two clasps. First clasp East Timor. Second clasp unknown.
2. Australian Service Medal, (ASM) Clasp Kuwait.
3. Australian Operational Service Medal. Border Protection. (AOSM)
4. Defence Force Service Medal. (DFSM)
5. Australian Defence Medal. (ADM)
6. United Nations Transitional Administration – East Timor. - UNTAET.

On the right side, Fleming is wearing the Navy “Individual Readiness Notification Badge”. (IRN) This is the Navy equivalent of the Army AIRN badge. (Army Individual Readiness Notification Badge)

“These badges are worn on the right breast and indicate that the individual is currently ready and able to be deployed overseas on operations in his/her normal posting.”

The above photograph was taken at the Beechworth RSL Sub Branch, Victoria, on
Anzac Day 2015. Fleming had discharged from the Royal Australian Navy Reserves in August, 2009. He still wears his uniform with rank and badges as if he is a current member of the Navy. There is no possible way that Fleming is entitled to wear the Individual Readiness Notification Badge. (IRN) He would be out of date on medical, physical training, etc. He is purporting to be a fully ready sea going sailor, when he had discharged some five years beforehand.


Fleming wears at least two medal awards that he is not entitled to. The second unknown operational clasp on his AASM has not been awarded. He would be entitled to the East Timor clasp but this is the only active service area he deployed to in his Navy Service.

The second non entitled award is the UNTAET medal, the last medal on his rack.

We have received notification from former crewmates of Fleming that he is not entitled to wear the UNTAET medal as he did not fulfil the required deployment time for this medal. We were informed that Fleming flew out of the qualifying area of East Timor well short of the 90 consecutive service days that he was required to complete for this award.

We were also told of Fleming’s boasts of how easy it was to “beat the system” as far as qualifying for Military Medals is concerned.

The below mentioned photograph depicts the UNTAET medal.

The UNTAET medal was issued for 90 days service in the qualifying area (East Timor) between 20 February, 2000 and the 19 May, 2002.

The criteria for this medal is as follows -;

UNAMET/UNTAET medal was established on 9 December 1999. The ribbon has two outer bands of UN blue, representing the UN presence in East Timor. Inside the two bands, there are two equal bars - closest to the blue, the bar is crimson, with the bar closest to the centre being sunrise yellow. These colours represent the brilliant and spectacular sunrises and sunsets experienced in East Timor. The centre of the ribbon is a band of white, traditionally the colour of peace and hope, the goal this Mission seeks to achieve.

Qualifying time of service for the reception of UNAMET/UNTAET medal is 90 days.

Every Defence Force member who served in East Timor or East Timor waters at the relevant time of qualifying for this medal knows that the time prescribed is 90 days.

We contacted former RAN Petty Officer Naval Police Officer/Coxswain Fleming and invited him respond to reports from his fellow colleagues that he was not entitled to this award.

Fleming stated that he was posted to the HMAS Wewak and had deployments to Operation Tanager that satisfied the criteria for the awarding of the medal. He was in no doubt.

Fleming then sent documentation from the Australian Government Honours and Awards Department confirming that he had been awarded the 6 medals and one clasp mentioned above, in particular, the UNTAET medal. A problem for Fleming though, is that he wears two clasps on the AASM for operational service and the document he sent to us clearly states that he has only been awarded one, East Timor.

Another document he sent to us was a copy of a dispatch dated the 28 May, 2001, (List 19) from Australian Defence Headquarters (ADHQ) to all ratings who served on the HMAS Wewak in the relevant period noting their UNTAET entitlement. The name of R134401 PONPC. A.A. Fleming appears on this document.

However, in this document, it is also made clear to all recipients that -;

"Requests concerning the issue and eligibility of awards should be directed to the Australian National Command Element. – East Timor. Not DHA. Before enquiring about eligibility, personnel should note that to qualify for the UNTAET medal they had to serve with the UN or on Operation Tanager for 90 consecutive days. Service with INTERFET and deployments of less than 90 days with the UN do not qualify for the UNTAET medal".

