Although he’s from the small town of Ocean Shores on the far north coast of NSW, Army Reserve driver Private Aaron Smith has had no trouble finding his way around the nation’s capital to drop off and pick up personnel and stores.
CAPTION: Privates Will Asquith and Aaron Smith help former Army major now NSW Rural Fire Service member Nick Sheply (centre) to set up a NSWRFS portable automatic weather station at Belowra on the New South Wales south coast.
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Private Smith, from the Newcastle-based 16th Transport Squadron, 8th Combat Services Support Battalion, said it was great to help the Australian Capital Territory community when it really needed ADF support while attached to Emergency Services ACT.
“I’ve been driving their van and taking their stores – such as fire hose fittings, pallets of bottled water, admin documentation and food – out to RFS and SES stations on the edge of the city,” Private Smith said.
“The SES volunteers said they appreciated me getting the stores out to where they were needed, on time.
“Their logistics specialist was then able to get other tasks done, like ordering more supplies in, because I was doing the deliveries for him.”
Earlier in his Operation Bushfire Assist deployment, Private Smith was trained at NSW RFS HQ in Sydney on the Portable Automatic Weather Station (PAWS).
“We had to drive up to Taree and Casino on the north coast and pick up two PAWS to redeploy to Belowra on the south coast and Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains,” he said.
“The RFS man we were working with was a former Army major and he was fantastic to work with because he knew how we operated.”
ACT RFS crew member Ian Reid was one of a dozen volunteer firefighters picked up on Canberra’s north side and transported to an SES station on the southern side of the capital by Private Smith on 2 February.
Mr Reid said providing something as simple as transport to and from the fires went a long way in reducing fatigue to crews.
“I want to offer a big ‘thank you’ to the ADF for their logistic support,” he said.