Date of Entry: 01/01/20xx
Surname: Copeland
Christian Names: Paul Arthur
Country: Australia
State or Province: Victoria
City or Town: Geelong
Service: Army
Branch: Signals
Case Notes:

Paul Arthur COPELAND served 20 years with the Australian Regular Army in the Corps of Signals and served in Cambodia on a Peace Keeping mission as well as an observer in the SINAI.

 For service in Cambodia he was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal 1975 with clasp Cambodia and for the SINAI the Australian Service Medal 1975 clasp SINA.

We also know that Copeland has spent many years working with an Ex Service Organization and is currently the National Executive advisor at the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association which he also served as a National President for that association.

Over the years Paul Copeland has made many submissions to the Federal Government including one that a special medal should be struck and awarded to all those that have served as Peacekeepers or Peacemakers.

Paul Copeland has dishonoured himself for two reasons.

  1. You will notice of the Australian Service Medal that he has the clasp “Cambodia” this he has no entitlement to only the clasp SINAI

  2. The second is the last medal he is wearing is not an official medal, but one that has been manufactured as a Peacekeeping Medal.

No un-official medals should be worn on the left breast and Copeland should be aware of that having reached the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2.

You will notice that the Peacekeeping medal is nearly identical to the logo of the above banner. The only difference is the letters “UN” have been removed at the top which has “UN: WE BELIVE” and the letters “AISP” have been removed from the bottom.

Paul Arthur Copeland for your years of service in the military you are setting a bad example to other veterans by not following the Medal Protocol  as laid down in the Proper Wearing of medals and the wearing of un-official medals which if worn must be on the right breast below Next of Kin medals

If you need a reminder regarding the wearing of medals it can be found here

4th Dec 2012

After doing more research into the worthless tin medal that Copeland is wearing with his official Australian Government approved medals we have located more information about it.

The medal appears to have been manufactured in Europe by the “Soldiers of Peace International Association”.  We have even got the application form to purchase it for 55.00 Euros which covers the medal and diploma. Shipping costs are 7,60 Euro for France.

If you live overseas you need to email  bearing in mind that it is only available if you have served as a Peacekeeper and it can only be worn on the right breast in Australia.

9th Jan 2013

Update Paul Arthur Copeland:  Note: Some of the material from the APPVA we have reprinted, contains foul language
Following our exposure of Paul Copeland as a medals cheat we have received numerous emails from the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veteran’s Association (APPVA) executives and two members.  They are saying that it is OK for Copeland to wear whatever medals he wants to wear.  From the information in the numerous vitriolic emails received it is obvious that the APPVA considers themselves to be a law unto themselves, who do not, and will not comply with Australian Government and Defence policies and protocols regarding the wearing of medals and awards.
Frankly we don’t give a damn for their comments, our job is to report those who knowingly flout the rules and protocols of the wearing of medals and awards.
The overseas work the members of the APPVA have done is admired equally, with all other dangerous work Australian Service men and women have endured, since the Crimean War of 1853.
We don’t make the rules, but we understand them. Our proclaimed Charter, is as best we can, ensure that Government protocols are followed. Considering the number of medals cheats within the ex Service community that we have already exposed, we believe that if we were not watching, chaos would prevail and those like Copeland and his APPVA with a penchant to look “pretty” would have the ex Service community looking like the Hines brothers featured on our web site:


Here are excerpts from emails from APPVA Executives and two members who believe they are not bound by tradition and protocol.
 From Michael Quinn Vice President, Victoria APPVA inter alia

 ” By my own admission I change my medals according to my (sic) of disgust of the treatment of the post 1975 veterans and the ignorance of those veterans who went before us who have been incorrectly classified and then reclassified many of our deployments. If you go through the Anzac day marches you will see me wearing the ASM and the following then the AASM with the Cambodia clasp. You will also notice this occurs in many different variations among the Cambodian Veterans including some wearing both together”
While this matter is being resolved I request that you take Paul Copeland down from your site as you are insulting both Cambodian Veterans and our organization
Quinn says he wears what he likes when he likes.
From Dave Menz, former Secretary, Victoria APPVA inter alia


