Army reservist and NSW Trains shift manager Sergeant Parvinder Singh is making sure everything is on track during Operation COVID-19 Assist.

Sergeant Singh, the 1/19 Royal New South Wales Regiment (RNSW) Quartermaster, is deployed to Canberra as part of the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the pandemic response.

The Bathurst local’s duties include the day-to-day logistic needs of the Joint Task Group (JTG).

“I assist with purchasing, procurement registers, travel and the movements of material,” Sergeant Singh said.

“My most important role is making sure troops get fed - no one is a good soldier on an empty stomach. I keep tabs on how much food we need and are using and how we manage distribution.” 

Sergeant Singh’s role also includes forecasting how much material is needed for tasks. This planning plays a critical, if sometimes unnoticed, part of any operation. 

“Logistics is a quiet role. When you do your job well and everything goes smoothly, no one thinks about it. But if something goes wrong, everyone knows about it,” he said.

Sergeant Singh credits the leadership skills he has learnt through the Army for enhancing his capability as a people manager at NSW Trains.

“I’ve used the learning from my Army courses in my civilian role to help me develop my own team,” he said. 

“I handle the total governance of my crew members. This means looking after my team’s needs, performance, health and safety.

“I also act as a peer support volunteer. This is an important role because crew members see things they’ll never forget. Support plays a big role in minimising negative impact on the individual.

“I am more mentally prepared, especially in uncontrolled situations, because resilience is something we learn as part of the Army.”

I’ve used the learning from my Army courses in my civilian role to help me develop my own team.

Like most reservists, the skill transfer between Army and civilian work goes both ways for Sergeant Singh.

“From my civilian side, I am a people manager so I need to engage with people at different levels. I use these people skills in the Army to create a network of different levels of ranking, which is essential to do my role well,” Sergeant Singh said. 

“If you have the people skills you can connect with anyone, regardless of rank.”

Sergeant Singh’s role in Operation COVID-19 Assist allows him to give back to the community.

“I feel proud when we are called in. I’ll do anything to help,” he said.

He would not be able to give back to the community without the support from those around him.

“The support my family has provided me is amazing,” he said. 

“I want to say a big thanks to my wife and my family for supporting me every time. They stand by me and help me out, even with packing."

NSW Trains has a strong history with Defence and employs many reservists and ex-Defence members.

“Being part of the Army also helps me engage and communicate with ex-military members who are now working in the civilian world,” Sergeant Singh said. 

He’s also appreciative of NSW Trains’ continued support for his Army commitments.

“NSW Trains is a supportive employer and I have been there almost 12 years,” he said.

“I’m thankful to all my managers. During Operation Bushfire Assist I had to leave quickly because I was called out. They helped me and we worked together.”