Building community connections in remote Queensland

A 37 Squadron C-130J Hercules and members of 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (3AMES) flew over parts of northern Australia as part of a recent training initiative.

CAPTIONRAAF personnel from 37 Squadron and Australian Army soldiers from 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, during an engagement in Mount Isa, Queensland. Story by Flying Officer Madeleine Magee. Photo by Group Captain Stewart Dowrie.

The visit to north and central-west Queensland aimed to better familiarise crews with northern Australia’s operating environment, and included a visit to Regional Force Surveillance Group in Mount Isa.

Director Regional Airbase Development Team East, Group Captain Stewart Dowrie, highlighted the importance of the initiative as a part of Air Force’s response to the Defence Strategic Review.

“Getting back into our north more often is absolutely key – getting better integrated as a fighting force to help secure our nation, and engaging with the other agencies that live and work here,” Group Captain Dowrie said.

“It is important we maintain and build on the strong connection between the communities in these strategic locations and our ability to project air power across the north.”

During the stop in Mount Isa, members of the C-130J Hercules crew met with members of Army’s Delta Company 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment (D Coy 51 FNQR), using the opportunity to share insights into the region and the important roles both play in the nation’s security.

Officer Commanding D Coy 51 FNQR Major Graham Rorie described the difficulties of working in remote areas and emphasised how critical the integrated force was to working in the challenging conditions.

“The ability to lift and move over vast distances allows us to project even deeper into the most remote regions and engage with the local communities,” Major Rorie said.

The visit was further enhanced by members of 3AMES sharing its processes with Mount Isa-based nurses and doctors from the Royal Flying Doctor’s service.

Nursing officer Flight Lieutenant Danie Bunting explained how participating in this visit allowed 3AMES to seek opportunities to better prepare and modernise aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

“It provided an opportunity for aeromedical evacuation crew members to integrate with C-130J aircrew and improve AE [aeromedical evacuation] processes in order to maximise patient outcomes,” Flight Lieutenant Bunting said.

“The invitation for 3AMES to participate in this initiative enhanced aeromedical evacuation interoperability with 37 Squadron and communities in northern Australia.”


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