Combat rescue operators (CROs) from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment and 6th Aviation Regiment have been refining their technical skills to perform personnel rescue.

Formally known as Army Emergency Response, Combat Rescue provides commanders with options to achieve a scalable survivability effect in a range of warfighting environments, including from aviation, armoured and protected platforms, and from inaccessible locations.

Employment Category Manager at the Combined Arms Training Centre (CATC) Warrant Officer Class 2 Eron Sage said the change in name was part of a bigger review of the skillset. 

“CATC recently sat the Employment Category Review and successfully proposed a role and name change,” Warrant Officer Class 2 Sage said. 

“Because of Combat Rescue being a capability with small numbers, we’re responsible for employment category development to meet Army’s personnel rescue requirements.” 

The change to the employment category, which generates a vital capability for Army, has been embraced by CROs, including 6th Aviation Regiment’s Sapper Brendan Parkes.

“We’ve been able to draw on practices from other forces around the globe – it has been exciting learning new skills and developing the capability,” Sapper Parkes said.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the US Air Forces’ 320th Special Tactics Squadron, getting support from the aviation elements.

“This has allowed us to conduct isolated person, or downed aircrew retrieval, rope rescue and advanced winch training.” 

Sapper Anthony Thompson, of Darwin’s 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, said the change was a step in right direction for the trade. 

“It’s important for everyone to understand how combat rescue can be used and where it needs to be to respond effectively,” Sapper Thompson said. 

“Once the new training and equipment is fully integrated, we will be able to support aviation and the combat brigades in personnel rescue operations within Australia and overseas."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Sage said rescue would operate across the full spectrum of operations, ensuring Army was ready to operate in a range of environments in any tasks required. 

“In the context of accelerated warfare, Army needs to be ready to respond and operate across the full spectrum of operations, from high-intensity warfare, to humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and defence aid to civil communities,” Warrant Officer Class 2 Sage said. 

“This change helps to achieve that.”