In a 24-hour period, both No. 36 Squadron Air Crew and No. 23 Squadron Air Movements personnel delivered on the call for groceries urgently needed in Townsville.
Due to extreme weather conditions and unprecedented rainfall in early February, it was difficult for the road and rail movement of essential supplies and fresh food into North Queensland.
Squadron Leader Ben Barber, Air Movements Flight Commander, said a 40-strong team of movements, supply and loadmaster personnel came together on 5 February at RAAF Base Amberley.
They worked to unload and pack 72 tonnes of stores trucked onto base by Woolworths and Coles.
“The first aircraft was loaded with 90,000 pounds of supplies and the second had 53,000 pounds,” Squadron Leader Barber said.
“This included fresh fruit and vegetables as well as essentials like bottled water.”
Flight Lieutenant Tim Smith was captain of the second C-17A Globemaster carrying the stores, and said three aircraft each carried seven pallets to Townsville.
“Helping the community in emergency situations like is a rewarding experience for the crew and not a task we take lightly,” Flight Lieutenant Smith said.
Echoing this, Commanding Officer of 36SQN Wing Commander Steve Ferguson said the squadron is committed to being the asset of choice for ADF responses to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
“We have a unique capability to respond very quickly and on a large scale to disaster relief efforts both at home in Australia and in our region. 36SQN takes pride in being among the first responders” said Wing Commander Ferguson.
“I also commend those in Townsville who were on the ground assisting, and continue to despite their own homes being affected by floodwaters.”
Over 2,800 Australian Defence Force personnel from Air Force and Army were actively engaged in supporting the disaster response.