While Air Force reservist Flight Sergeant Edward Wills calls the “crayfishing capital of Australia” home, he left South Australia’s southernmost town of Port MacDonnell to help trap the spread of coronavirus.
From April to September, he was part of Operation COVID-19 Assist, supporting Joint Task Force 629.2, leading a technical triservice team that worked on every ADF aircraft deployed to Avalon Airport in Victoria for the operation.
“For months, we have been making sure the movement of aircraft is COVID safe. That means extra cleaning, testing and separating arriving and departing personnel and cargo,” Flight Sergeant Wills said.
“Our tasks have ranged from helping the Avalon Airport crew with handling luggage, marshalling aircraft, facilitating the unloading of aircraft while the engines were running, and refuelling, to getting personnel on and off other transport like buses.”
At the busiest time in the fight against COVID-19, up to two Air Force aircraft landed and were processed by Flight Sergeant Wills' team each day.
“There were, understandably, strict rules we had to follow at Avalon Airport to stop the spread of the virus,” Flight Sergeant Wills said.
“We established a small terminal in the ADF hangar and had to direct the aircraft accordingly.”
Enlisting in 1979 and transferring to the Reserves in 2001, Flight Sergeant Wills has worked on a variety of aircraft in his role as an avionics technician.
“I’ve previously worked on F-111C, C-130J Hercules, PC-9/A, DHC-4 Caribou aircraft – you name it,” Flight Sergeant Wills said.
“In recent years, I’ve held a variety of positions with No. 21 Squadron at RAAF Base Point Cook in operations and engineering.
“Now I work with Capability, Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s Single Disposal Organisation in the Avalon Airport hangar.”
When not on Reserve duty, Flight Sergeant Wills spends time diving and repairing boats.
He also is heavily involved in the Australian International Airshow, which is held at Avalon Airport.
The next airshow will be held in November next year - Air Force’s centenary year.