Vic troops join flood relief in Paynesville, Victoria
Five Unimogs and 12 soldiers from 4th Brigade ferried around personnel from Royal Australian Air Force Base East Sale and delivered sandbags to “hot spots” such as supermarkets and power stations to keep the community running.
A Unimog recovery vehicle was also close-by should any trucks break down or become stranded.
The troop commander, Lieutenant Ian Green, said the Army uniforms were a welcome sight for the locals.
“They love it,” he said. “We had members of the public cheering us on and showing their appreciation.
“They were coming into the command centre offering us their support and even brought in home-made cakes. It’s really nice to know our help has meant so much to the community.”
The 4th Brigade soldiers drove through the night to reach Sale then Airfield Defence Guards took over as Unimog drivers until the soldiers had some much-needed rest.
Once back on the job, the reservist engineers offered sandbagging tips to the Air Force personnel.
The engineers’ skills were also called on to fix a collapsed sandbag wall protecting a sewer pumping station at Lakes Entrance.
Liaison officers from 4th Brigade were placed in regional and state control centres to help coordinate the response.
A planned follow-on deployment of a platoon of soldiers from 4th Brigade was cancelled by the RAAF Base East Sale Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, Group Captain Gregory Frisina, after he realised there were personnel ready to go much closer to home.
“The officer training school was the first to go, having just returned from a cancelled, rain-soaked, bush exercise,” he said.
Almost 40 staff and students from the Air Force’s officer training school left East Sale at 1.30am on June 6, followed by second and third rotations over the next 36 hours.