Embarked medical team inspired by personal links to bushfire-affected communities

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), ABIS Thomas Sawtell (photographer)

Location(s): Eden, NSW

Topic(s): Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST, HMAS Adelaide (L01)

HMAS Adelaide's embarked nursing officers, Lieutenant Commander Thomas Miller, front, and Lieutenant Travis Robinson in the treatment room during Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19-20. (photo: ABIS Thomas Sawtell)
HMAS Adelaide's embarked nursing officers, Lieutenant Commander Thomas Miller, front, and Lieutenant Travis Robinson in the treatment room during Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19-20.

A key component of the Australian Defence Force response to Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19-20 is the medical and first aid services being provided by the Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics and support staff of the Royal Australian Navy.

The medical teams on board HMAS Adelaide are a professional combined unit made up of personnel from the ship’s complement, the Royal Australian Navy Hospital at HMAS Penguin and various Defence units across the nation.

Two good friends who are part of the team that responded with less than 24 hours’ notice are Lieutenant Commander Thomas Miller and Lieutenant Travis Robinson.

Both are based at HMAS Penguin in Balmoral, Sydney.

“This is what we train for and we are ready to support the community ashore during this emergency,” Lieutenant Commander Miller said.

Rapidly responding to the requirement to join HMAS Adelaide from his normal role as Nurse Educator at The Directorate of Navy Health, Lieutenant Commander Miller was quick to ensure the team was prepared to provide medical support ashore to cover any contingency.

“My mum is a Nurse in Bega Hospital and has been providing valuable medical and first aid care to the people of Bega.

“I’m very happy that I can contribute in some way to that level of support and proud to be part of the Navy response,” he said.

For Lieutenant Robinson, the connection to the local community is an important motivator for his contribution to the task.

“My family were in Batemans Bay and had to be evacuated to the beach,” he said.

As the Aeromedical Evacuation Team Leader in Adelaide, Lieutenant Robinson is one of the first in the medical teams to be sent into the community during an emergency.

“Everyone in the team is ready to provide support and we are totally committed to the task,” Lieutenant Robinson said.

HMAS Adelaide, in conjunction with HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore, are working off the Australian southeast coast, providing valuable aid to the communities impacted by the bushfires.

Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 19-20 imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery:
https://images.defence.gov.au/S20192970.