Supporting the NSW Government’s COVID-19 mandatory hotel quarantine program has been rewarding for two ADF personnel.

For Army reservist Private Finnleigh Dudley, his role in compliance monitoring is a far cry from being a landscaper on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this operation helping international travellers check-in to their quarantine hotels around Sydney,” Private Dudley said.

Private Dudley is posted to the 2nd/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.  

He’s been deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist since July.

“It’s been quite unusual in many ways, including the fact that we’re deployed in Sydney. As an infantryman, normally we’re out in the bush somewhere,” he said.

He said the opportunity to get out and about was one of the reasons he joined the Army Reserve after leaving high school four years ago.

But it wasn’t the only reason.

“I didn’t have much direction and I thought it would help make me a better person and teach me a lot of skills,” he said.

“It’s definitely improved my character and I’m a far more resilient person.

“And it’s given me a lot of unique experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, particularly as a landscaper.”

Leading Aircraftwoman Samantha Knutsen, an avionics technician with No. 37 Squadron, has been working with Private Dudley.

She’ll remain deployed over Christmas and the New Year period.

 “I volunteered to be on Operation COVID-19 Assist because I wanted to do something to help the community,” she said.

“Dealing with the passengers has been a highlight. I’ve seen how appreciative they are of us helping.”

Since Operation COVID-19 Assist began in March, about 1000 ADF personnel have worked in the Sydney Infil Team, assisting NSW Police and staff at hotels across the city welcoming arrivals into mandatory quarantine.