Your first military operation is something you never forget and for Air Force security police officer Flight Lieutenant Lauren Hartley it was made extra special by receiving her new rank slides.
When she put her hand up for Operation COVID-19 Assist, in Victoria, she wasn’t expecting all the new experiences before her promotion to Flight Lieutenant.
Throughout her deployment she supported the Department of Health and Human Services by accompanying authorised officers on home visits and contact tracing, where she spoke with Victorians experiencing COVID-19 first-hand.
"I was calling Victorians who had tested positive to COVID-19 and we were assessing whether they met criteria for release from isolation," Flight Lieutenant Hartley said.
She completed her deployment on Operation COVID-19 Assist by working as a watchkeeper in the Joint Operations Room of Joint Task Group 629.2, which was where she was promoted.
The headquarters made the promotion extra special by arranging Commander of Joint Task Group 629.2 Brigadier Matthew Burr to lead the promotion ceremony.
"To be promoted by Brigadier Burr, the Commander of the ADF Task Group in Victoria, was a surprise and an honour," Flight Lieutenant Hartley said.
"I am looking forward to the new challenges as a flight lieutenant and building on my experiences from my first operation."
Originally from Adelaide, she attended Mercedes College, joining the Air Force in 2013 as an intelligence officer before taking on the new challenge of security police officer in 2017.
Currently a member of the Air Warfare Centre in Adelaide, Flight Lieutenant Hartley manages the team which provides specialist security support, with particular focus on governance, security planning, advance capability management and operations security.
"It’s a rewarding, dynamic and exciting job that has new challenges every day," Flight Lieutenant Hartley said.