My husband is also in the RAAF as a Squadron Leader. I actually joined the Army Reserve when I was working on the Ghan and Indian Pacific trains as well as for a community pharmacy. For me, joining the Reserve was about the challenge, mateship and doing something different. It was actually becoming a medic in the Army that confirmed for me that I wanted to be a nurse. Being a nurse and an Army Reserve Combat Medic Attendant compliment each other incredibly well.
I work with a medical team to support both military and civilian operations and work in conjunction with other services and government efforts. My role sees me keep people healthy, prevent them from getting ill or injured and be there when it happens. This could be on weekend exercises, a rifle range or supporting an exercise. I don’t always know the people I’m working with, but in the Army it really doesn’t matter. Everyone has a role, a face and a story.
One moment that sticks out more than others is when we were deployed to help with the bushfires. I was walking down the street getting some supplies from a local store when I had a local approach me asking how we were doing. Turns out he was a veteran. He shared stories of his service with me, and talked about men who’d toured for years overseas, only to find that Cyclone Tracy was what almost broke them. It’s one thing seeing a devastated township. It’s another when that city is your own. His compassion and empathy for us as Reservists was something I’ll never forget.
I love the many different skill sets this role gives me and the variety of people that come together. I love meeting people who are interested in being involved in something bigger than themselves and wanting to contribute. I love that I learn skills that my normal job and life wouldn’t offer. I’m able to shoot weapons, run a training course or work alongside extremely intelligent people who are doing some amazing stuff, both in and outside of the force. My training and work with the Army has also transferred into my civilian life, opening opportunities for new networks.
If you’re thinking of joining the Reserve here’s a piece of advice: You’re stronger than you think and you’ve got nothing to lose by applying. In the Reserve I have met mums, dads, short and tall people, leaders and followers. It takes many people to create a community and that is what you will find in the Army Reserve.