In World War II, Winston Churchill described Army reservists as "twice the citizen", which is what South Australian local Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Benveniste is in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a combat engineer, Lieutenant Colonel Benveniste didn't hesitate to offer his specialist planning skills to support the ADF’s Operation COVID-19 Assist and one of its teams embedded with South Australia Health.
"The opportunity to serve domestically, providing support to the state in this crisis, is particularly important to me," Lieutenant Colonel Benveniste said.
In his civilian role, Lieutenant Colonel Benveniste is an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at the Royal Adelaide and Calvary Adelaide hospitals, which gives him a unique set of transferrable planning skills to help fight COVID-19.
"With a reduction in the number of elective surgeries and a significant decrease in trauma surgeries as a result of people doing the right thing and staying at home, I can use my skills in other ways during this crisis,” Lieutenant Colonel Benveniste said.
Along with his valued civilian skills, his reservist role is as a senior planning officer in South Australia’s 9th Brigade based at Keswick Barracks.
Lieutenant Colonel Benveniste’s skills accompanied by his 'insider's' understanding of the implications of a potentially strained health system is a valued combination during this time of crisis.
He has served with the Army Reserves for 18 years.
ADF personnel across the country are supporting state and territory governments as part of the nationwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.