Risky business just another day at the office

It might have been a relatively simple task for Sergeant David Bailey, but rendering safe a 500lb bomb amidst vital national infrastructure in Nauru was a complex situation.

CAPTIONA 500lb unexploded ordnance after detonation during Operation Render Safe, Nauru. Story by Captain Karam Louli. Photos by Corporal Sam Price.

The procedure on December 13 was a vital task for Sergeant Bailey, who led a team as part of Operation Render Safe. But, as he pointed out, “we train for this all the time”.

“The team I’ve had this year is one of the best I’ve worked with, so I could concentrate on the task at hand,” he said.

Sergeant Bailey was set on the path of joining Army from a young age, developing the ambition as a student at James Nash secondary school in Gympie, Queensland.

CAPTIONAustralian Army explosive ordnance disposal team leader Sergeant David Bailey.

“There was a bloke my dad worked with who was a combat engineer. He sold it to me and I become a sapper,” he said.

“I love being a combat engineer – it’s problem-solving. Being an explosive ordnance disposal [EOD] technician is problem-solving to the max.”

With an operational career that has spanned the Middle East and across the Pacific, Sergeant Bailey is no stranger to the rigours of complex procedures.

CAPTIONAustralian Army Sergeant David Bailey, left, and Corporal Mykel Ward place a 500lb unexploded ordnance (UXO) in a disposal site.

“Coming up with a solution to protect all the utilities, churches and war memorial was a bit of a challenge, but it has been good fun,” Sergeant Bailey said.

Having been home for only 50 nights this year, he is eager to spend time with his loved ones.

“After this deployment, I’m looking forward to seeing my wife, my kids and spending some time with them,” he said.

“Beyond that, I want to stay on the tools as long as I can. I love the challenges of problem-solving that comes with the being an EOD technician.”

Operation Render Safe is part of Australia’s enduring partnership with Pacific neighbours to reduce explosive remnants of war in the region.


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