I grew up quite close with my brother, and we’d always be out bike riding, playing with spiders and lizards… you name it. We mucked around a lot. My brother joined first as a rifleman in the Army Reserve and I told him I wanted to join too. We were quite competitive siblings, so naturally I made it my mission. I actually wanted to join as a rifleman first, but funnily enough I became a Combat Medic, which paired well whilst studying my full-time Nursing degree.

Combat Medic Combat Medic

I now work as a Nurse in an Emergency Department and because of that, definitely wanted to pick a role in the Army Reserve that would compliment my non-military life. Being able to draw from my civilian knowledge and skills and apply them in the Army, in a different context, has been really great. And vice-versa – I have learnt invaluable things from the Army that I have been able to transfer to my civilian job. I guess it’s a win-win.

So basically, as a Combat Medic, if I was deployed in war I would be the first person to attend to someone injured on the battlefield that wasn’t able to treat themselves. I would try my best to treat their life-threatening injuries. For example, putting a tourniquet on their leg that has been shot and getting them out of the danger zone and back to safety where he/she can receive further treatment and management.

support communities in need support communities in need

I would describe my Reserve job as something different to your ordinary job. It comes with excitement and great opportunities. Every day looks a little different. One day you may be doing a live-fire exercise at Holsworthy. The next day you may be learning about sucking chest wounds from your fellow Army Reservist who is a Combat Paramedic. 

You might also be called on to support communities in need, like at the beginning of last year when I was deployed as part of the bushfire relief. I was grateful to contribute my time to assist those that had their property and land damaged. It was great to help in such a way that would relieve some of the emotional toll of their loss. I was also lucky enough to be able to help at the Soar and Roar, an event that gave Special Olympics Australia athletes and others with intellectual disabilities the chance to experience the thrill of driving in a luxury car. It was great seeing how happy they were. 

The thing about the Army Reserve is you can do a little or a lot, depending on your schedule. For me, it’s the work-life balance that I enjoy. When I’ve been working at the hospital in my civilian job and in need of a little break, I’m able to switch to Army Reserve for a change of pace and different lifestyle. That way I don’t get bored and my work morale stays high!

Narelle Narelle

I’m currently aspiring to commission as a Nursing Officer and hope to soon have the opportunity to deploy in Australia or overseas in peacekeeping or humanitarian aid related missions. I would love to have the privilege of representing Australia while providing effective service, letting me give back to my country.

The Army Reserve isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s worth giving it a shot as you will definitely learn a lot. You will gather great skills, such as discipline, and find it’s a great way to keep fit. These are opportunities you won’t find elsewhere!