GALLERY: Country town offers ideal army training ground
IN A first for the Australian Army, Captain Chris Grimes has led a three-week intensive training program for more than 80 servicemen and women in Gayndah.
Captain Chris Grimes of the Second Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) said their time had been spread between army training and community involvement.
"From a military perspective we have been conducting three essential tasks while here,” Cptn Grimes said.
"One is medium girder bridging down on one of the local private lands here owned by Greg Zales.
"That's building bridges to cross gaps whether they are wet or dry so we can all get over to the other side.
"It can take a team of 24 three or so hours to build and take down the bridge.
"The bridges we've been building across the gully on his property can hold up to 70 tonnes, so the training is essential.”
The servicemen and women in Gayndah were broken up into three groups of about 24 upon arrival, and have spent one week working on each segment.
"The second component is the improved ribbo bridge,” Cptn Grimes said.
"We've been using the boat ramp and rafting up the Burnett River, and doing some launch and recovery operations there.
"We then load the rafts up with army vehicles and push them down the river.”
The third segment is remediation and community work.
"This involves fixing up and working on the memorial park for Sapper Jacob Moerland,” Cptn Grimes said.
"We're fixing up and creating concrete paths there as well as knocking out one of the foot bridges, which we are also hoping to replace once the council provides the resources to.
"Jacob is our link to Gayndah.”
Sapper Jacob Moerland was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010 after an improvised explosive device detonated.
"We all know him as Snowy, it was a bit of an affectionate nickname,” Cptn Grimes said.
"Since his death we've just really put in the effort to maintain that relationship with his mother Sandy and the rest of the Gayndah community.
"We have been sending up military personnel to have a presence on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day specifically.”
However, this is the first time so many servicemen and women have been sent away for such an extensive training program.
"We've all been having a fantastic time being able to come and train here,” Cptn Grimes said.
"We just feel so welcomed by the community and the land owners, especially those who have been kind enough to let us train on their property.
"There's just something about training out west here that you don't get in the city. It's much more realistic and possibly even better preparation.”
Cptn Grimes said hoped to return to Gayndah in January 2020, and would continue his connection with the town.