Coffs Harbour plumber Craig Johnson has downed tools in his home-town to serve as an Army Reserve engineer in the Blue Mountains, as part of the Engineer Remediation Force during Operation NSW Bushfires Assist.
Craig is a sapper in the Coffs Harbour-based 21st Construction Regiment which has been helping the victims of the bushfire to get their homes in order and their lives back on track.
Craig, 40, has been busy driving tractors and bulldozers in the fire affected areas of the Blue Mountains, where more than 200 homes were destroyed by fire in October.
Craig moved to Coffs Harbour in 2008, where he is a contractor for Passmore Plumbing, but he had no hesitation in answering the call of duty to help the fire victims.
“I have been in the Army Reserve for 13-years and had no hesitation about volunteering to help people in need,” he said.
“We arrived on November 2 and are here until November 25.”
Craig lives in Eungai Creek, 80-km south of Coffs Harbour, but travels to town regularly to parade with the 21st Construction Regiment, because he loves the army lifestyle.
Craig is one of 80 Reservists involved in Operation NSW Bushfire Assist, which is helping the NSW Government recovery operations through the use of Army engineering and support capabilities to make the immediate bushfire area safe from structural and environmental hazards.
Engineer Remediation Force tasks have involved felling trees, clearing fallen debris and demolishing buildings identified as a safety risk.
The ERF comprises about 80 Army engineers and support staff equipped with dump trucks, bulldozers and front end loaders, chain saw teams, and other remediation capabilities.
The ERF is drawn primarily from the Army’s Holsworthy based 17 Construction Squadron, from the 6th Brigade. Army units from 5th Brigade and 17 Combat Service Support Brigade are also involved.