 “I know Paul Copeland very well, why do you lie put up evidence or shut up losers.
 Dave Menz
Sent from my iPhone”
Menz seems to have missed the fact that we have already “Put up”.
From Rod Thompson APPVA Advocate inter alia


 “Further to my last e-mail in reference to Paul Copeland I would like to ask a question in relation to the Governor General as you are aware she wears a number of medals awarded by foreign governments one from Tonga and others from various South Pacific nations and Britain, should she not be investigated by your site using the logic you have used in relation to your investigations of Paul and others on your site as to who has authorized the wearing of these medals by the GG and does not this create a precedent for the wearing of foreign awards. Also have you noticed that some senior military officers who are awarded the OAM initially then receive a higher award at a later date continue to wear the OAM as well as the higher award. It is my understanding that if you receive the higher award you should return the OAM? If this is the case should not some of our most senior serving and retired Military Officers be mentioned on your site. Or is it one rule for them and another for the rest of us”
Thompson makes silly assumptions about the Governor General. He spouts innuendo as if it were fact. Give us evidence of any person inappropriately wearing medals and we follow up with an investigation.
From Naomi J Ager Lieutenant RAN Retired inter alia


 I have just read your allegations about Mr Paul Copeland OAM. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK ARE? Have you bothered to even speak to this man? He was NOT wearing anything he was not supposed to. One man has a personal vendetta against Paul. This same man has seen fit to bad mouth him, harass, defame and act to have the Cambodia Clasp removed from Paul's honours and awards. It is my understanding that this clasp was awarded with evidence from his hierarchy. He did not go out and buy a clasp and present it to himself.  look forward to your call to discuss this matter further. I presume you want to investigate this matter and not look like fools in the media.
Naomi J Ager
Naomi J Ager obviously shoots from the hip without any regard for facts.  To satisfy Naomi, we challenge Copeland to send us and his “mates”from the APPVA a copy of his PMKeys record of awards to prove we are wrong regarding the clasp Cambodia on the ASM and the Tin medal he wears
From “Insider” inter alia
“Hello gutless wonders of the anzmi I drafted a few emails but in essence they all come down to the following:
You can all go fuck yourselves, you are cheesedicks of the highest order and are a disgrace to the veteran community I bet all of you were the classic underachievers in the military and that you  see your unsubstantiated  crap as something noble you are fucking kidding yourselves.  You are just a bunch of sadsacks hiding behind your supposed veil of secrecy not for long hopefully..  Have a merry Christmas and I hope you all are on the public record real soon, you losers.
“Insider” berates ANZMI for "hiding behind a veil of secrecy". He fails to realize that he has done the same thing. He abuses us with alacrity but has not disclosed his identity.
In this matter there are no grey areas, Copeland is a medals cheat, and by his own admission, so is the Vice President of the APPVA, Michael Quinn.
We suggest to the APPVA that you get your heads out of the clouds, develop some dignity and follow medals protocols as advised from the Department of Defence Honours and Awards on this web site -   
Be advised, if you wear medals you are not entitled to wear, and it is brought to our attention we will investigate, and if appropriate place you in our medals section, or if necessary in our “Cases” section with the general Wannabes.
We suggest to the multitude of honest and less vitriolic members of the APPVA that they take action to “clean up” the APPVA and vote to ensure their executive understand and comply with Medals and Awards protocols.


3rd Mar 2013

Paul Arthur Copeland - Update 3 March 2013

Who needs enemies when they have friends like Mr Michael Quinn and Mr Torrance Hinkley of the APPVA?  See below Quinn’s and Torrance's latest effort to "disprove" the information we have provided about Paul Copeland.  Below Quinn’s email, is Hinkley’s threat to “bring on the biff” if he ever meets us, no wonder  members are deserting the APPVA, as it appears to be full of disreputable illiterate thugs, and medals cheats.

“michael quinn <>

22:22 (10 hours ago)

to enquiries

Why are your network of veterans dedicated to the correct alignment of medals being so quiet now.

Vietnam Veterans working as pension officers and advocates now have to watch their back if they are tied in with you.

