Navy personnel have been working alongside their Army colleagues contributing to the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic across country Queensland – in some cases hundreds of kilometres from the ocean.
Most Navy personnel have been providing quarantine assistance to state authorities at the Brisbane and Cairns airports and various hotels in Cairns, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Other sailors have been supporting the Queensland Police Service at control points for border control operations around the state.
Reservist Able Seaman Kirsty Waters celebrated a milestone during operations at Killarney.
“This deployment will be one to remember as I turned 30 out here and the Army boys bought me cupcakes, while my partner organised some balloons to be sent down,” Able Seaman Waters said.
“Even the local café brought morning tea and their puppy to the check point.”
Chief Petty Officer Stan McClintock is thankful for the opportunity to work with Army in support of the Queensland Police Service, stepping into a leadership role with the Warwick-based TE3, coordinating personnel and logistics for a number of police check points.
“I’m enjoying working with Army to ensure the smooth running of our area of operations. It’s very cold at the check points, so it’s important for morale to ensure we do what we can to keep the members well fed and warm,” Chief Petty Officer McClintock said.
Defence Force personnel have been on the ground supporting the Queensland Police Service since early April, and for the past few weeks Navy has been working side by side with Army in various roles.
Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Grant Ireland was deployed to the Goondiwindi Police Check Point and explained how different, yet interesting, this role has been from previous Navy tasks.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of and witness how well Navy personnel are working with Army during this operation,” Petty Officer Ireland said.
“It’s so different to be working away from a ship at sea or port.
“I felt appreciated by the locals, Queensland Police Service and Army, and I believe what I have been doing matters. I have great respect for Country Queensland.
"I’ve even been talking to my mates about doing a two-week road trip, visiting outback Queensland towns when things ease, maybe around a rugby league match.”