Royal Australian Air Force medical assistant Leading Aircraftwoman Reaksmey Sophea of No. 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron in Williamtown, NSW, is deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist.

Although she's been deployed on operations before, Leading Aircraftwoman Sophea said they haven't been as big as this.

“I appreciate the opportunity to come out and really help and contribute to something bigger,” Leading Aircraftwoman Sophea said.

“It feels good to be part of a team especially when you are helping the community.”

As part of the ADF’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, around 200 medical personnel are supporting Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus testing at multiple sites across Melbourne, including Casey Fields.

“Our first few days at the testing site involved setting up the routine and processes, and getting as many tests done as safely and accurately as we could,” Leading Aircraftwoman Sophea said.

“We have increased tests from the first day – from just over 500 to well over 700.” 

Leading Aircraftwoman Sophea is part of a Navy, Army and Air Force team. 

“Working with specialisations from the other services and finding out how they operate builds strong relationships,” she said.

“I have always been inspired by other health care professionals and how selfless they are.”

Leading Aircraftwoman Sophea’s choice of job after school was a conscious decision.

“I really wanted to join Defence,” she said.

“I wanted to contribute to something bigger than myself and give back to the country that raised me and my family.

“I chose the Air Force after learning about its history and thinking how cool it would be to work around aircraft.

“I’m happy to be a part of the ADF’s Operation COVID-19 Assist, building relationships between the ADF and the civil community.”