Commander of Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20 Major General Jake Ellwood has issued a Facebook video (and, presumably, also a ‘normal-means’ directive (since ADF members are not allowed to access Facebook over military means)) to his subordinate commanders, to guide their actions in the field on this current operation.
CAPTION: Corporal Luke Jackson from the 6th Engineer Support Regiment assembles an Australian Army mobile water filtration system at the Kingscote town jetty on Kangaroo Island. The mobile plant will turn sea water into drinking water for residents of the island. Photo by Corporal Tristan Kennedy.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
Several thousand full-time and reserve personnel are currently deployed across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria providing direct support in the field, at sea, in the air and from Defence bases across fire-affected regions.
Major General Ellwood’s message is intended as both guidance and authority for commanders in the field in directing the day-to-day activities of the soldiers, sailors and airmen under their command.
Major General Ellwood said he wanted to provide commanders with clear guidance as they tackle the difficult task at hand.
“The ADF’s surge to support the Australian response to the bushfire emergency is to have an immediate, demonstrable and positive impact in order to support our emergency-management services and affected fellow Australians,” he said.
“[But] safety first – we are not to become a part of the problem.
“Get the priorities right. These will constantly change. I need you to watch, assess, amend and then act.
“Put others first. Provide our emergency-service personnel and affected civilians with what they need and when they need it.
“We are focused on providing a meaningful contribution and reinforcing their leadership at all levels.
“Lean forward and offer the best and most appropriate advice for our unique assets to best meet their needs.
“Do not put off to tomorrow what can be done today. We will be judged on our responsiveness – and we should be.
“Don’t turn away anyone in need. If you don’t have a solution, go and find one.
“If we can do it, and it’s ethical and responsible, we will.
“Do not have our people our our assets dormant. If There is not an immediate task, think of a task that will need to be done tomorrow, and do it today.
“Be thoughtful and imaginative.
“And, finally, help us tell our story in the media. But, when I’m referring to ‘our’ story, include the emergency service We are there to support them. Never make it about us – make it about the ADF as part of the community and as part of the nation.
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“Make us proud, like you always do.
“My thoughts and prayers will be with you all as you lean in, side-by-side with our fellow Australians at this critical moment in time.”
This video message was received overwhelmingly positively on Facebook and, as one woman said – “Major General Jake Ellwood your fellow servicemen have gone above & beyond in what you asked of them in your message here. They were super amazing from the moment of contact! Courteous, caring, considerate, compassionate and all with a smile! This made me feel so Very Proud to be an Aussie and I can’t praise all on board HMAS CHOULES enough! Your command and families I’m sure will be extremely proud already but from the bottom of my heart… Thank you! for all that you’ve done and all that you will endure in the future. Stay safe… love your work. XKaren“.
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