Where do you think this will end. Meetings are taking place about your operatives as we speak; these cunts will be hunted down and dealt with. You are not dealing with fucked up faking Vietnam Veterans now; as your last operative said to me "bring it on"; what a gutless fuck. An OAM for collecting old crap and feeding you shit.

You have worked under a secret shroud for so long you can not even report this correspondence. All you can do is watch your fucked up operatives fall by the way side as information is fed out. May be you can "bring it on" as one of your fucked up operative said to me after have his accomplice threaten my child in my absence. Faceless, spineless, cunt; nothing you haven't already heard already.

And by the way I will wear what I fucken like as long as it has nothing to do with Vietnam.

Fuck You



Quinn is an ex Warrant Officer Class 1 who brings discredit and disrepute to all of those who have achieved that rank.

We also point out that at no time, has any member of ANZMI ever contacted him or any member of his family.

Once again this self exulting, crude ex Warrant Officer Class 1 has made his position regarding medals protocol very clear.  He stated:

“He will wear what I fucken like”.

Below is the threat from Hinkley


“From: Torrance Hinkley <>

Date: 3 March 2013 17:07

Subject: Paul Copeland


I used to think that this was a good site but after seeing your post on Paul Copeland I am absolutely disgusted. You people have nothing better to do with your time than to harass good decent people who have done so much for our veteran community. I believe that there are personal motives behind this posting. You are discrediting (sic) yourselves and are inviting the same kind of attention. Believe me if I ever run into any of you, you will walk away worse of (sic) for it”.

We should also point out that ANZMI is not exclusive to Vietnam Veterans and has members of Peacekeeping Missions working to stop the proliferation of people like Quinn and Copeland who would have Australian Veterans adorned with more medals than a North Korea General.



30th Apr 2013

Update Paul Arthur Copeland - 30 April 2013

You can tell when Copeland is lying because his lips are moving. He is incapable of grasping the notion that he is a chronic lily gilder who likes to wear more than his earned Awards.  Recently more evidence of his penchant to distort the truth has come to light.

On the 23rd April 2013 an ANZMI representative was interviewed in his home town by Mike Welsh of radio 2CC Canberra. The next day, Radio 2CC contacted Copeland for an interview

Then the following appeared on Copeland’s APPVA Facebook:.



Copeland to stir up hate against ANZMI amongst his members has lied by saying that our representative said:

Peacekeepers didn’t go to a proper war and shouldn’t be marching on ANZAC Day”.

 He further said   “I would like to look at the transcript

To prove that no such thing was said here is the transcript in original form.

All APPVA members should listen to it and weep for the loss of integrity of the APPVA. As a result of Copeland’s deceit the following emails were sent to, and received from Radio 2CC about the issue:

Email to Radio Station:

"Bill Hobson
09:42 (6 hours ago)

to bannerman   (This is Welsh's Producer)

Good Morning Sarah

We spoke recently about Military imposters. Gave Mike the telephone number of Mr Paul Copeland from the Peacekeepers Association.

Then received some emails following a report that Copeland put onto Facebook. See below:

Don't know where Copeland got the idea that it was said that Peacekeepers were of lesser value than other Returned Servicemen, however he has quoted me as having said that.

Have arranged for Copeland and members of the Peacekeepers association to receive a copy of the interview had with Mike


Radio Stations response:

Mike Welsh <>
11:07 (4 hours ago)

to me


I asked Copeland if he thought peacekeepers didn't fight a proper war. I wasn't "quoting" you rather just trying to get him to "extend" a bit."

The APPVA is a very worthy organization however it is being led from the sidelines by Copeland who is a crafty distorter of the truth and he has a group of henchmen behind him who instead of taking action to correct the collapsed integrity of the APPVA also lie, and offer threats of violence against those who point out correct protocols and philosophic values entrenched in the Australian Veteran Community from the time of Gallipoli.

Let’s have a minutes silence to mourn the loss of integrity in the APPVA.


10th May 2013

Update Paul Copeland aka “Copey” -  Lost in his lies.

It is a truism that if you tell lies they will come back and bite you on the backside. Mr Paul Copeland (affectionately known as Copey) has done just that, and his rear end is now well scarred.

