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‘Full-on’ efforts earn plaudits

Leading Aircraftwoman Hayley Edwards, Flying Officer Kim Davey, Squadron Leader Steve Cook and an unidentified paramedic assist a Bali blast victim transported to Melbourne last Wednesday for treatment. 			          Photo by SGT Troy Rogers
Above: Leading Aircraftwoman Hayley Edwards, Flying Officer Kim Davey, Squadron Leader Steve Cook and an unidentified paramedic assist a Bali blast victim transported to Melbourne last Wednesday for treatment. Photo by SGT Troy Rogers
86WG and 3CSH personnel return to RAAF Base Richmond from Bali-Darwin medivac shuttles last Wednesday.
86WG and 3CSH personnel return to RAAF Base Richmond from Bali-Darwin medivac shuttles last Wednesday.
Photo by LAC Col Dadd
PERSONNEL from No. 86 Wing RAAF Base Richmond operated “above and beyond” their normal peacetime commitments providing support to the recent tragedy in Bali.

Wing Commander Don Sutherland, Senior Operations Officer at No. 86 Wing, said a request for C130 support came early Sunday morning and all personnel worked “full on” for the next four days.

“Aircrew, maintenance and support personnel pulled together to ensure all C130s, including a New Zealand Air Force C130, involved were fully serviceable and appropriate resources were made available to ensure the success of the operation,” WGCDR Sutherland said.

No. 86 Wing Operations acted as the liaison between Air Command and the tasking of aircraft and aircrew to provide continuous 24-hour support during Operation Bali Assist.

The ability of No. 36 and No. 37 Squadron to deploy five aircraft, 12 crews, maintenance and operational support personnel at short notice was a credit to all those involved.

About 105 personnel deployed to Darwin in support of the humanitarian operation. This included six crews from 36SQN and 37SQN, 30 maintenance staff, Logisticians and Operations Officers.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved, in particular efforts made by the crews of 36SQN and 37SQN, the Aero- Medical Evacuation teams and Air Movements Staff who worked non-stop from early Sunday morning,” WGCDR Sutherland said. “All teams worked together with the single focus of providing the best support to the victims of this tragedy.”

Sixty-six seriously injured patients were transported from Bali to major medical facilities in Darwin. Thirty-eight were later flown to other Australian capital cities.

C130s also airlifted urgent medical supplies, Australian officials and family members to and from Bali.

Additionally, five refrigerated units weighing a total of 10.5 tonnes were in flown from Darwin to Bali on a C130J. They were used to store the bodies of victims killed in the terrorist attack.

Commander Air Lift Group Air Commodore Greg Evans described the tragedy as the worst the unit has had to respond to.

“This is a scale of mayhem we’ve never seen before and a tragedy distinguished by horrific injuries to so many young people,” AIRCDRE Evans said.

“The C130 crews, C130s and medical staff from No. 3 Combat Support Hospital at Richmond performed exceptionally well in difficult circumstances.

“Also, No. 86 Wing Operations staff deployed personnel to Darwin for extra support and worked non-stop for three days – a superhuman effort. I take my hat off to all those involved.”
  • By CPL Mark Eaton

 

 

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