Army says tanks to community

Army says tanks to community

Major Carrie Robards

Army has recently supported the community of Victoria in a different way.

Aside from their COVID-19 duties, Army members participated in a recent Australian Federal Police social media campaign called #MaskUpMelbourne. 

As Victorians responded to the mandatory wearing of masks as a part of stage four restrictions, the AFP’s Southern Command Community Liaison team wanted to raise spirits within the community. 

Event organiser Senior Constable Gerald Del Bono said a team member came up with the idea of a giant mask for an AFP vehicle and spent all night sewing it. 

“Initially our intention was to approach our emergency service counterparts from across the state to see if they would jump on board with the campaign,” Senior Constable Del Bono said. 

“Everyone we approached was excited to be involved and from there the initiative kept growing.”

The mask featured on a range of emergency vehicles from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and has now adorned one of the School of Armour’s M1A1 main battle tanks and a military police vehicle from the Domestic Policing Unit. 

Senior ADF Officer for the Puckapunyal Military Area Colonel David McCammon said the initiative was a unique way to further support the local community during the pandemic. 

“We’ve had soldiers from the School of Artillery and School of Armour deploy in support of the COVID-19 response and do a fantastic job,” Colonel McCammon said. 

“This is another way we can show our solidarity with the community and the partners we are working with as a part of that response.”

Senior Constable Del Bono said the AFP approached Army as an emergency service partner and frontline responder to the pandemic. 

“The mask has certainly achieved its purpose of bringing a moment of joy and fun to our partners and members of the community and it’s been our absolute pleasure to be involved,” he said. 

“We were thrilled when the ADF agreed to be involved and incredibly grateful for their support of our campaign.”