Personnel from No. 383 Contingency Response Squadron explored Cape York in the northernmost reaches of Queensland for Exercise Woomera Strike from November 9-19.

Headquartered at RAAF Base Townsville, the squadron is responsible for providing scalable expeditionary air base operations to enable the projection of air power.

Travelling in convoy, the detachment was accompanied by members from No. 87 Squadron who provided tactical intelligence support.

Commanding Officer No. 383 Squadron Wing Commander Alan Brown said the main objective of the exercise was to prepare personnel for the short-notice activation of a bare base – namely RAAF Base Scherger – in an uncertain environment.

“The exercise was designed to train and develop individual and collective planning skills and knowledge in order to meet Combat Support Group’s force generation requirements and squadron preparedness for bare base activation,” Wing Commander Brown said.

“The experience of being on the ground at RAAF Base Scherger, the remoteness and isolation of the place and understanding the challenges and complexities of activating a bare base were key lessons learned.” 

Establishing close links with the local Indigenous community was also a top mission priority.

They should all be proud of their contribution and dedication to mission success – it was fantastic to see everyone so involved.

“Importantly, the exercise provided No. 383 Squadron the opportunity to expand its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth engagement program into Cape York,” Wing Commander Brown said.

Supported by a number of community organisations in the Townsville area, the program is aimed at creating opportunities for Indigenous youth to experience life in the Air Force.

“Number 383 Squadron has developed great relationships with local foundations such as Clontarf, Stars and Cowboy House,” Wing Commander Brown said. 

“We wanted to expand our network further north into Cape York and Exercise Woomera Strike allowed us to do this through school visits in Coen, Weipa and Bamaga.

“We’ll work hard to grow and strengthen these new relationships, and promote Air Force as a worthwhile career path for Indigenous youth in Cape York.”

Wing Commander Brown said he was highly impressed by what both squadrons had achieved as a detached expeditionary force on exercise.

“Many of the participants had never planned at this level before and all were very committed in producing a workable plan to activate RAAF Base Scherger,” he said. 

“They should all be proud of their contribution and dedication to mission success – it was fantastic to see everyone so involved.”

Activities such as Exercise Woomera Strike are reflective of Air Force’s strategic intent to provide its people with the necessary opportunities to sharpen their intellectual edge in order to better understand the full spectrum of conflict and how it relates to the joint force.