BRINGING several hundred Australian Defence Force (ADF) members home in time for Christmas is a massive task, but it is all in a day’s work for Grafton’s Matthew Adams.
Sergeant Matthew ‘Patch’ Adams, 33, is a ‘mover’ in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Right now it’s his job to manage the travel movements of all the ADF members and cargo that was sent to the Philippines as part of the ADF’s response to the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Haiyan.
“A lot of families are relying on me and my team to get their loved ones home in time for the festive season,” he said.
More than 5,000 ADF personnel deployed to the Philippines in late November to assist with the disaster relief operation.
The ADF moved thousands of tonnes of aid by air and sea where it was needed most, evacuated displaced people, and helped repair schools that allowed around 15,500 children to resume their education.
Matthew said the ADF worked extremely hard to help the typhoon victims and he was now working equally as hard “to get everyone home by Christmas.”
“I have devised a plan to meet everyone’s expectations about being home for Christmas, so once that is achieved there’s a lot of job satisfaction for us,” he said.
“My job is mentally draining at times but very satisfying when we see families reunited their loved ones at times like the festive season.”
Matthew has been in the RAAF for 12 years and has thoroughly enjoyed service life.
He has come a long way in his life since he joined the RAAF because he wanted a job where he would travel the world and work with great people.
“My grandfather was also an influence on my joining the RAAF,” he said.
“He was in the RAAF in WWII, and involved in building radar stations off the coast of Queensland.”
Matthew is one of the many RAAF personnel who have played important roles in the ADF disaster relief task called Operations Philippines Assist.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power, said our people have contributed directly to assist the recovery of the cyclone victims and to get their lives back to normal.”
ADF personnel did the reputation of Australia proud by rebuilding schools and facilities, as well as clearing areas of debris.
Air Force aircraft and personnel will remain in the Philippines over the coming days as they complete tasks as part of the humanitarian assistance operation.
RAAF aircraft have transported more than 2250 tonnes of humanitarian and disaster relief cargo since the start of the operation, transported more than 5,880 people from Tacloban to Mactan and Guiuan Air Fields and moved more than 3,390 internally displaced people.