Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Herbert is Commanding Officer of the exercise gateway at Camp Rocky, the staging area for troops in the lead up to the exercise.
“We have thousands of troops and vehicles from all over Australia entering the training area. All must come through Camp Rocky for safety, health, scenario and environmental briefs and to get their ‘weeds and seeds ticket’.”
Since June 18, over 720 vehicles have been cleaned and certified for weeds and seeds. This certifies that the vehicles and equipment have been washed and decontaminated to ensure that weeds and pests are not brought into the training area.
To ensure that the activity runs smoothly, troops are briefed on all aspects of the exercise. Since the start of the exercise, 1035 personnel have undergone reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSO&I) training at Camp Rocky, while all others received this training at their home units. This training prepares personnel arriving in Rockhampton for their roles and responsibilities during the exercise.
Camp Rocky has an average of 287 vehicles on site and it currently accommodates 213 people in permanent accommodation and 743 people in tented accommodation.
With so many people and vehicles moving in and out of Rockhampton, there are a range of moving parts to manage, control and track. Individual Defence members swipe in and out when moving in and out of the exercise area. Vehicles all receive individual Travel Control Numbers to manage the volume of traffic flow at any one time.
Military Police have also set up a Domestic Policing Unit within the gateway and work in cooperation Queensland Police for vehicles and people moving between Rockhampton and Shoalwater Bay. Military Police also control and manage personnel and movements within the exercise area.
At the conclusion of the exercise, Camp Rocky will be gateway for the departure of troops on their return home. The departure of vehicles will be staged so that the impact on road traffic is minimised and to ensure that all soldiers return to their unit safely.
Exercise Hamel runs until July 18.