The last thing Army reservist and civilian prison officer Private William Reid expected to witness while deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist was the birth of a child.

But that’s exactly what happened to the infantry solider while he was on an operational placement with Ambulance Victoria as part of his 60-day training to qualify for a Certificate II in Medical Services First Responders.

It definitely took a few seconds to process everything that was going on,” he said following the experience.

Also while on the operational placement, he drove the ambulance, set up monitors, prepared equipment, provided emergency patient transport and was involved in the aged-care response to COVID-19.

“It has been an eye-opening experience seeing the challenges local emergency services go through every day,” he said.

Private Reid was stationed at vehicle checkpoints in Melbourne when he volunteered to take up the opportunity to train with Ambulance Victoria as part of his deployment.

He completed two weeks of online training before the operational placement.

“A usual shift consists of two paramedics and one ADF member as a contingency,” he said.

“After seeing me [an ADF member], patients are different – those who might usually be disgruntled or aggressive are more calm around us.”

Private Reid said the experience with Ambulance Victoria had given life to the potential for a new civilian career.

He is considering studying para-medicine next year.

“This experience has had a massive influence on me, and it’s something I won’t be taking for granted,” Private Reid said.

“Ambulance Victoria staff do an incredible job helping others, and I’m so thankful I could do my part.”

He said he appreciated the opportunities the ADF provided.

“It’s fantastic that the ADF has a focus on personal and professional growth,” he said.

Private Reid, ofthe 8/7 Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment, has been deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist since July as part of Task Unit One in Joint Task Group 629.2.

Prviate Reid grew up in Invermay in Tasmania, but now lives in Geelong. He enlisted in the Army Reserve five years ago.

He was one of 20 people who were presented with their Certificate II in Medical Services First Responders on October 5.

The Certificate II in Medical Services First Responders is equivalent to civilian qualifications such as the Certificate II Advanced First Aid.