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19 November 2008
Operation Storm Assist

More than 600 soldiers and around 150 airmen and women answered Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) call for help after a severe storm cut a swathe of devastation through Brisbane’s northern suburbs on Sunday.

The soldiers, mostly from Brisbane’s 7th Brigade, including its Emergency Support Force, launched into action around midday Monday. They cleared fallen trees to restore emergency services and vehicle and pedestrian access to homes in Upper Kedron, located some 10 kilometres from Brisbane City.

Overnight, two sections from 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) remained in the field, assisting the BCC with water distribution at The Gap Primary School. The soldiers were back in action by 5am on Tuesday, reaching the full complement of around 600 by midday. Later in the day, around 150 Royal Australian Air Force airmen and women from Amberley-based 382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (382 ECSS) were on the ground, helping with Defence’s contribution to the clean-up operation.

The 2 CER Headquarters is commanding the Defence operations that are being coordinated out of an Upper Kedron park in the heart of the devastation. Commanding Officer 2 CER, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Dooley praised the soldiers’ and airmen and women’s efforts, highlighting their eagerness to help the local community.

“I’m very proud of the work our personnel are performing. Their willingness and commitment to the people of Brisbane in their time of need has been superb. We are coordinating with BCC and Emergency Management Australia to maximise our current efforts in The Gap and Keperra, which suffered the brunt of Sunday’s storm.”

The deployed soldiers are from Brisbane’s 2CER; 6RAR, 8/9RAR, 2/14 LHR (QMI); 1 Fd Regt; 7CSSB; 1 Sig Regt; 21 Const Sqn; 20 STA; 6 ESR; and RAAF Amberley-based 9FSB and 382 ECSS.