The high-clearance vehicles from 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment (41RNSWR), have been in demand during Operation Flood Assist 2022.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers Private Riva Brown and Private Jamie Morrison from 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, unload crates of refrigerated milk to Ulmarra on the New South Wales mid-north coast. Story by Major Jesse Robilliard. Photo by Corporal Dustin Anderson.
With many areas around the NSW northern rivers town of Grafton cut off because of flooding, the Reserve unit’s personnel have used the vehicles to deliver much-needed supplies to stranded residents.
Lance Corporal Jamie Dyson said he and his fellow reservists have supported numerous tasks at the request of civilian emergency services.
“As part of Operation Flood Assist 2022, we went out to some remote towns where they weren’t able to get supplies taken to them by emergency services due to them not being able to take boats to that area because of debris.” Lance Corporal Dyson said.
“We have supplied two different areas with food and extra sandbags.
“It’s good. It’s why I joined the reserves after transitioning from the regular army – to give back to the community; to help out.”
Since being activated in late February, the Grafton-based members of 41RNSWR have assisted the local community with delivering food, medicine and filling and distributing sandbags.
Private Jamie Morrison helped residents from the riverside village of Ulmarra evacuate as the floodwaters rose quickly.
“We had a crew, with a truck with a high-clearance vehicle under emergency services direction, to drive through that floodwater to the community of Ulmarra,” Private Morrison said.
“Once there, they searched for any individuals in the community that wanted to leave with them.
“We loaded up those that wanted to leave into the truck, drove them through the floodwater, back to a pre-positioned vehicle on the road.
“We loaded them into those vehicles and took them to evacuation centres that were set up in Grafton.
“Some floodwaters were coming up at quite a rapid pace – it caught people off guard.”
Private Morrison comes from the NSW mid-north coast, growing up in Coffs Harbour.
He said helping the community through the flood crisis had been very rewarding.
“Being part of Operation Flood Assist, having grown up in the region myself – it does feel good to give back to the community that you grew up in,” he said.
“Whatever tasks we have next – filling up sandbags – you have just got to be flexible with it, whatever tasks come through.”