Whether he’s driving a delivery van around the streets of Brisbane, or patrolling the perimeter of Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium during domestic security-focused Exercise Austral Shield, Reservist infantry soldier Private Abbas Foladi eagerly takes up opportunities that come his way.

Private Foladi is a proud member of the 25th/49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, in Brisbane and was among a contingent of Army’s 11th Brigade that answered the no-notice call-out to participate in Exercise Austral Shield.

While each soldier has their own motivation for volunteering to serve in the Reserves, Foladi wanted to give something back to the country that provided his Afghan family with a humanitarian visa, allowing them to relocate to Australia in 2014. 

“As a Reservist we get lots of opportunities and I’m always hungry for ways to improve my skills,” Private Foladi said.

“This has been a great training exercise for all of us and one of the important lessons is that if we are called up by the Government for this type of scenario, we have to know how to work with other response agencies.”

His parents and three siblings initially moved to Launceston in Tasmania when he was 14-years-old.

After a visit by Defence Force Recruiting to his local school planted the initial seed, he joined the 12th/50th Battalion, Royal Tasmania Regiment in 2020.

Since enlisting, he’s answered the call for Reservists at every opportunity.

Upon moving to Brisbane for greater employment opportunities, one of his first moves was to transfer to 25th/49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, in his new home town.

Exercise Austral Shield was designed to test how the ADF conduct counter-terrorism operations in support of state civil authorities.

States and territories retain and provide the first response to domestic security incidents within their respective jurisdictions, however the Defence Act 1903 allows them to call for ADF assistance from the Commonwealth.

Private Foladi, who works for a Brisbane-based freight company, said he was fortunate to have an understanding employer and a supervisor who had also served in the Army.

“My supervisor served full-time in an artillery unit and he has been a mentor to me since I joined the company,” he said.

He added that everyone at the company were supportive of his Reserve service, but his biggest supporters are his parents and siblings.

And now the experiences gained in Exercise Austral Shield have made him weigh up his future career options.

“I’ve always had an interest in law enforcement, so I’m now considering a full-time role in Defence, Police or possibly even Border Force,” he said.

In the meantime, Private Foladi is back driving his delivery van on the streets of Brisbane, waiting for his next opportunity for Reserve service.