As COVID-19 restrictions ease across Queensland, 7th Combat Brigade soldiers in Gallipoli Barracks have started to return to work and training.
CAPTION: Soldiers of 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, maintain their marksmanship skills at the shooting range after changes to COVID-19 restrictions at Greenbank Training Area, Queensland. Photo by Trooper Jonathan Goedhart. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch.
Due to social distancing measures, major exercises and non-essential training were paused and units were able to conduct home workouts, interactive computer-based training and operational training scenarios from home on rotating rosters.
Commander 7th Combat Brigade Brigadier Jason Blain said it is important for soldiers to stay sharp and maintain their readiness, even during reduced-tempo periods.
“Gallipoli Barracks is home to a number of Army units with diverse capabilities, many of which have recently assisted the community in response to the pandemic,” Brigadier Blain said.
“This year members have been involved in Operation Bushfire Assist and Operation COVID-19 Assist.
“The return to modified training ensures high safety standards are maintained so we can continue supporting the Australian community when called upon.”
While continuing to take precautions, the brigade will now increase its on-base training to ensure its soldiers remain mission ready.
“We will ease into training carefully, taking measures to ensure physical distancing and good hygiene is maintained and some members will continue to operate from home,” Brigadier Blain said.
“Army’s mission is to prepare forces to defend Australia from all threats and we need to make sure we continue to be able to do this.”
Commanding Officer of 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Thomas McDermott was impressed by his soldiers’ initiative during the pandemic.
“This was challenging for an Armoured Regiment, but the imagination of our officers and soldiers won out and it has been really impressive how they’ve kept their edge, including keeping fit,” Lieutenant Colonel McDermott said.
“Like the rest of the Defence Force, we need to return to gradually increasing our tempo for our core role of defending Australia.”
Lieutenant Colonel McDermott also stressed how important the Brigade’s return to training was for the wider Queensland community.
“7th Combat Brigade consider ourselves a part of the Queensland community and as soon as it’s right to do so we want to get back out amongst Queenslanders,” he said.
“We’ve really missed the community interactions over the past few months.
“We’re starting training again in small, 10-person groups for field exercises, lessons and physical training, in line with Queensland government restrictions.
“We rely on small teams anyway, so this is working well, and we’re really focused on personal hygiene.”