Navy medicos standing tall on deployment

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Max Bree (author and photographer)

Location(s): Brisbane, Queensland

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU

Royal Australian Navy medical officers who deployed to the Middle East with 7th Brigade after the welcome home parade in Brisbane on 17 September 2016.

Left to right: Lieutenant Commander Anthony Dilley, Commander Janine Gregson, Commander Anthony Holley and Commander Ian Young.
 (photo: Corporal Max Bree)
Royal Australian Navy medical officers who deployed to the Middle East with 7th Brigade after the welcome home parade in Brisbane on 17 September 2016. Left to right: Lieutenant Commander Anthony Dilley, Commander Janine Gregson, Commander Anthony Holley and Commander Ian Young.

Standing out in the sea of khaki as part of the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade welcome home parade in Brisbane recently was Commander Janine Gregson and three other Navy medical officers.
 
“It’s kind of handy that we stick out because I can find the rest of them, but it’s also good to show our tri-service approach here,” she said.
 
A pair of Bushmaster vehicles led the way through the city ahead of about 1,000 Australian Defence Force members as part of the parade on 17 September, honouring those recently returned from the Middle East.
 
Brisbane locals, along with family and friends, lined the city streets for the official welcome home by Defence Minister Marise Payne and Governor of Queensland, Paul de Jersey.
 
Commander Gregson deployed as an anaesthetist with the Brigade as part of the medical element for Task Group Taji 2, in Afghanistan. 
 
“It was very quiet for us, and for a surgical team that’s a good thing,” she said. 
 
“But we did a lot of training and got to know the whole team there,” Commander Gregson said.
 
Colonel Matt Galton, former commander of Task Group Taji 1, led one of the contingents through Brisbane.
 
“I think we’ve learned the hard way over a number of decades about recognising servicemen and women well when they come home,” he said.
 
“The Australian Defence Force has done a lot of work on that, but Australian society also looks after us well and we appreciate that a lot.”
 
The 7th Brigade recently stood down as Army’s ready brigade, but not before a large number of its soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
But this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of families, according to Colonel Galton.
 
“We join up, we’re trained for what we do, and trained to go and deploy,” he said. 
 
“Families don’t sign up to the military – they inherit it – and the support we get from families is what keeps us going overseas.”
 
Commander Gregson is no stranger to working with Army, having also deployed to East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. 
 
“I actually enjoy deploying with the Army units,” she said. 
“I’ve probably done more Army deployments than Navy ones.
 
“They also have a can-do attitude that I really like, and it’s great being part of the military culture.”