Home' Air Force News : February 17th 2010 Contents Editorial team
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Chief of Staff
Graham McBean: (02) 6265 1161
February 17, 2011
ADF personnel have been called on
again in the wake of a second natu-
ral disaster as Tropical Cyclone Yasi
crossed the North Queensland coast.
More than 1200 soldiers, sailors
and airmen under command of Joint
Task Force (JTF) 664 responded
within hours of Cyclone Yasi cutting
a swath across the north.
Another 400 personnel outside the
impact area provided JTF 664 with
surveillance and damage assessment
while air transport delivered critical
stores and personnel.
Up to February 9, RAAF King
Airs, C-130s and C-17As had flown
about 80 hours of support tasks and
moved more than 322 tonnes of cargo,
including about 220 tonnes of food.
An AP-3C was redirected from
Operation Resolute and provided aerial
surveillance over the damaged areas.
Commander JTF 664 BRIG Stuart
Smith, from the Townsville-based 3
Brigade, said that many ADF person-
nel had begun preparing even before
the cyclone had hit.
"Even before the winds abated
many of the soldiers, sailors and air-
men involved turned up for duty and
deployed into the disaster zone," BRIG
"They had not even seen their
own homes and had left their partners
He said the Yasi response effort had
benefited greatly from the experience
gained from other disasters, particu-
larly Cyclone Larry.
One of the regional mayors had
told him that the Yasi response after
two days was at the same point that
Cyclone Larry was after seven days.
BRIG Smith said he admired the
ADF personnel for their efforts and
that their contribution was highly
effective and warmly received by the
north Queensland community.
MORE THAN 200 tonnes of groceries
were transported to Cairns Internation-
al Airport by Air Force.
The mammoth figure was helped
by the efforts of 1 Airfield Operations
Support Squadron (1AOSS), which
has had little cause for respite in 2011.
As airlift support to Operation
Queensland Flood Assist progres-
sively wound down, it was quickly
replaced by Operation Yasi Assist.
Mobile Air Load Teams (MALTs)
from 1AOSS were among the first
Defence personnel to arrive in Cairns
after the cyclone struck.
A 37SQN delivered a MALT and
forklift to Cairns on February 2, just
hours after Tropical Cyclone Yasi had
Another MALT and forklift combo
joined them on February 3, ready for
the wave of cargo that was about to
arrive in Cairns.
That same day, a 36SQN C-17A
at RAAF Base Amberley was packed
with a 23-strong Queensland Urban
Search and Rescue Team and their
equipment, and flown to RAAF Base
On the weekend of February 5
and 6, Air Force supported a request
from the Australian National Retail
Association to transport groceries
needed in Cairns.
Roads between Townsville and
Cairns had been damaged or severed
by debris, calling for the airlift.
On February 5, Air Movements
personnel at Amberley and Richmond
loaded a C-17A and two C-130s with
84 tonnes of groceries.
Meanwhile, Air Movements per-
sonnel at Richmond and Townsville
worked to load a C-130J with water,
rations and communications equip-
ment for a flight to Innisfail on
Innisfail, which had suffered so
badly during Cyclone Larry in 2006,
had once again stood directly in the
path of the cyclone.
On February 6, Air Movements
Section Amberley stepped up its
efforts, loading 123 tonnes of grocer-
ies on waiting aircraft destined for
They also processed a contingent
of 64 NSW police officers flying
home by 37SQN C-130 after flood
relief efforts in Queensland.
On February 7, 36SQN C-17As
flew from Amberley to Townsville
packed with tents, tarps, stretchers,
jerry cans, and vehicles to support
ADF relief efforts.
UNLOADING BEGINS: Pallets of groceries are unloaded off the C-130 that landed at Cairns airport.
200 tonnes of groceries flown in
From February 2 to February 9,
ADF support to cyclone-affected
Supplying about 2800 ration
packs in the Cairns district and
more than 390 ration packs
and about 400 bottles of water
in the Innisfail district
Delivering almost 50 tonnes
of stores to the Cairns district
and about 20 tonnes to the
Clearing more than 160km of
road in the Townsville district
Removing debris from
about 260km of road in the
Townsville district, 35km in the
Cairns district and about 45km
in the Innisfail district
Clearing the yards and grounds
of more than 90 community
properties in the Townsville
district and 40 community
properties in the Innisfail dis-
Cutting and clearing trees
from more than 210 sites and
clearing debris from about 90
houses in the Innisfail district
Collecting and dumping almost
250 tonnes of debris from the
Conducting door knocks on
about 5000 homes in the
Townsville district and more
than 450 homes in the Innisfail
The movement of civilians by
air or road -- about 210 in the
Cairns district, 90 in Townsville
and 14 in the Innisfail district.
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