After months of planning and a volume of paperwork, Project Excalibur has completed a voluntary windup as a veterans’ organisation. The good news is that Excalibur will not shut down, but will continue as a program of Wandering Warriors, meaning that selected SAS veterans and their families will still be able to enjoy the benefits of the project.
So what is Project Excalibur and where did it originate?
During early 2009 the concept of an extra dimension of care for members of the SAS Regiment and their families was proposed to the commanding officer of SASR: to enhance and supplement existing physical and mental health programs within the Australian Defence Force. By late 2009 the concept was formally endorsed, and raised as Project Excalibur. Since that time, many SAS families have enjoyed Excalibur down time, courtesy of former SAS officer and project chairman, John Dwyer AM, and his team.
The project, simple in costs and conduct, enables selected families to escape the day-to-day stresses of their military life for a quiet respite. Managed entirely by volunteers and financed solely through the benevolence of public and private donations, the project recognises the special contribution to our nation by the soldiers and families of the Australian SAS Regiment. As John Dwyer once aptly described Excalibur: ‘our project is driven from a place of mateship and the need to engage the wider community in a duty of care for our Special Forces soldiers, their spouses and their children.’
All funds and assets of the wound-up organisation will be transferred to Wandering Warriors. According to Wandering Warriors CEO Bob Brett MC, adding this program helps Wandering Warriors give positive and direct assistance to serving members and their families. He said, ‘We’re delighted with this outcome, knowing that the good work of Project Excalibur will not be lost but will continue in a new form.’ Bob Brett envisages a future Excalibur program encompassing all Special Operations Command units, not just SASR.
Also welcoming the news was Wandering Warriors chairman, retired Brigadier Terry Nolan AM, who stated, ‘the union of the two organisations will be advantageous to both causes and will simplify management and administration.’ As part of the new arrangement, Excalibur’s retired Colonel Phil Gould will join the Wandering Warriors Board.