Army Reservist Sapper Ethan Cotton didn’t hesitate when he was called on two operations this year. 

An engineer from the 10th/27th Battalion Royal South Australian Regiment, No. 3 Field Squadron, he has been involved in Operation COVID-19 Assist and Operation Bushfire Assist. 

Sapper Cotton joined the ADF inspired by his grandfather who fought in World War II as a Kitty Hawk pilot. 

The South-Australian local said 2020 had been a challenging year but the most rewarding in his seven-year reservist career. 

"The sense of reward you get when helping the community is powerful," Sapper Cotton said.

“Getting to know the people behind the all-blue uniform [police] and sharing professional experiences has been interesting during the shifts on checkpoints.”

Sapper Cotton said he had also received significant support and encouragement from his civilian employer, Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC). Both his careers have developed skills complementary to one another, even though ASC's focus is specific to the maritime environment.

"The company policy encourages reservists to stay actively engaged and professionally trained,” Sapper Cotton said. 

“Having the opportunity to put training into practise and help the community is an absolute career highlight.”