This document goes further and states that the 90 days must be consecutive days.

A copy of this dispatch was sent to all crew members of the HMAS Wewak who the United Nations issuing body had been notified of their eligibility.

Inquiries with his colleagues revealed that PONPC Andrew Fleming was posted to the HMAS Wewak on the 14 February, 2000. The HMAS Wewak was a Landing Craft Heavy vessel. (LCH) and had a crew of thirteen personnel.

Between the 14 February, 2000 and the 29 October, 2000, Fleming served on the HMAS Wewak in East Timor waters on two occasions to qualify for Operation Tanager service during this time. We have been advised that he served for 29 days on the Ship from the Mid July to Mid August, 2000 and for 31 days from Mid September to Mid October 2000. All up a total of 60 days and not consecutive days as required, and not 90 days as required.

Operation Tanager was conducted between the dates of the 20 February, 2000 and the 19 May, 2002. It was concerned with the provision of Australian forces in support of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) until Independence day in May 2002.

Now to the reader out there, this may seem trivial and unworthy of Fleming appearing on this site.

However, as we continued to research his claims to this award we were contacted by former colleagues who provided evidence that Fleming, prior to leaving the ship in October, 2000, had arranged for a false entry to be made on his PM Keys records (personnel records) by a close mate after he transferred off the ship and flew out of East Timor, that would add to his qualifying time for the UNTAET award.

It was discovered that a false entry was indeed made by a senior rating who had access to the Ships Operations Log functions, that indicates and confirms that he was again deployed for a third time to the HMAS Wewak on the 22 January, 2001 to the 4 February, 2001, where he accumulated a further thirteen days for Operation Tanager qualifying service.

This information had obviously been confirmed by signal from the HMAS Wewak to the Department of the Navy Office “by his mate”, who had access to PM keys data entry and who had been posted onto the ship at that time.

This false advice was then recorded on Fleming’s PM keys record, which would normally be automatically downloaded and subsequently sent to the appropriate Department for Fleming's records to be noted, the United Nations Administrative Department notified, and a UNTAET medal issued upon request. There would be no further checks. It was all there on his PM Keys record. Easy.

The United Nations (UN) Administrative body would rely on information provided to them by the Royal Australian Navy and/or the Department of Defence. The UN would have no reason to doubt advice provided to them from the RAN in regards to sailors entitlements and qualifying periods of service.

The problem for Fleming though, is that at the identical time of his alleged third deployment to HMAS Wewak on Operation Tanager in January, 2001 to February, 2001 , he had already been transferred off the ship since October 2000 and was subsequently posted to HMAS Cerberus, a Shore Base Establishment in Melbourne, Victoria, where he had reported medical problems of being “sick -injured.”

Our informants advised us that he remained at HMAS Cerberus from 15 January 2001 to 17 April 2001. This includes the time he was supposed to be serving on the HMAS Wewak on Operation Tanager in East Timor for his alleged third deployment.

So here we have one version stating that he was on operational service in East Timor accumulating days for a UNTAET medal and at the same time he is on “Medical –sick-injured” duties at HMAS Cerberus, in Melbourne, Victoria.

When we first contacted Fleming he was in no doubt that he qualified for all his awards and he confidently referred us to Honours and Awards for any further inquiries and documentary proof.

We then advised Fleming that we thought that his UNTAET award was fraudulently obtained and that we would be notifying the relevant Government authorities.

Within a few days of this e mail being sent, all photographs of himself wearing a Naval uniform, medals, rank and IRN badge on his Face Book site and the Beechworth RSL Sub Branch website were removed.

Coincidentally, also within a few days of this E mail being sent, a close friend of Flemings, who relieved him on the HMAS Wewak, resigned from his position as President of a Victorian RSL Sub Branch for personal reasons due to his intentions of extensive travel in Asia and Europe. We will not divulge his name here.

