Fresh from competing in the recent Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on the Army yacht Gun Runner, Tasmanian Corporal Ashton Brooks flew to Victoria’s RAAF Base East Sale to support Operation Bushfire Assist.

As the local team leader for Joint Movements Control Office – Melbourne, she is one of 6000 full-time and reserve ADF personnel working with state and territory authorities to respond to Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

“My role in this operation is to coordinate and prioritise the movement of passengers and cargo into and out of bushfire-affected areas on board the Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters and Air Force C-27J Spartans,” Corporal Brooks said.

“The biggest challenge is sourcing information and identifying supply agencies like Australian Aid, Ambulance Victoria Health, Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Victorian Fire Services for the pallet-loads of donated food and water.

“The amount of supplies that has been donated has been amazing.

“It’s been an incredible experience and being able to help in my own way is very rewarding.”

ADF personnel have been providing direct support in the field, at sea, in the air and from Defence bases across fire-affected regions since September 2019 and will continue for as long as needed.

When Corporal Brooks returns home to Hobart, she looks forward to catching up with her family and getting back down to the Salamanca waterfront to reflect on her rewarding time supporting Australians in need.