Copey, thinking he is a Master Public Relations Spin Doctor, launched a dishonest campaign prior to ANZAC Day to discredit ANZMI.  He gave the media a story and had himself interviewed during which he planted a seed to incite his Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association (APPVA) into believing ANZMI do not honour their service. Here is the article:


The article clearly shows it was created by Copey to give him the opportunity to discredit ANZMI..

No ANZMI member “goes out” on ANZAC Day or any other day to “hunt’ Wannabes or medals cheats. The thousands of ex Servicemen including many APPVA members are ANZMI’s eyes and ears.

The Radio Station 2CC Canberra contacted ANZMI in relation to the article planted by Copey and a member of ANZMI gave an open and honest interview – Note there was only one interview.

Here again is the Podcast of the interview:

ANZMI gave 2CC Copey’s phone number so he could be contacted and explain his Canberra Times article.  Copey was interviewed, but had his plug pulled by the announcer because he was not making much sense. As soon as Copey got off the phone, he stupidly released his planned announcement to the APPVA that ANZMI had said on radio:    Peacekeepers did not go to a real war and should not be marching on ANZAC Day”

Copeland made that Statement to the Canberra Times prior to the ANZMI interview; at no time did ANZMI say anything remotely similar in the 2CC interview.

The Copeland affair started when he was caught infragante delicto wearing a Tin medal and incorrectly wearing an Army Service Medal. All of his machinations about ANZMI are to deflect his medals cheating.

It is patently obvious that Copey himself created the sentence “Peacekeepers did not fight in a real war and should not march on ANZAC Day then tried to blame in on ANZMI through the Canberra Times and a radio interview in Canberra, unfortunately Copey’s little PR operation went sour and has bitten him on the gluteous maximus.

ANZMI admires all those who have served in the Australian Defence Force irrespective whether they have been deployed to Wars, Peacekeeping missions, or served within Australia. We make no disparaging remarks about any groups of Servicemen, but we will continue to vigorously pursue those, like Copeland who are medals cheats.

Have no doubt Copeland is a devious person and causing dissention in the APPVA and the Veteran community.

Below are excerpts from a Royal Australian Corps of Signals forum, where this matter was discussed.

  Paul Copeland

Interesting interview on 2CC Canberra. Apparently, Peacekeepers didn't go to a proper war and shouldn't be marching on ANZAC Day according to "Bill Hobson" yesterday on 2CC. I would love to have a look at the transcript... I did mention that "Hobson's" view was not necessarily that of the wider Veteran Community and it displays a lack of knowledge of the service of our 70,000 Peacekeepers since 1947 to the current day who have served non-stop. I also mentioned that their site is illegal and they should be prosecuted (sic) by law.

"Hobson" was the ANZMI spokesman that was interviewed yesterday by 2CC.

Such arrogance.


Top of Form

Chad DobbsKeep fighting the good fight Paul! You've got an entire RASigs community behind you that know "Bill Hobson" is full of lies and hate

Michael BlaineSorry Paul just listened to the interview never heard him say anything like what you have stated must have missed it

April 25 at 7:18am· 1

Derek Webstersame as Blainey, didn't hear any mention of Peacekeepers in the interview.

April 25 at 8:03am· 1

Tom VaughanOnly that ANZMI and Peacekeepers had a disagreement.

Dominique KirkmanPaul Copeland, I just listened to the podcast and didn't hear Hobson say the word "peacekeepers" at all, let alone what you allege. Is this the same podcast you are referring to (the link Tom has posted, above, which is also 2CC), or is there another one? I would really like to hear what you referred to.

Tom VaughanThere must be another Podcast that does not appear on the website yet. I will post the link once found

Dominique KirkmanThanks, Tom. I don't believe Copey would have misrepresented the podcast.

April 27 at 5:46pm

Paul CopelandJust to advise about not hearing the matter of PK marching on ANZACDay, it was made on my interview Wed 24 Apr 1540. 2CC have not posted my intetview podcast, where the comment was made by the interviewer Mike Welsh. Hope this clears any confusion. Paul

April 27 at 6:27pmvia mobile

Derek Websterso Hobson didn't make the statement, this Welsh did?

