While a third of No. 382 Squadron was deployed on Operation COVID-19, the rest of the unit conducted collective training on Exercise Global Gauntlet (GG20).

The annual force generation exercise was held from July 17 to 24 at the Purga Training Facility near RAAF Base Amberley.

Commanding Officer Wing Commander Stuart Wheal said personnel practised basic skills needed for operating in an expeditionary environment. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to critically assess the manner in which we train and prepare,” Wing Commander Wheal said. 

“Exercise Global Gauntlet was the first activity for No. 382 Squadron after a bit of a hiatus – it was a good opportunity for the unit to ‘shake out’.

“The goal of the exercise was to build on the already strong foundation of trust and teamwork within the unit, while also brushing up on basic field skills.”

Participant Corporal Erin Williamson said the activity was of great professional value.

“GG20 provided an excellent opportunity to consolidate our training in a safe environment, rebuild lost or forgotten field skills and draw on other members’ experience and expertise to further develop our understanding of expeditionary operations,” Corporal Williamson said.

No. 382 Squadron is one of three contingency response squadrons responsible for providing scalable expeditionary airbase operations for the Australian government and providing support during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Wing Commander Wheal said the unit had provided this type of support. 

“Members were deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist and Operation COVID-19 Assist, working closely with police and emergency services to deliver the required effects,” he said.  

Squadron Warrant Officer Stephen Johnstone said the training allowed for the sharing of skills.

“Operational planning, driving ADF vehicles in all environments and radio communications where just some of these skills shared and practised,” Warrant Officer Johnstone said.