He might run a business doing American barbecue cooking lessons in civilian life, but Australian Army reservist Private Jason Jackson currently is serving up medical and general supplies to checkpoints and hotel quarantine sites in Victoria as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

The Melbourne-born registered builder, who joined the Reserves in 1991 and has 18 years of active duty, is a specialist driver and part of Joint Task Group 629.2 at Maygar Barracks in Victoria where he will be until January next year.

As a member of the supply and logistics team, he completes day and night shifts over a seven-day period. 

“A normal shift for me can consist of pick-ups from airports, maintenance inspections on vehicles and completing additional driving courses and professional development,” Private Jackson said.

“Sure, sustaining the rate of effort can be hard at times, people get tired and energy levels can be low, but the camaraderie is high, everyone is motivated down here.”

Back home in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, Private Jackson is a registered builder who runs four diverse businesses in construction, promotional goods and branding, bee-keeping and in American barbecue cooking lessons.

He enlisted in the Army Reserve in his final year of high school.

“I originally enlisted as a reserve carpenter, then driver, but I had no idea I would be doing tasks like this,” he said.

“But I enjoy the work and get to be part of something bigger than just myself.

“The work really is making a difference and I’m doing my bit. It’s what we all train for.

“I’ve seen the positive impact the ADF has had on everyday Victorians during Operation COVID-19 Assist.

“I’m a little cog in a very big machine, everyone is working together.”

Private Jackson was inspired to join the Army by his father, uncle and grandfather, who were all soldiers.

“The balance has always been ideal for me to serve and still develop my civilian career, I constantly tell people I’m a reservist,” he said.

“My wife and two beautiful daughters are also so proud of what I do.”