Reservists proud to march on Anzac

Gareth ThomasAlbany Advertiser

The Army Reserves form an integral part of the Australian Defence Force and the growing Albany platoon will be lining up to take part in this year’s Anzac Day commemorations.

Sergeant Chris Barry is a full-time training sergeant for the 20 army reservists who parade regularly at the Albany barracks.

At today’s dawn service, four young Albany reservists will be providing a vigil at the Mounted Desert Corp Memorial at Mt Clarence.

“We’re very proud that we will be providing the camouflage party at the dawn service,” Sgt Barry said.

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“As well as that, we will be formed up and marching in the main parade down York Street.”

The Albany reservists meet on Tuesday nights and one weekend a month to undertake training in preparation for any potential call-up to conflicts across the world.

Sgt Barry said the role of reservists was to augment the full-time army.

“At the moment we have what is called combat team Charlie, which is a mixture of army reservists that have volunteered to be part of the team who actually form part of the Australian Army short-notice readiness unit,” he said.

“So if we have a short-notice task come up anywhere around the world, these guys could potentially be called in to augment, meaning to put Australian soldiers in any type of role around the world.”

Army reservists have played a role in many of the country’s modern military operations including the 1999 peacekeeping mission in East Timor, which Sgt Barry said was a prime example of a short-notice task where about 5000 troops were on the ground in a short amount of time. More recently, army reservists have played roles in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Solomon Islands.

“I really encourage anyone that is looking for a bit of excitement in their life to get involved,” he said.

“I understand the demographics of Albany means there tends to be a bit of an older population, so those who are in their 30s and up to mid-40s are welcome to come down.”

Sgt Barry said he wanted to increase the Albany platoon to the full platoon-sized element of 33 people.

“Due to closing the gender gap we have opened all combat roles, including infantry roles, to females as we currently have two young ladies here in Albany going through the recruitment process for infantry roles,” he said.

Anyone interested in enlisting with the Albany reserves can find more information at the ADF’s recruitment website.

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