Townsville soldiers deploy to COVID hotspots

Townsville soldiers will help with the pandemic response in Victoria and NSW

Coronavirus
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Soldiers from Townsville's 3rd Brigade will deploy to Victoria and New South Wales this months to assist with the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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3RAR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Kearns addresses soldiers at Lavarack Barracks prior to their deployment on Op COVID-19 Assist. Photo: Corporal Brodie Cross.

3RAR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Kearns addresses soldiers at Lavarack Barracks prior to their deployment on Op COVID-19 Assist. Photo: Corporal Brodie Cross.

SOLDIERS from Townsville's 3rd Brigade will deploy to Victoria and New South Wales this month to assist with the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The soldiers, predominately drawn from 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, will commence rotations as part of the Australian Defence Force's Operation COVID-19 Assist throughout September.

The soldiers will support the whole of government response to the pandemic and will undertake tasks including contact tracing, and supporting law enforcement agencies with mandatory quarantine arrangements.

A battlegroup headquartered by 3RAR has prepared about 700 troops to rotate into Victoria, NSW and other states as required over coming months.

They will replace soldiers from the Darwin based 1st Brigade and Brisbane based 7th Brigade.

Commander 3rd Brigade Brigadier Kahlil Fegan said that while around 700 are currently prepped and ready to deploy, the numbers who rotate into the southern states will depend on what is needed across the coming months.

"The 3rd Battalion has prepared this first group who will replace those troops from the 1st and 7th Brigades over the coming months," Brig Fegan said.

"However I do anticipate we may need to replace those troops in time and the Brigade is fully prepared to provide whatever support that is required."

3RAR Private Joshua Cass is among the 700 soldiers from Townsville's 3rd Brigade preparing to deploy to NSW and Victoria to assist with the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Corporal Brodie Cross.

3RAR Private Joshua Cass is among the 700 soldiers from Townsville's 3rd Brigade preparing to deploy to NSW and Victoria to assist with the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Corporal Brodie Cross.


The troops undertook a series of briefs and training at Lavarack Barracks in preparation for the deployment, including refreshers and increased training on how to keep themselves and the community safe during the pandemic.

The preparation culminated with a comprehensive readiness check to ensure every soldier and officer deploying prepared to complete their mission.

3RAR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Kearns will lead the contingent.

He said he was confident the men and woman of Townsville would do a great job.

"I have had the opportunity to serve my country on operations overseas and I can assure you that the men and women of the battalion are as proud and honoured to be serving on this deployment," Lt Col Kearns said.

"We are prepared, enthusiastic and excited to support our country when and how it needs us."

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