Former Virgin pilot and reservist with the 5th Engineering Regiment, Corporal Daniel Le Bron, from Ardross in Perth’s south, is seeing another side of airport operations. 

He has been working on Operation COVID-19 Assist since April – first as part of the contact tracing team supporting NSW Health and subsequently at Sydney International Airport supporting NSW Police and Australian Border Force.

“I flew Virgin’s ATR, its regional turbo prop aircraft,” Corporal Le Bron said. 

“I was recently notified my aircraft was not going to be kept – I was gutted.”

Corporal Le Bron said he knew other people were doing it tougher.

“After I found out I was going to lose my job, I met a fellow who was applying for an exemption to the quarantine to see his mother who had had a stroke,” he said. 

“He’d been told the request probably wouldn’t be granted in time to see her before she passed away.” 

Corporal Le Bron is one of 360 reservists from Army, Navy and Air Force working as part of Task Group 629.1, supporting the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

ADF personnel have been assisting with contact tracing of positive cases, staffing checkpoints on the NSW and Victoria border and providing quarantine assistance at Sydney International Airport for returning international travellers, and one Sydney hotel for ADF personnel returning from overseas.

Commander of the NSW task group Brigadier Mick Garraway said reservists made a significant contribution.

“Some have put their civilian life on hold for a significant period of time,” Brigadier Garraway said. 

“Many have been on duty since the bushfires and have demonstrated a fantastic capability.” 

Corporal Le Bron said he was enjoying doing something meaningful. 

“Working with other people has helped me from a mental health point of view – It’s been great,” Corporal Le Bron said.