Paul CopelandDerek Webster, mate, the intereviewer (sic) from 2CC stated that ANZMI did not believe that Peacekeepers went to a Proper war and shouldn't march on ANZAC Day. I am in the process of complaining to 2CC and will take it further to ACMA if necessary.

I am most interested if anyone in Canberra, heard the interview between Welsh and I at around 1540 on Wed 24 Apr and what their interpretation was, because I swear I may have a bit of a bad memory at times, but I know what was said.

Hobson being the "ring-leader" of the ANZMI circus, I take it that this was perhaps discussed either out of broadcasted intereview, (sic) due to the apparently relaxed nature of it on 23 Apr, or that Welsh stated it in complete ignorance. He did state after I was cut-off "I don't know the difference, I didn't serve..."

April 28 at 1:50pm· Edited

Derek WebsterYeah but whereabouts in the interview with Hobson does he say that peace keepers/makers should not march?

April 28 at 2:02pmvia mobile

Paul CopelandDerek Webster, I am not sure if I am explaining myself too well to you and some others and apologise for any confusion. There were two interviews. On on Tues 23 Apr at 2000, which "Hobson" was interviewed by Mike Welsh of 2CC. The Following day on Wed 24 Apr at approx 1540, I was interviewed in response to the one the night before, which I had not heard (Tues - Hobson) till after ANZAC Day.

I put up my comments based on that podcast and in the belief that 2CC would also place the one from my Wed interview, which people could view from the link provided of the Tues interview with "Hobson", which they have not.

Welsh of 2CC stated to me on the Wed interview that ANZMI believed that PK should not be marching on ANZAC Day because they did not go to a proper war. I responded, and then was cut out of the interview, of which the parting words from Welsh was "should Peacekeepers March on ANZAC Day? I don't know - I didn't serve..." Then I was cut-off from the phone.

In other words as Tom correctly stated, there is another podcast, which is my interview on Wed 24 Apr, that has not been posted on the 2CC site, which I have requested that they post it there as a balanced media view.

Either way, I intend to make a complaint to the Station and to ACMA. The intereviewer (sic) was not as calm and jovial as he was with Hobson on the Tues night interview, and it was like I was the guilty party.

April 28 at 3:03pm· Edited

Paul Booger EllisHey Webby as I can understand it, Hobson said it in a different interview, a copy of which hasn't been put up yet, but the comments were mentioned in interview that Copey is talking about.

This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.


Since our initial exposure of Paul Copeland almost twelve months ago ANZMI has been subject to a number of foul and abusive comments from supporters of Paul Copeland, most of whom appear to be members of the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association (APPVA). Amongst the vile abuse, offensive comments and name calling from his supporter’s one thing was missing, evidence from Copeland that we were wrong.

Quite a few of our readers also noted this important omission by Copeland and prompted us to look further at this peacock and his impressive display of awards. Indeed, one of his supporters asked us to ‘put up or shut up’, so to that misguided supporter and to the APPVA, we do indeed ‘put up.’

Here is the image of Copeland’s rack of medals. ANZMI has already commented on the last ‘tin medal’ in the rack, it is nothing more than a tin, unofficial medal and is being worn contrary to the policies in place and administered by the Governor General of Australia.

Copeland is also wearing the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with clasp ‘Cambodia’ as well as the Australian Service Medal (ASM) with clasps ‘Cambodia’ and ‘Sinai’. The simple fact is this, Copland has no entitlement to wear the ‘Cambodia’ clasp on the ASM. It was his obligation to return that clasp when the circumstances of his service in Cambodia was reviewed and upgraded to the award of the AASM.

At the time this happened, Copeland was still a member of the Army and would have been in receipt of or knowledge of the following letter:

There is no ambiguity, doubt or otherwise with this letter. Copeland was entitled to retain his ASM because of his deployment to Sinai but the letter is clear in its intent. For those Copeland supporters who do not understand, it means Hand back your ASM and/or clasp ‘Cambodia’ and we will give you the AASM with clasp ‘Cambodia’. You cannot wear it twice. Simple.

