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Army SPECIAL LIFTOUT February 3, 2011
The effort by our sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen
thus far has been tremendous.
BRIG PAUL MCLACHLAN -- COMMANDER, OP QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST
LEUT KARA WANSBURY
FOUR Army aviators braved the
Brisbane heat in their DPCUs for the
Lance Armstrong flood relief ride in
Part of JTF 637, the soldiers managed
to obtain four bikes on loan from a local
bicycle store to compete in the 35km char-
They fundraised within the aviation
task group at RAAF Base Amberley and
raised $1800 in donations for Queensland
The ride, led by seven-time Tour de
France winner Lance Armstrong, started at
RNA showgrounds and wound around the
eastern suburbs, returning to the site used
as an evacuation centre during the flood
Receiving a round of applause at the
starting line and praised as Queensland
heroes, the four aviation soldiers began
at the back of the pack. A broken bicycle
chain meant they remained there, finishing
24 minutes behind the famous cyclist.
On completion of the event,
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, also a
competitor, thanked the 3000-strong crowd
for their attendance.
"Thanks folks you've done a great job
for Queensland flood victims," she said.
Participating medic Pte Dean Walsh
"It was really good to see all the people
who came out to support the flood victims,
and to receive praise for doing our jobs up
here was great too," he said.
"I have done a few flights over the
affected areas and it was great to see so
many people at the race, doing the most
that they could to help."
LEUT KARA WANSBURY
BRISBANE-born CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie was
accompanied by RSM-A WO Stephen Ward on
a visit to Army personnel assigned to JTF 637,
Operation Queensland Flood Assist.
The visit included briefings at HQ JTF 637, a
flight over Brisbane River in a 6 Avn Regt Black
Hawk and a brief tour of the Lockyer Valley area of
The visit allowed Lt-Gen Gillespie and WO Ward
to discuss the work undertaken by task force person-
nel, but the CA made it very clear to all that the main
purpose of his visit was to thank the JTF members
for the magnificent work they had done for the
Queensland community in a time of great need.
"Today is a chance to see first hand what they
are doing and how they are interacting with the local
community," Lt-Gen Gillespie said.
"Being a local myself, it has allowed me the
opportunity to see the level of damage that has
occurred in this section of the state.
"Until I got on the ground in Grantham, I had
difficulty understanding how such devastation might
occur on the Lockyer Plain."
With the large number of personnel involved and
the level of cooperation, Lt-Gen Gillespie observed
strong connections between Army, police, local coun-
cil and other government departments.
"The recovery effort is going very well; there is
a strong bond that has been established between the
troops and the local people, the police, council and
other officials," he said.
"It is particularly pleasing to see regular and
reserve forces working seamlessly together in such
a strong fashion. I was particularly proud to observe
that in the face all of that damage, what I call Team
Australia, has come together to help other suffering
Australians: it doesn't get much better than that."
ABOUT 1900 ADF person-
nel have contributed to
Flood Assist, spread between
Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley,
Theodore and St George.
The largest volume of troops
has been concentrated in south-
eastern Queensland, where
Army, Navy and Air Force person-
nel have contributed in several
Brisbane and Ipswich
Soldiers with hand tools and
heavy equipment including
front-end loaders, Mack dump
trucks and skid-steer loaders,
and engineer support have
been participating in the mas-
sive cleanup effort.
Tasks include road clearance,
curb-side collection, engineer-
ing reconnaissance and assist-
Navy Mine Hunter HMAS
Huon and a contingent of Navy
clearance divers have been
conducting a water search and
survey of shipping channels
leading to the Port of Brisbane.
Soldiers have delivered about
800,000 litres of drinking water
Army Bushmaster vehicles
and other heavy machinery
have been used to transport
people and stores, as well as
for clearing debris.
Infantry personnel have sup-
ported search and cleanup
Engineers have been clear-
ing debris by hand and using
heavy machinery, as well as
conducting structural integrity
inspections of buildings.
Amberley air assets
An Army Chinook helicopter
has been providing heavy lift
Air Force King Air aircraft have
been transporting personnel
and supplies, and supporting
Three Navy Sea King helicop-
ters have been moving sup-
plies and personnel.
Two Navy Agusta A109 heli-
copters have been assisting in
search and survey operations.
Nine Army Black Hawk heli-
copters have been undertaking
search, recovery and transport
Four Army Kiowa observation
helicopters have been con-
ducting search operations.
Air Force C-130 Hercules and
C-17 Globemaster aircraft
have airlifted supplies and nec-
ADF operations continue in SE Queensland
WORK GOES ON: Soldiers from 9RQR, like many others deployed on Operation
Queensland Flood Assist, continue to move from one job to the next.
Photo by Cpl Janine Fabre
work in flood-
Specialist support provided in most devastated areas
STOP AND CHAT: CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie talks
to a soldier working with JTF 637.
Photo by AB Jo Dilorenzo
THE ADF response to Queensland Flood
Assist has entered a new phase, providing
more specialist support to post-flood recon-
JTF 637 Commander Brig Paul McLachlan
noted his appreciation for more than 1900 per-
sonnel from all three services who provided
support during the operation.
"The effort by our sailors, soldiers, airmen
and airwomen thus far has been tremendous,"
Brig McLachlan said.
With the initial response and recovery
efforts complete, the evolving mission focus
will be on providing increased specialist sup-
port in areas such as Grantham and Murphy's
Creek in the Lockyer Valley.
"An engineering task group of about 300
personnel, using a range of heavy plant equip-
ment, will remain in the Lockyer Valley to
assist with search tasks and to support local
authorities with the continuing clean up," Brig
Other work is continuing throughout
Queensland to help in recovery efforts.
"Teams of environmental-health special-
ists continue to support local governments in
reducing risk in areas such as a surge in mos-
quito breeding and hazardous debris," Brig
"Military psychological support teams are
working with Queensland Health to enhance
the level of care that can be offered to people
who have suffered as a result of the disaster."
While a large number of troops are returning
to their units, ADF personnel and equipment
remain on standby to return to action at short
notice if required.
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