The Australian Government has recently responded to a request from the Western Australian government for the provision of Defence support to bushfire fighting efforts in the South West of WA.
Soldiers from the Australian Army’s 13 Brigade were deployed to Manjimup to establish temporary accommodation for fire-fighters and possible evacuees from the surrounding area that were threatened by the fire danger.
Army Reservist Corporal Joel Corrie, from B Company 11/28 Royal Western Australian Regiment in Rockingham, was one of the soldiers deployed.
The 33 year old, who is a Police Officer in his civilian life, has been in the Army Reserve for the last two years, after being a full time soldier for nearly twelve years.
“The work we've done in support of the fire fighting effort has been great,” he said.
“The team pitched in and got the job done quickly and professionally.
“We have been able to do what we trained to do.
“Another thing I found rewarding with the work we did in erecting the ‘tent city’ is the amount of Reserve members that volunteered to assist with the activity, especially at such short notice.
“It was very pleasing to see the numbers that turned out to be involved.”
Born in Mildura in Victoria, Joel moved to Perth with his family when he was 15 and joined the Army when he was just 17.
He chose to remain in a military roll once he left the Regular Army in order to enjoy two ways of serving his community.
“Being in the Reserves allows me to wear two hats,” he said.
“I can be in a military role which I enjoy, and then I can put my police uniform on and enjoy another role in the community.
“I'm able to focus on whatever role and opportunity that's presented to me.”
Married with three children, Joel has twins that are three years old and there is normally a lot of debate between them when dad heads off to work.
“They ask me am I going to police work or Army work today, and if I'm not at home, they squabble over which uniform I'm going to be wearing when I get home,” he said
“They take a big interest in what I do.
“The longest I've been away since I've been in the Reserves has been just over a week, so they are yet to experience a long absence, but I'm sure they'll turn it into a 'dad adventure' when it happens.”
Approximately 40 Army soldiers from the Brigade’s Irwin Barracks at Karrakatta travelled in 10 trucks to transport and construct the tent accommodation in the township of Manjimup.
The soldiers erected 20 tents and camp stretchers and provided tables, chairs and lighting to support up to 200 temporary occupants.