Four Air Force members posted to Victoria’s RAAF Base Williams and RAAF Base Point Cook made a considerable contribution to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in their own backyard.

Earlier this year they deployed on Defence’s Operation COVID-19 Assist to support the Victorian Government’s response to the pandemic.

Flight Sergeant Adam Schlemitz, a musician and drum major from the Air Force Band whose hometown is the Victorian town of Hoppers Crossing, laid down his bassoon and mace to lead and manage ADF personnel.

“I was an ADF shift supervisor working at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where I had the opportunity to perform a role far removed from my core specialisation as a musician,” he said.

“I can look back on my deployment with pride knowing it directly contributed to containing the spread of the virus.”

No. 21 Squadron personnel capability officer and Bacchus Marsh local Flight Lieutenant Tracy Spiteri was deployed to the Victorian joint operations’ room, tracking personnel throughout Victoria. 

“I feel privileged to have been part of the team supporting the Victorian Government’s response to the pandemic and I am proud of how quickly Air Force personnel adapted to their new roles,” she said.

“It is rewarding knowing in some small way my contribution has directly supported the Victorian community.”

I can look back on my deployment with pride knowing it directly contributed to containing the spread of the virus.

Usually a guitarist and drum major in the Air Force Band, Corporal David Reynolds supported the DHHS with informatics data entry. 

“I feel proud and thankful to have been given the opportunity to assist DHHS throughout the extremely challenging time for the community of Melbourne,” he said.

Base aviation safety officer at RAAF Base Point Cook Flight Lieutenant Naomi Holmes, who grew up in Bendigo and now lives at Spotswood, deployed in an executive officer role. 

Flight Lieutenant Holmes’ team supported DHHS contact tracing, which notified more than 10,000 people in the Victorian community they were contacts of COVID-positive cases. 

“In my role, I provided mentoring and support to the team, which was crucial in a mentally challenging environment,” she said. 

“I am proud to have been a part of the Air Force team and feel fulfilled that I could contribute to and give back to the community.

“Knowing our efforts had a direct impact on the lives of the people of Victoria is extremely rewarding.”