In Tumut, NSW, there’s a small team from RAAF Base Richmond’s 65 Squadron who have become a driving force behind the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service.
CAPTION: Corporal Shane Watts from 65 Squadron delivers meals and soft drinks to RFS volunteers in the fire grounds. Photo and story by Major Cameron Jameison.
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Delivering meals, maps, operational orders and spare parts to the services, the RAAFies are effectively relieving the hard-pressed volunteers of these very necessary support tasks.
A [usually] plumber from 65 Squadron Corporal Shane Watts is tasked to supply RAAF bulldozer drivers working alongside Army engineers building containment lines to the north of Tumut, with whatever they need.
“I was contacted to deploy at 7pm on a Thursday night, and by 7 o’clock the next morning we were gone,” Corporal Watts said.
He said he was honoured to help the emergency services too, and that the reception from everyone in the affected areas had been overwhelming.
“They have continually thanked us for the help we have given them, but really it is the other way around,” Corporal Watts said.
“The big ‘thank you’ needs to be with them for what they have achieved.”
As per Operation Bushfire Assist commander Major General Jake Ellwood’s orders, Defence personnel everywhere are helping emergency services in any way they can during the national response to the bushfire crisis.
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