COVID-19 isn’t what the world expected and it requires improvisation and adaptation. It also places emphasis on physical and mental strength.

Contributing to that strength for the personnel deployed to the Middle East region on Operation Accordion is Flight Sergeant Owen Batty, a RAAF physical training instructor.

“My role requires me to plan, prepare and provide the physical training capability to all Australian Defence Force members in my location and to the Middle East region where possible,” Flight Sergeant Batty said.

“It allows me to connect with people and provide them with a physical, mental and emotional outlet through physical training.” 

In the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Australian Government implemented stage-one restrictions on social gatherings, meaning that gymnasiums across Australia were closed.

“In line with Australian restrictions, the Australian Defence Force gymnasiums in the Middle East were also closed, so my role took a turn somewhat,” Flight Sergeant Batty said.

“These have been challenges I have embraced because it has forced me to think and work outside the box as well as outside my comfort zone.”

The continued wellbeing of our deployed members’ physical and mental health is extremely important to me.

Traditional training methods had to change.

“I started to use a deployed website for written training programs, social media sessions, and I also set up training boards around my location for the not so tech-savvy,” Flight Sergeant Batty said.

“The continued wellbeing of our deployed members’ physical and mental health is extremely important to me.

“I take great pride in providing this capability so that our deployed members can continue to support Defence operations in the Middle East.”

On completion of his deployment, Flight Sergeant Batty will return to No. 30 Squadron in RAAF Base East Sale where he is the senior non-commissioned officer in charge of physical and recreation training.  

“I’m looking forward to getting back to my unit and continuing to support them and the Air Force where I can,” Flight Sergeant Batty said.

“Helping someone achieve something physically that before they didn’t think was possible is a large part of why I continue to do my job under any circumstances.”