Deployment a first for squadron
The inclusion of 18 members of No. 3 Security Squadron on Operation COVID-19 Assist was the first time the unit had deployed a team made up entirely of reservists.
Sergeant Ben Pedersen, of RAAF Base Pearce, praised the work of the team, particularly as the squadron members come from all over Australia.
He said the team members came together with a can-do attitude and willingness to step out of their comfort zone in the fight against coronavirus.
“The team I worked with was on a permanent roster at Chaffey Bridge on the Victoria-NSW border near Mildura and worked alongside NSW Police,” Sergeant Pedersen said.
“Our role was to check border passes and credentials for commuters entering NSW from Victoria.
“It was incredible how friendly everyone was considering we were checking more than 3000 vehicles a day on weekdays.”
The deployment was the first time Sergeant Pederson had led a team in an operation this year.
“As team leader of No. 3 Security Squadron personnel, I was not only responsible for the welfare of my team, but I also liaised with New South Wales Police site managers to ensure we were carrying out the task as required and creating a smooth checkpoint transition for the public,” he said.
“I also provided daily updates to my headquarters and section management on how we were doing, which helped management and members on future rotations.
“I have especially enjoyed working with NSW Police. The integration was very easy.”
Also on Operation COVID-19 Assist was Leading Aircraftman Bryce Eldredge, who said he felt extremely lucky to be involved in a domestic operation directly protecting the public.
“The local people were great to have a chat with as they came back and forth through the checkpoints, and they enjoyed seeing the ADF out in the community,” Leading Aircraftman Eldredge said.
The squadron’s members also were deployed to Tooleybuc, Euston, Wentworth and Gol Gol in NSW.