Private Zach Rohrlach was one of 20 soldiers who had just marched out at Kapooka to start initial employment training at the Army School of Ordinance, when they were deployed to border control points in Albury–Wodonga as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

“Working with police has been awesome – it has been going smoothly since the moment we got here,” Private Rohrlach said. 

“It has been interesting coming straight out of basic training to be deployed.”

Commanding Officer of Joint Task Unit 629.1.3 Lieutenant Colonel Andrew White said it has been great to see different units supporting police and the Australian community during a national crisis.

“The Australian Defence Force came out quickly. Within 12 hours we were able to get one of our call signs from 7th Brigade out of Brisbane down to this part of the world,” Lieutenant Colonel White said.

Private Jack Borchard from 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was deployed to the town of Jingellic. He said local residents were kind and supportive.

“Locals have been driving through, buying us coffees, dropping off Twisties – they’ve been all over it,” Private Borchard said.

More than 500 Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to over 20 state border control points in July as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

They have been supporting police across more than 1000km of the NSW and Victoria border.