From sea to land operations

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Craig Walton (author and photographer), PTE Dustin Anderson (photographer)

Location(s): Avalon, Vic

Topic(s): HMAS Cairns, Operation COVID-19 ASSIST

Royal Australian Navy personnel disembark a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster at Avalon airport during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST in Melbourne, Victoria. (photo: PTE Dustin Anderson)
Royal Australian Navy personnel disembark a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster at Avalon airport during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST in Melbourne, Victoria.

ADF personnel from across the country joined in the fight against COVID-19 when they boarded a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster and headed to Avalon Airport, south west of Melbourne in Victoria last week.

The Royal Australian Navy sent 70 sailors and officers from HMAS Cairns in northern Queensland to Melbourne to help with the ADF’s contributions in the whole-of-government response to COVID-19.

Commanding Officer HMAS Melville Commander Michael Kumpis said the members were going to be deployed to Victoria for eight weeks as a part of Defence’s COVID-19 task force.

“We have sent 70 Navy personnel from Cairns-based units, HMA Ships Melville, Shepparton and Benalla which include patrol boat personnel, Maritime Geospatial Warfare personnel and Fleet Logistic Support Elements,” Commander Kumpis said.

“The sailors will support the Department of Health and Human Services with its close contact tracing and door-knocking to detect positive infections and provide close contact notification to community members who are uncontactable via telephone.”

The Navy members will join the more than 3500 Defence personnel already deployed nationally across Australia in fighting the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s a large contingency deploying from Cairns - we are in a strong situation to support the effort in Victoria while still maintaining operations in Cairns,” Commander Kumpis said.

“Defence is contributing to the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a range of personnel and logistics support.

“They have prepared responses to a variety of contingencies through the emergency management Australian led response,” he said.

Commander Kumpis grew up in Werribee, west of Melbourne, and said that he was incredibly proud of the Navy personnel and the role they’ll be playing in supporting the communities of Victoria.

“I wish them well and to stay safe, and I look forward to seeing them when they return in eight weeks,” Commander Kumpis said.

Royal Australian Navy personnel disembark a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster after touching down at Avalon Airport to begin further support to the Victorian Government during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.

Royal Australian Navy personnel disembark a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster after touching down at Avalon Airport to begin further support to the Victorian Government during Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.