One of the supporters who felt the need to attack ANZMI was the National Vice President of the APPVA, Mr Michael Quinn who it appears is also a veteran of Cambodia and mate of Copeland’s who famously told us;

” By my own admission I change my medals according to my (sic) of disgust of the treatment of the post 1975 veterans and the ignorance of those veterans who went before us who have been incorrectly classified and then reclassified many of our deployments. If you go through the Anzac day marches you will see me wearing the ASM and the following then the AASM with the Cambodia clasp. You will also notice this occurs in many different variations among the Cambodian Veterans including some wearing both together”

An offensive, but somewhat surprising comment from a so called senior member of the National Executive of an Ex Service Organisation who appears to have an axe to grind against veterans who served prior to 1975. Quinn also told us that ‘he will wear what he likes when he likes’.

During his service in Cambodia, Paul Copeland was a member of the Force
Communications Unit (FCU). As a result of significant advocacy, not surprisingly including the APPVA, this unit has recently been awarded the ‘Meritorious Unit Citation’ by the Governor General, no doubt well deserved for the service performed by members of the FCU, the irony is that the likes of Copeland and Quinn who both blatantly disregard directions given by Government House will turn up with their hand out to receive this award.

No doubt our update on Paul Copeland will again begin the hue and cry from his many supporters. Copeland has over the years, done good work through the APPVA but this does not give him or others in that association carte blanch to do what they like in regard to the wearing of Australian awards. Such awards should be cherished by the recipient and not belittled by wearing them with unofficial medals, and wearing awards that the wearer has no entitlement to. Rather than attacking the messenger, ANZMI suggests to those who support Copeland, simply ask him why he does not remove the ‘Cambodia’ clasp from his ASM, and remove the unofficial tin medal. It’s as plain and simple as that.

We have proven our case and will wait and see what happens.



Paul Copeland has again taken to various social media outlets to launch an attack against our latest exposure of him. ANZMI is not in the business of tit for tat debates with people like Mr Copeland. We simply present the evidence available to us and after duly verifying the information, we present it on our website. Mr Copeland would have the reader believe he is a victim, he resorts to long winded statements via social media, examples of which are found on the RASIGS Facebook site, and indeed our very own Facebook page. He uses these statements to muddy the waters and attack ANZMI but no where does he address the issues at hand.

We are simply the messenger Mr Copeland.

On the surface, this case may seem trivial when compared to many on our website. As a matter of fact we have been accused of ‘acting as some sort of post-service RSM (of the poorest and most picayune kind) in pursuing this question of whether a bar belongs’ by one of our readers. This is definitely not the case, so please read on as the full story is revealed and the reason for our interest in 'a bar' is explained.

Throughout this saga, all that ANZIM has done is:

1. Prove that Copeland has/was/is wearing an unofficial medal with his official medals. Not a hanging offence, but clearly against the protocols and accepted policies issued by Government House. Defending his right to wear the unofficial medal, Copeland states:

The photo on their trashy site was taken of me at the UNTAC Reunion Group at Wodonga 14 Sep 2012, where the APPVA facilitated a remembrance service for the Reunion Group to remember all PK and in particular our mates who have since left us. In the context of the "Guidelines" to wearing Commemorative Medals, I was correctly wearing the medal on the left breast for such an event, as it was an APPVA, of which they are affiliated with the SPIA, event.

No law broken. I have only worn the medal once from recollection on ANZAC Day and have since decided not to wear it. (Copeland – RASIGS Facebook Site)

Note his comment 'and have since decided not to wear it'

Thank You Mr Copeland. That is all we asked you to do.

2. Seek to ascertain why he wears the Clasp ‘Cambodia’ on both the AASM and the ASM, apparently contrary to available information and defence instructions.

All available evidence available to us indicates that personnel who served in Cambodia as part of the Australian Defence Force component of UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia), were initially awarded the Australian Service Medal (ASM) with clasp ‘Cambodia’.

