This is a bit of a change from the Army Historical Conference. For a start, it was smaller, with about 200 attendees. The topic was "Sea Power Ashore and in the Air". I presented a paper on the Naval Beach Commandos.
Presenting a paper involves a lot of preparation. I made two trips to Melbourne to research it, spent a week writing it during my break and a couple of days on the powerpoint presentation. I always show up early with the presentation on a CD. Should there be problems, I bring the laptop so i can create another copy if need be, possibly in a different format. The paper itself is not finished yet. I have until the end of August to get the paper in although I couldn't bear working on it for that long. I hope that I can get it all finished on the weekend. I got the 7,000 word limit raised to 8,000; which should help. They also gave me a style guide, which should be fun. It informs me that I live in the South West pacific, not the Southwest Pacific, and that the war of 1990-91 was the Gulf War while the one of 2003 was the Iraq War. Official. (Remember, you heard it here first.) All in all, the paper seemed to go over well.
The gave me a lot of knicknacks, including rulers, pocket calculators, mousepads and three CDs of music from the Navy Band. Gee thanks guys.
Found Jeff at lunchtime on day 1. No, he hasn't read the thesis draft yet. Surely, I must be bubbling up towards high priority by now. But it doesn't get urgent for a while yet. I still have to finish the remaining chapters. I think I might have a go at Borneo while I still have all this stuff about the beach commandos in my head.
Some of the other presentations were fairly interesting. There was a good one by a Vietnam era naval helicopter pilot. There was also quite a large British prescence, the Brits mphasising the point that both Britain and Australia are what they call "medium level powers". There's some discussion about working with the British again in Iraq. For the last forty years, all thought has been directed towards working with the Americans.