Some Australians only dream about riding in some of the Army’s most heavy-duty fighting equipment, but a small group of civilians on October 20 got to do just that.

Employees of APGC Group attended a Legacy fundraiser ball last year and had the highest bid in a charity auction to join the Army for the day at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.

They were hosted by the Commander of the 1st Division/Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood.

Anthony Pietrobon, from APGC Group, said he and his colleagues had enjoyed the opportunity to be a soldier for a day.

“We have had the opportunity to take part in a range of things including taking a ride in the crew commander position of an M1A1 main battle tank – something I wanted to do as a kid but have never had the chance,” Mr Pietrobon said.

“We did brunch with the Commander of the 1st Division, Major General Ellwood, and got some background on how he conducts planning and manages his day-to-day operations.

“We also had the opportunity to learn about the history of the 1st Division, visit the mess, ride in the Bushmasters, M113 APC [armoured personnel carrier] and witness the Military Police dogs in action.” 

The opportunity to experience Army for the day has become a longstanding activity facilitated through Legacy with the support of the ADF.

Major Peter Southern, of the 1st Division Headquarters, said the event provided a great opportunity for civilians to gain an insight into Defence and the wider military community.

“A lot of the soldiers who took part in the event were asked a lot of questions about their job. For many, they realised just how special and unusual their job really is,” Major Southern said.

“This has been a fantastic experience, which supports Legacy, an organisation which has a long and special relationship with Defence.

“Legacy does fantastic work and I know that the Legacy families and veteran community really appreciate this type of event where we can raise money for the organisation while educating Australians on what the Army is all about.”

A similar experience will be auctioned off at the Legacy Gala Dinner on November 6 in Brisbane.

More photos can be viewed on the Defence image gallery.