Senior executives from Western Australian companies and organisations that support the ADF Reserves were given a taste of the life of a reservist on Exercise Boss Lift WA 2021.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer NUSHIP Stalwart Commander Steve McCracken, right, and Sub Lieutenant Kimberley Smith give a talk to employers and supporters of reservists on Exercise Boss Lift WA. Story by Lieutenant Mick Wheeler. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Damian Pawlenko.
The 21 civilian representatives of organisations that employ or support Navy, Army and Air Force reservists toured HMAS Stirling and Irwin Barracks in Perth from September 13-15.
Their visit to Army’s 13th Brigade included briefings by senior officers, equipment and weapon displays, a simulator shooting experience, transport in armoured and other vehicles and a meal from a ration pack.
The Navy program included an at-sea submarine experience in HMAS Collins, one of the first tours of the yet-to-be-commissioned new replenishment oiler NUSHIP Stalwart, viewing a submarine simulator and other onshore support facilities, and participation in sea survivability training.
Over the three days, there were also opportunities to talk with ADF personnel and network with other employers and Defence industry representatives.
In opening Exercise Boss Lift, Senior ADF Officer Western Australia Air Commodore Fiona Dowse told the participants the program highlighted the important contribution employers and supporters of reservists made to Defence capability.
“We have nearly 30,000 ADF reservists who make a vital contribution to the defence of Australia,” Air Commodore Dowse said.
“Reservists’ training builds confidence and cultivates problem-solving skills, leadership ability and other attributes that are highly valuable in the workplace.
“Recognising the contribution that civilian employers make in releasing employees for training and operational service is crucial to the Reserve’s ability to deliver relevant capability to Defence.”
Head of Production Operations and Transformation at BAE Systems Australia, Blake Pilgrim, said participating in the exercise gave him an understanding of the life of an ADF reservist.
“This was a fantastic activity with tremendous insight into the value our reservists add to the national defence effort, plus networking with industry counterparts,” Mr Pilgrim said.
Commander 13th Brigade Brigadier Brett Chaloner told participants in his welcome address that reservists were an increasingly critical component of Defence’s workforce model.
“13 Brigade represents a steep change in Army’s approach to hybrid workforce employment,” Brigadier Chaloner said.
“In order to meet the current and emerging domestic and offshore challenges to our national interest, Army will rely on a more diverse and integrated workforce that is connected to community.
“Reservists have become pivotal in this system.
“Army ensures the training of reservists offers a significant value-add for employers through enhanced focus on promoting an agile and growth mindset, generating experience in planning, teaching and leadership skill sets, as well as promoting individual and collective discipline.”
Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Gary Lawton pointed to the importance of engaging with employers and supporters of ADF reservists when he welcomed the group to Navy elements of the exercise, held over two days.
“This was an important engagement activity giving senior executives from organisations which employ or support ADF reservists, including some of our key industry partners, an opportunity to undertake a deep dive into the Defence organisation and increase their understanding of the significant contribution that ADF reservists make to Defence capability,” Captain Lawton said.
BHP’s Vice President Technology Pat Bourke summed up what he and other participants described as a memorable experience.
“Exercise Boss Lift was one of those unique experiences that rarely come along that has reminded me of how important it is to support the reservists that we employ,” Mr Bourke said.
“The exercise showed the professionalism and organisation of the ADF and what great skills our reservists bring to our own company.”