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SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE
SERVING AUSTRAL IA WITH PRIDE
Navy The official newspaper of the Royal Australian Navy
February 3, 2011
By Graham McBean
ADF personnel have played a crit-
ical role in response to the worst
natural disaster in Queensland his-
More than 1900 tri-Service per-
sonnel deployed under command
of JTF 637 as the full magnitude of
the Queensland floods emerged.
The ADF brought significant
specialist capabilities early to the
assistance effort and later brought
boots on the ground when the
waters began to subside and num-
bers were needed.
For many operational veterans,
the aftermath in devastated areas
was among the worst sights they
BRIG Paul McLachlan assumed
command of JTF 637 on January 17
from COL Luke Foster and was in
place to witness first-hand the effect
of the floods on damaged areas.
"It was the worst carnage I have
seen," BRIG McLachlan said.
"Grantham has continually
shocked everybody and there are
guys who have experiences of East
Timor early in operations and an
engineer corporal who was part of
the tsunami response.
"Certainly, the worst affected
areas of Brisbane and Ipswich have
The magnitude of the problem
became apparent with reports of an
area the size of NSW inundated in
However, no-one was prepared
for the later vision of cars being
swept away in Toowoomba and a
destructive wall of water descend-
ing on Grantham.
Rotary-wing aircraft provided a
vital early response bringing life-
blood supplies to isolated towns
and regions and executing daring
airlift rescues by day and night.
The network of RAAF bases
at Richmond, Amberley and
Townsville provided staging areas.
At one point 19 aircraft were flying
continuously out of RAAF Base
Specialist ADF capabilities such
as Navy clearance divers were later
deployed to survey all of Brisbane's
16 river bridges for damage and
blockages (see page 3).
HMAS Huon began operations
fitted with sophisticated sonar
equipment on January 18 to search
for debris that posed navigational
hazards to shipping in Moreton Bay
and the Brisbane River (see page 5).
Soldiers from Gallipoli Barracks
Helping hand "Certainly, the
areas of Brisbane
and Ipswich have
-- BRIG Paul McLachlan,
Commander JTF 637
deployed to assist with general sup-
port tasks after the floods subsided.
Troops from 8/9RAR were
deployed to the heart wrenching
search-and-recovery tasks in the
Grantham and the Lockyer Valley
areas and have found flood victims.
7 Brigade padre CHAP Philip
Wyllie said the soldiers dreaded find-
ing flood victims but hoped they
understood the importance of return-
ing those killed to their families.
BRIG McLachlan said most of the
heavy-lift tasks were now completed
and ADF personnel were returning to
home bases and camps.
ADF presence in Grantham, how-
ever, remains at about 300 and would
continue to bring assistance as long as
BRIG McLachlan said the most
important quality ADF personnel had
brought to the flood effort was atti-
He said he wanted to state how
proud he was of "every single ADF
person" who had joined the task
"Without fail, at every single place
we have visited we have had people
come up and comment on the dedi-
cation and their work ethic," BRIG
"People are amazed at just how
hard every person is working.
"The dedication, professional-
ism, humility and support for those
involved has been truly amazing."
Chief of Navy VADM Russ Crane
said he was extremely proud of
"Feedback from community lead-
ers and government has been over-
whelmingly positive," he said.
"The tireless efforts of planners
and the professionalism of those
deployed has helped the people of
Queensland and enhanced Navy's
reputation as a professional force
able to act quickly, decisively and
ADF aid 'truly amazing' after worst flooding in Qld history
READY AND WILLING: A
Sea King lands at Forest
Hill to transfer residents to
Gatton to escape rising flood
waters while, inset, ABBM
Samuel Brown piles mud-
covered belongings in the
front yard of a property for
removal during Operation
Queensland Flood Assist.
Photos: POIS Damian Pawlenko
and CPL Janine Fabre
THANK you to the many reserves
who have emailed and rung offering
assistance with the flood crisis.
A Joint Task Force has been estab-
lished in Brisbane and Navy is provid-
At this stage no assistance is
required from reserve personnel,
however, there is no restriction on
members assisting in the community as
many of you have already done.
Again, thank you to everyone for
your offers of assistance.
-- NHQ-SQ Command
Message to reserves
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