Home' Air Force News : March 15th 2012 Contents 3
March 15, 2012
SGT Dave Morley
DOZENS of ADF members swung
into action across southern NSW and
northern Victoria to assist with recent
flood relief operations.
Tasks have included sandbagging,
door-knocking, and the provision of
Unimog and Mack vehicles for access-
ing flood-affected areas.
WGCDR Jo Elkington, Air Base
Executive Officer at RAAF Base
Wagga (RBW), said it had been one
of the busiest times experienced at the
"At very short notice 59 person-
nel, led by RAAF School of Technical
Training (RAAFSTT) staff, rallied
in support of the SES at the Local
Emergency Management Centre," she
"They ran out of sand and sand-
bags before they ran out of energy.
"The RAAFSTT WOD, WOFF
Richard Salcole, capped off the even-
ing task by volunteering his services
as a forklift driver for the SES."
WGCDR Elkington said a sec-
ond Defence Assistance to Civil
Community task was later issued for
RBW members to assist with evacua-
tion notifications to residents of North
Wagga. "Thirty-eight RAAFSTT
FLOODS in the Wagga area forced
the organisers of the annual
Kapooka sports series to postpone
the rugby union competition on
At this stage the organisers
are planning to hold the Kapooka
10s competition on a weekend in
September with a date yet to be
IT IS MIDNIGHT on March 7 at the
ADF Emergency Operations Centre
that has been established at RAAF
Earlier in the day, the desks and
whiteboards had been manned by a
busy team of Air Force personnel, but
as the clock ticks towards a new day,
fresh faces wearing Army rank slides
on their cams start to arrive for the
This scene is one of many demon-
strating a united ADF that have played
out behind the walls of this unassum-
ing building over the past 12 hours.
A CASUALTY of the floods was F-111C
A8-142, which was about half-way
along its journey to new home of RAAF
Base Wagga when it was forced to turn
The F-111 -- which will become a
static display aircraft on base -- had left
in convoy from RAAF Base Amberley
on March 5 and was supposed to have
arrived on March 7.
The conditions at Wagga, however,
meant the aircraft would not be able to
be safely unloaded on base.
So on March 6 a decision was
made to return it to Amberley.
The F-111 disposal project man-
ager from the Disposal and Aerial
Targets Office (DATO) within DMO,
WGCDR Clive Wells, said Wagga base
management requested that if pos-
sible, the F-111 not proceed to Wagga
because of base resources being used
for disaster relief.
"This included the equipment
required to unload our convoy, storage
and workspace required to reassemble
the aircraft and accommodation for the
work team," WGCDR Wells said.
"Also, the crane required to unload
the fuselage could not access the base
from Wagga due to the flooding and
had been seconded for flood emer-
we looked at
other options of
ng the aircraft
en route, the
n a position
o accept the
aircraft, we deter-
mined it would
be more cost
effective to have
the convoy return home.
"We expect to attempt the move
again in late April/early May once the
flood waters have subsided."
The F-111 will be the fifth of seven
to be displayed at Air Force bases as
static display aircraft.
trainees supervised by 12 1 Recruit
Training Unit (1RTU) staff assisted
the police and SES notifying residents
before assisting with sandbagging of
local businesses in the area," she said.
"RAAFSALT have assisted
through the provision of forklift driv-
ers at the LEMC Depot and the Wagga
Wagga City Council."
RBW duty members have had their
hands full with telephones "running
red hot" with personnel contacting the
base due to difficulties in returning to
Wagga for courses or duty.
WOFF Salcole said he was espe-
cially impressed by the efforts of two
instructors, SGT Duane Chugg and
CPL Dion Johnston, who despite the
pouring rain, got stuck into the job of
"They took charge of the trainees
and really helped get the best effort
out of them during the situation," he
"I reckon that 75 millimetres of
rain fell on top of those young men
and women over five hours, but that
didn't stop them from giving every-
thing they had to the job.
"It was an amazing sight and the
word 'pride' doesn't quite express just
how impressed I was by their efforts."
WOFF Salcole said staff from
1RTU were doorknocking in the North
Wagga Wagga area when they came
across an elderly couple who were
struggling to move their belongings
out of their home and onto dry ground.
"The boys quickly found a pantech
and took care of the job themselves.
That generous action will make a
world of difference to that couple
when the crisis is over," he said.
"Come Monday and Tuesday the
school had a contingent of up to 150
staff and trainees out in the field and
the commitment continues."
WGCDR Elkington said the
Mayor of Wagga Wagga, Councillor
Kerry Pascoe, and COL David Hay,
Commandant of the Army Recruit
Training Centre at Kapooka, passed
on their thanks for the hard work from
"They appreciated the efforts of
Navy, Army and Air Force personnel
all providing an outstanding effort
in supporting the SES," WGCDR
Prime Minister Julia Gillard also
thanked ADF members for their assis-
tance to the Wagga Wagga community
when she visited the city on March 7.
INUNDATED: Above, the flood-affected city of Wagga in NSW; inset,
retired F-111 A8-142 pulls into a park in Wallangarra during its aborted
road trip to RAAF Base Wagga.
Photos: LACW Jessica Smith
Pig in the
to head back
United ADF reaches out to help Wagga flood victims
MR SAND MEN: SGT Duane Chugg, left, and CPL Dion Johnston who
led a team of trainees to fill sandbags for about five hours in pouring
rain (above inset); below inset, FSGT Rick Mortellaro speaks with Prime
Minister Julia Gillard during her visit to flood-affected Wagga.
Photos: LACW Jessica Smith and Michael Frogley, Daily Advertiser
Earlier in the day, aircrew from
a visiting Navy Squirrel aircraft had
temporarily occupied the facility after
taking the commandant of Kapooka
on a flight to survey the devastation
from the air. Air Force had provided
the photographic support for that mis-
A few hours later, Navy, Army and
Air Force were handing out dinner
boxes to each other, and to the civil-
ian staff who had come to support the
effort. In the background, Defence
Support Group officers were allocat-
ing rooms to Defence and civilian
emergency service personnel who
were part of the flood relief operation.
This cooperative scene has not just
occurred by accident. It was part of a
strategy to help each other out in order
to achieve the dual goals of fighting
the floods and continuing the impor-
tant training courses at both Kapooka
and RAAF Base Wagga.
The principle was fairly straight-
forward. Emergency operations plan-
ning and coordination happened out
of the dedicated Air Force facility.
Staffing was rotated between Army
and Air Force.
Meanwhile, Kapooka was ready
to stand up an emergency evacuation
centre for 300 people at short notice.
Out in the field, all three ser-
vices were doorknocking homes to
advise residents when it was time to
evacuate. At other times they could be
found working side-by-side to fill in
excess of 65,000 sandbags that were
used by the local community.
The Commandant of the Army
Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka,
COL David Hay, said the concept had
helped all ADF elements involved in
"This rotation planning has shared
the workload and enabled both bases
to continue with their important train-
ing schedules," COL Hay said.
"Of course this situation has had
some impact on the ADF, just like the
rest of the community, but by working
together the three services have man-
aged to achieve much more than we
could have otherwise."
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