Following significant lobbying the award was upgraded to the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with clasp ‘Cambodia’ in recognition of the special conditions of service with UNTAC. As a result of this upgrade those personnel who served with UNTAC and awarded the AASM were required to return the ASM and Clasp. As we have said throughout, the issue is not that Mr Copeland should return his ASM, simply the clasp;

IRT (in regard to) my situation with the ASM CAMBODIA, the fact that I had a current 12 month posting order which would have taken me up to 14 March 1994; that I was involved in a serious MVA, AME RTA due to save my right leg, and yes, nearly dying from the experience; prior to the eligible time to the ASM. However the legal point to note is the CAG ASM CAMBODIA Regulation c. (vi) & (vi) A. Be sure to read it all, to fully comprehend the matter of why I wear the ASM, with the fact that it is in my PMKEYS and the fact that I would have remained for the eligible period BUT FOR the MVA. (Copeland – RASIGS Facebook Site)

Contrary to Mr Copeland’s vitriol, we have never questioned his entitlement to wear the ASM. He has an entitlement to that award recognising his service in Sinai as part of the Multi National Force and Observers (MFO).

It is the clasp ‘Cambodia’ which is at issue.

The only personnel who may wear the ASM for service in Cambodia are those who have served with the United Nations Military Liaison Team/ Cambodian Mine Action Centre. Start date - 08 Oct 93 End date - 04 Oct 99. (Reference: Defence Honours and Awards Gazette (S111) 17 Mar 99).

By inadvertently or otherwise leaving the Cambodia clasp on your ASM you are in fact claiming another medal of which you have no entitlement, unless of course you served in the above mission and if that is the case you can expect our unreserved apology.

However, by your own admission, you were in in a serious motor vehicle accident while in country and it is therefore assumed you were RTA (Returned to Australia) prior to achieving the qualifying date for the ASM, and as you point out, you none the less qualify for the award by virtue of CAG ASM CAMBODIA Regulation c. (vi) & (vi) which states: (quoting the relevant section only)

(vi) the Chief of the Defence Force or his delegate in exercising his discretion to deem under subparagraph (c)(v) shall take into account whether service in relation to the prescribed operation:
(A) was terminated owing to the death, evacuation due to illness or injury or other disability due to service, of a member as described above;

Again, it is not his entitlement to the ASM that is being questioned, it is only his ongoing use of the ‘Cambodia’ Clasp on the ASM which is at issue.  As we have already explained, unless he was a member of the United Nations Military Liaison Team/ Cambodian Mine Action Centre which we know he was not, he was a member of Force Communications Unit (FCU) then to wear the clasp 'Cambodia' on his ASM is to claim an award he is not entitled to.

At no time has he provided evidence to refute the fact that he should not being wearing the ‘Cambodia’ clasp twice. To do so is to claim service he did not perform and that is the only issue we have pursued.

To knowingly wear a clasp for which no entitlement exists could be deemed to be an offence under the Defence Act 1903 - SECT 80B - Improper Use of Service Decorations. It is for that reason that we make such an issue about a clasp (or Bar as our reader called it).

Contrary to Mr Copeland’s assertion, ANZMI does not dispute his entitlement to the Army Combat Badge (ACB). The relevant Defence Instruction regarding this award is out dated and ANZMI would encourage any UNTAC veteran to make application for the award.

We do note however, that he is also wearing the Army AIRN Badge (Army Individual Readiness Notice) contrary to Defence Instructions, but he is not alone in this. This badge is only to be worn by soldiers in uniform to denote their deployment/operational status and is not to be worn with civilian clothes or by persons not eligible (by virtue of operational status) to wear it. It is not an ex-service badge.

Now we must turn to another issue which has been brought to our attention. The following photograph was received by us following our update on the Copeland case. A copy of it was also posted on our Facebook site.

The photo again depicts Mr Copeland, we note still wearing the unofficial ‘tin’ medal but we accept his assurance that it has since been removed.

Our question with this image is however the gold wings being worn by Copeland between his medals and the ACB. In what appears to be a pre-emptive strike, Mr Copeland took to our Facebook site to explain away these ‘wings’, in his words, not ours;

‘…IRT RAN Para Wings. They are not exclusive to RAN CDT. They are awarded to anyone in the RAN who is para qualified. In my case, I served with Coast Guard for 8 years and wore them on my uniform to denote my pride in being a former paratrooper in the maritime search and rescue sector. The photo that XXXX XXXXX has posted was taken in Geneva 2010, where there is a number of former Allied Special Forces and French Paratroopers. I felt at the time that to be involved in such camaraderie that I would openly display my para service. Perhaps inappropriately in some eyes, but I don't normally do this in Australia. To sew the Bogong moth on my right sleeve of my jacket to display my para quals is just wrong…’

What is ‘wrong’ Mr Copeland that you have openly worn a service qualification badge to which you have no entitlement to wear.

