Life in the Army Reserve Geraldton builds on mateship

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Privates Brunno Santos and Luke Rebola work together to set up a rifle on a surveillance reconnaissance vehicle.
Camera IconPrivates Brunno Santos and Luke Rebola work together to set up a rifle on a surveillance reconnaissance vehicle. Credit: Adam Poulsen, The Geraldton Guardian

Firearms use, operating a surveillance reconnaissance vehicle and treating bullet wounds are just some of the knowledge Luke Rebola and Alvin Taylor have picked up in the Army Reserve.

Both are privates enlisted with the Pilbara Regiment’s F Troop, established in Geraldton earlier this year to replace the 16 Royal WA Regiment.

Pte Rebola enlisted in February last year to fulfil a childhood dream.

“As a kid, doing something like this always interested me — something exciting and different from the average job,” he said.

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“Plus you get to serve your country.”

Since finishing basic training, Pte Rebola has gone on to complete combat arms, zodiac and surveillance reconnaissance vehicle (or “G Wagon”) courses.

He enjoyed the experience so much he has applied to become a full-time infantryman in the Australian Army.

“Joining the reserves first, I got to see what the army is like before committing to a full year,” he said.

“Having done all these courses will help when they look at my application.”

The casual reline worker said the skills he had gained made him more disciplined in everyday life.

“The environment they put you in at basic training forces you to be a team player,” he said.

“You learn how to work efficiently as a team and how to be more efficient with daily activities — like shaving as quick as you can and keeping all your kit in order.

“It really helps with work too.

“It’s a lot easier to see ways of making work more effective, teamwork-wise.”

Pte Taylor, a police officer, originally enlisted in 2013 at Tom Price, before moving to Geraldton.

Since the F Troop was established, the senior constable has been actively parading again.

VideoArmy reservists are going jungle with their bosses to show them the ropes.

A fully qualified border protection patrolman, Pte Taylor is also a trained combat first aid medic.

He said his experiences had given him organisational and awareness skills that complemented his police work.

“The combat first aid course gives you a greater awareness because it’s a couple of steps above the regular first aid that we would do,” Pte Taylor said.

“You get specialist training which covers all the kind of injuries you may come across on patrol, from severe trauma, dehydration, heat stress, bullet wounds and snake bites.”

Pte Taylor recently spent 16 days in Karratha completing a G Wagon course — the vehicle of choice for the Pilbara Regiment.

“That entailed learning to safely drive the different variants of the vehicle, from the four-seater four-wheel-drive ‘Baby G’ up to the surveillance reconnaissance vehicle, which is the big six-wheel-drive,” he said.

Visit the Army Reserve Depot at 189 Lester Avenue or call 13 19 01.

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