Deployment an ‘eye-opening’ experience

Private Daniel Saumaitoga, from Narwee in NSW, said his first deployment, which was on Operation NSW Flood Assist, was an eye-opening experience.

CAPTION: Private Daniel Saumaitoga, of the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, deployed on Operation NSW Flood Assist. Story by Lieutenant Edward Pym. Photo by Corporal Sagi Biderman.

The rugby league enthusiast and reservist rifleman from the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, said the experience offered lessons in mateship, teamwork and resilience.

He was one of 850 ADF personnel who served on the operation, contributing to recovery efforts across the state.

Private Saumaitoga undertook operational tasks in the Manning River region.

“We assisted mostly rural areas, being farmers and growers with large properties, helping locals who had lost pretty much everything,” Private Saumaitoga said.

“Getting in there and shifting debris to start their rebuild process was a huge help, particularly to the older residents.”

Coming into the deployment without any expectations, Private Saumaitoga said he was taken aback by the teamwork shown, particularly as his team had members drawn from across Army.

His team made a significant impact in the recovery and rebuilding effort in a short period of time by removing debris and erecting fences to protect cattle.

“A lot of the families we were helping had gone through so much, having experienced drought, bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and now extreme floods,” Private Saumaitoga said.

“Among many of these families, I was inspired by the Aussie spirit and tremendous resilience they showed, just ready to crack on and move on despite losing everything again and again.”

Private Saumaitoga said he felt a sense of achievement in giving something back to other Australians and communities in need, making a difference to the lives of families who had experienced so much.

He said he also felt proud of the connection between the Army and the Australian community during tough times.

Camaraderie also was a stand-out feature of his operational experience, he said.

Outside his Reserve service, Private Saumaitoga is an information technology governance professional with Westpac and a junior rugby league coach.

Private Saumaitoga thanked his partner Rochelle and children Talena and Kye for supporting him as he spent time away to serve on the operation.





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One thought on “Deployment an ‘eye-opening’ experience

  • 25/04/2021 at 7:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts following the ADF’s huge contribution after the recent flooding. As a former RAN NCO it is always gratifying to see how civilians react to the professionalism of ADF personnel. I now work for Lifeline in disaster recovery on the Mid North Coast and the ADF’s command and control structure seems to be a missing skill set in civilian life and I notice it frequently.
    We were assisting in Telegraph Point (just north of Port Macquarie) when one of your contingents arrived. This community was also devestated by flood after drought, bushfire, Covid etc. The community had quickly set up up their own evacuation and then recovery centre from within their own resources. After two weeks though fatigue had set in for the volunteers and it gave the community a huge lift in spirits to see the Army arrive with plant and equipment. I heard many positive comments and rest assured, your contribution will be remembered for a long time.
    Well done to all.


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