The image above is of the Royal Australian Navy’s Parachute qualification Badge awarded to sailors who have not completed the SAS selection and CT training cycle but have completed para training and awarded the standard RAN parachutist wing. This includes the Clearance Divers who now form part of the east coast based TAG-E which is structured around the Sydney based 2 Commando Regiment.

By your own admission, you state that you wore the qualification badge to impress people while overseas, ‘but I don't normally do this in Australia’. But in the same admission, you say: ‘They are awarded to anyone in the RAN who is para qualified. In my case, I served with Coast Guard for 8 years and wore them on my uniform to denote my pride in being a former paratrooper in the maritime search and rescue sector.’

Your trivial dismissal of the protocols and importance of qualification badges does not serve you well. As a result of your own distinguished service, you would appreciate that qualification badges are of immense importance to those men and women who work hard to achieve them. If we accept your argument, anyone attending a RAAF reunion may as well turn up wearing pilot’s wings…it’s the same thing! We note that you proudly wear the Commando Badge, would you not be offended if a person wore that badge having not won the right to wear it?

To wear qualifications insignia which you did not earn is wrong Mr Copeland. Just wrong. We know you are parachute qualified, congratulations on that significant achievement but just because there is no ‘badge’ or ‘bling’ to be worn to signify your skills as yet, even you would agree that to wear that qualification badge in totally inappropriate and disrespectful to the Naval community. Further, to wear it when performing your coast guard duties to denote you as ‘being a former paratrooper in the maritime search and rescue sector’...All ANZMI can ask is why? The last time we looked, the coast guard did not have a paratroop capability, nor is the Coast Guard part of the Royal Australian Navy.

Let this be the end to this matter. Let us be clear on our three points of concern.

Firstly, begrudgingly, you have acknowledged that it is inappropriate to wear the unofficial ‘tin’ medal with your official medals and have taken steps to remove it.

Secondly, you are wrong in assuming our issue is with your entitlement to the ASM, it is simply your entitlement to wear two ‘Cambodia’ clasps when all the evidence suggests you are wrong. Simply remove the ‘Cambodia’ clasp from your ASM and return it (the clasp) as almost everyone else did and that will be the end of the matter. If however you continue to argue that you have an entitlement to the clasp, please put up or shut up. All ANZMI is interested in is for you to produce evidence that we are wrong, that is all.

Thirdly, do not play the pious Victim of a non-existent campaign against you when you openly admit to wearing a Royal Australian Navy para qualification badge you have no entitlement to wear.

That is what this case is about, three simple points which Mr Copeland by his own admission has taken some steps to address. Mr Copland would have everyone believe that ANZMI is in some way aligned to person/s or groups who oppose him. This is totally without foundation. Mr Copeland via one of his numerous Facebook attacks asked what ANZMI does for the Veteran Community. Well, Mr Copeland, ANZMI's only objective is to expose ‘the wannabe’, false pretenders and medal cheats who by their action bring shame to the Veteran Community by belittling the honours and awards so hard won by genuine young and old veterans alike. We have no interest in the politics of organisations such as the APPVA, nor are we waging a vendetta against Mr Copeland. He is the master of his own destiny and it is in his hands alone to resolve these matters by admitting his mistakes and simply acknowledge he was wrong, to his credit he has made some small steps in that direction.

Yes, it is true that Mr Copland’s case is no way near the worst case to cross our desk, but we action every report received fairly, on its merits and without fear of favour. When evidence is provided we act accordingly. Mr Copeland, in his own words has made admissions that ANZMI is correct regarding one of the issues we raised ( wearing unofficial medals), there is no defence for him wearing Navy para wings, he simply did not earn them and all he need do is to provide evidence that refutes the evidence ANZMI has offered in regard to wearing two 'Cambodia' Clasps, he is entitled to wear that clasp on the AASM, not the ASM.

These are the facts of this case, nothing more, nothing less.


Located in: Stolen Valour
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