Home' Army News : February 3rd 2011 Contents 2 NEWS
Army February 3, 2011
Getting started: Pte Adam Skinner, 9RQR, is
keen to do his bit for the huge flood clean-up
effort at the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea.
By Graham McBean
ADF personnel have played
a critical role in response to
the worst natural disaster in
More than 1900 tri-service per-
sonnel deployed on Operation
Queensland Flood assist under com-
mand of JTF 637 as the full magni-
tude of the floods emerged.
The ADF brought significant spe-
cialist capabilities early to the assis-
tance effort and later brought boots
on the ground when the waters began
to subside and numbers were needed.
For many operational veterans,
the aftermath in devastated areas
was among the worst sights they had
Brig Paul McLachlan assumed
command of JTF 637 on January
17 from Col Luke Foster and was
in place to witness the effect of the
"It was the worst carnage I have
seen," Brig McLachlan said.
"Grantham has continually
shocked everybody that has been in
there, including guys that have expe-
riences of East Timor early in opera-
tions and an engineer corporal who
was part of the tsunami response.
"Certainly, the worst-affected
areas of Brisbane and Ipswich have
No-one was prepared for the
vision of cars being swept away in
Toowoomba and a destructive wall of
water descending on Grantham.
Rotary-wing aircraft provided a
vital early response, bringing sup-
plies to isolated towns and regions
and executing daring airlift rescues
by day and night.
The network of RAAF bases at
Richmond, Amberley and Townsville
provided staging areas. At one point
19 aircraft were flying continuously
out of RAAF Base Amberley.
Specialist ADF capabilities
such as Navy clearance divers were
deployed to survey all of Brisbane's
16 river bridges for damage and
HMAS Huon started operations
fitted with sophisticated sonar equip-
ment on January 18 to search for
debris that posed navigational hazard
to shipping in Moreton Bay and the
Soldiers from Gallipoli Barracks
deployed in numbers to help with
general support tasks after the floods
Troops from 8/9RAR were
involved in the heart-wrenching
search-and-recovery tasks in the
Grantham and the Lockyer Valley.
Chap Philip Wyllie, 7 Bde padre,
said the soldiers dreaded finding
flood victims but understood the
importance of returning those killed
to their families.
Brig McLachlan said most of
the "heavy-lift" tasks were com-
pleted and ADF personnel were
returning to home bases and camps.
The ADF presence in Grantham,
however, remained about 300 and
would continue to bring assistance
as long as needed.
Brig McLachlan said the most
important quality that ADF person-
nel had brought to the flood effort
He said he was proud of "every
single ADF person" who had joined
the task force.
"Without fail, every single place
that we have visited we have had
people come up and just comment
on the dedication and their work
"People are amazed at just how
hard every person is working.
"The dedication, professional-
ism, humility and the support for
those involved has been amazing."
Soldiers respond in Victoria
By LCpl Mark Doran
and Maj Ian Toohill
VICTORIAN soldiers and civil-
ians have worked shoulder-to-
shoulder to protect communities
from the rising floodwaters in the
state's north and help with recov-
Commander 4 Bde Brig Robert
Marsh was appointed coordinator
of all Defence assistance in Victoria
and said the deployed soldiers were
happy to support Victorians in need.
"We are here for as long as
we are needed to support all the
Victorian government agencies in
their endeavours to mitigate the
affects of the floods," he said.
Initially three platoons from
Victoria's Reserve Response Force,
formed within 24 hours, deployed
to Bendigo and provided Rapid
Impact Assessment (RIA) teams
evaluating damage in each of the
towns identified by Victorian State
OC Maj Paul Middleton headed
up the RIA task group, which cov-
ered hundreds of kilometres in the
days after the floods struck.
"The task group has primarily
reported on infrastructure damage
and resources required in the imme-
diate future," he said. "We've also
assessed more than 3000 houses in
The Navy also helped with food
and relief drops for locals and live-
stock on isolated properties.
Maj Kym Engler, 4/19PWLH,
OC of the task group operating in
Swan Hill, said the main support
provided had been sand-bagging,
transporting personnel and inspect-
"On Australia Day we had a pla-
toon at Lake Boga assisting almost
300 local volunteers strengthening
the levee by laying 20,000 sandbags
in six hours," Maj Engler said.
"We had been working the same
hours as the emergency services,
from 7am to 6pm, and as the flood-
peak approached they ran a 24-hour
control centre and we stepped up to
24-hour operations as well."
The initial challenges of com-
ing into a new area, such as estab-
lishing local contacts, getting the
soldiers bedded-down and supply
contracts for rations and fuel were
smoothed over by the 8/7RVR
Swan Hill Depot commander Sgt
Sgt Logan was the liaison offic-
er to the Swan Hill Municipality
Emergency Control Centre and
advised on the capabilities and pos-
sible options for ADF assistance.
He used his local knowledge on
conditions and his relationship with
the local officials to give advice to
military commanders on routes and
the situation on the ground.
"The flood has affected my fam-
ily fairly profoundly, as my house
overlooks the Little Murray River
and is only 65m from the water,"
"Fortunately I have a two-storey
house. We moved all the furniture
upstairs, prepared the house and the
family went to stay with my in-laws
"This freed me from having to
worry about them so I was able to
give maximum support."
Big job: Spr Lachlan Stevens, 14 Tp, 2CER, clears rubbish and
debris from a home in Chelmer, Brisbane, after the devastating
Photo by Cpl Janine Fabre
The deep end: Maj Kym Engler, 4/19PWLH, surveys rising flood waters.
Photo by LCpl Mark Doran
David Edlington: (02) 6265 4650
John Wellfare: (02) 6266 7615
Chief of Staff
Graham McBean: (02) 6265 1161
Sgt Andrew Hetherington: (02) 6266 7614
Cpl Zenith King: (02) 6265 2151
Lcpl Mark Doran: (02) 6265 1304
AB Melanie Schinkel: (02) 6265 2427
Bill Cunneen: 0402 155 220
NOTE: The best person to contact if you
have a story idea is the Chief of Staff
Fax: (02) 6265 6690
Mail: The Editor, Army, R8-LG-044,
Department of Defence, ACT 2600
Tim Asher: (07) 3332 7651 or 0414 552 667
Phone: (02) 6266 7607
Army is published fortnightly by the
Directorate of Defence News. It is printed
under contract by Capital Fine Print. The
material published is selected for its inter-
est. The views expressed in published arti-
cles are not necessarily those of Defence
or Army. Every advertisement is subject to
Directorate of Defence News approval and
the Directorate of Defence News may, at its
discretion, refuse to accept an advertise-
ment. The Directorate accepts no respon-
sibility or liability in relation to any loss due
to the failure of an advertisement to appear
or if it appears in a form which is not in
accordance with the instructions received
by the Directorate of Defence News. The
fact that an advertisement is accepted for
publication does not mean that the product
or service has the endorsement of the
Department of Defence or Army.
Face of Army
The Soldiers' Newspaper
Links Archive December 9th 2010 February 17th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page