Army boss’ COVID-19 warning: ‘We can’t let our guards down’
Townsville's top defence force officer has labelled the coronavirus the most "prevalent threat" facing the community, while also revealing troops had been deployed.
3rd Brigade Commander Brigadier Kahlil Fegan said delaying Exercise Hamel which was planned for August and certified the brigade for overseas deployments, hadn't happened before.
"We've had to rethink how we certify our soldiers for the most prevalent threat, and at the moment the most prevalent threat is the coronavirus," he said.
"So Hamel and that high-end collective war-fighting environment and training outcomes is just not the priority for us at the moment.
"One of the key lessons I've learnt after many years in the military … is that one the greatest risks soldiers face is complacency, when we let our guards down.
"As soon as we do that much like a cancer, it can creep into our lives and potentially kill us … now's not the time for either ourselves, or our families of members of the community to become complacent."
Brig Fegan said he couldn't confirm the brigade would be certified ready by the end of the year.
"I'm not sure to be honest, that's still a matter being considered by defence and army the environment is changing rapidly for us," he said.
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment has deployed between 60 to 100 soldiers to Far North Queensland to assist the Queensland Police Service.
"They're in the process of working with the police to understand exactly how they can best support the police and their efforts in that part of Queensland," Brig Fegan said.
He said thousands of personnel were pulled from the Townsville Field Training Area over days, to prepare and start learning about COVID-19 and how to protect themselves from it through virtual training online.
Originally published as Army boss' COVID-19 warning: 'We can't let our guards down'