In addition to wearing the UNTAET medal fraudulently, Fleming also wears a second unknown operational clasp on the AASM. His only operational service is East Timor for 60 days aggregate on Operation Tanager. For this he was awarded the AASM and East Timor Clasp. He had service in Kuwait, but this was a prescribed "non war like area" at the time he served. For this he was awarded the Australian Service Medal (ASM) with clasp Kuwait.

Below is a photograph clearly depicting Fleming in his Navy uniform wearing the second unknown and unawarded operational clasp on his AASM. (First medal).

We have also been informed by his colleagues that he claims that he was involved in a “fire fight” whilst he was in Kuwait. Fleming however, is the only person who can remember this “fire fight” and his colleagues have no recollection of it.

In 2001, Fleming was a Petty Officer, Naval Police, in the Royal Australian Navy when he was charged with a number of fraud related offences. He appeared before a Court Martial, was convicted and demoted to the rank of Leading Seaman. He lost 10 years in seniority. Strangely though, he was subsequently promoted to Petty Officer again sometime later in the same Branch as a Naval Police Officer/Coxswain.

Although Fleming has removed all photographs of himself in uniform with medals from the internet, we did save some photographs to remind him of his unlawful behaviour in claiming at least one medal and one clasp fraudulently that he well knows he has no entitlement to.

Fleming can produce as many documents as he likes confirming his UNTAET Medal award. However, he cannot produce evidence that he served for a 90 day consecutive period to earn it. Something is amiss.

When requested, he also could not provide any evidence for the award of the second operational clasp that is affixed to his Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) as shown in the photographs.

The RAN and Honours and Awards might like to investigate the claims Fleming makes about his other medals including the Australian Operational Service Medal (AOSM).

Both the "Falsification of a Government Record" and "False data entry", are criminal offences under the Criminal Code Act 1985. There is no statute barred time limitation.

We recently contacted Fleming's Commanding Officer on the HMAS Wewak, Lieutenant Commander Scott Martinsen who resides in Queensland. Mr Martinsen replied,

Scott Martinsen 9.15am.

In response to your above request, Mr.Martinsen is not interested in discussing his career in the RAN, and in particular, the role he played as Commanding Officer, HMAS Wewak during Operation Tanager, now or in the future. We wish you all the best for your future research.

Cheers,

Fishsakara Team

We are not suggesting that former Lieutenant Commander Scott Martinsen has done anything wrong, however, we are disappointed that he declined to assist us in regards to circumstances and clarification of the UNTAET medal awarded to himself and his crew, in particular, former Petty Officer and Naval Police Officer/Coxswain Andrew Fleming.

Although this incident occurred some time ago, the Royal Australian Navy and the Department of Defence should investigate this serious matter and take stern action to ensure that similar fraudulent entries relating to PM Keys entries and corresponding medal entitlements was/is not a common occurrence, particularly on the HMAS Wewak during Operation Tanager from 20 February, 2000 to the 19 May, 2002.

It would not be difficult for a Royal Australian Navy investigator to identify the senior rating responsible for initiating the false entry on Fleming's PM Keys record and instigating appropriate action against both of them.

Also if other HMAS Wewak crew members were complicit in identical circumstances and awarded themselves UNTAET medals when the 90 consecutive day requirement for Operation Tanager was not fulfilled.

We have the former senior rating's name and current address who we believe made the false entry regarding Fleming's alleged service and we look forward to an RAN Investigator contacting us. We also have a list of the names of HMAS Wewak crew members awarded the UNTAET medal.

An update on this matter will be provided when appropriate.

Two other high ranking Naval Police Officers also appear on this site for wearing unawarded medals on their Naval Uniforms. -;

Current Warrant Officer Peter John Ritchie

Former Petty Officer/Coxswain Christopher Ross Petersen.

All information published on this site is corroborated by photographs and other documentation.

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