Reservist recruit rise a salute to departing officer’s efforts

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph

The soldier in charge of Port Hedland’s Army Reserve Depot is set to farewell the town after almost three years of service during which recruits increased by 25 per cent.

Pilbara Regiment Officer Commanding 1 Squadron Major Guy Warnock moved to Port Hedland in 2017 with a commitment to enlist more local army reservists and increase community engagement.

“We were always competing with other community groups, jobs and Netflix to get recruits, so it is vital that we get the message out to the community about what we do and the positive aspects of serving the nation,” he said.

“Over the last three years, we’ve had a steady increase in our recruitment and, more importantly, our retention, so we’re having soldiers serving for longer and gaining valuable experience and skills as a result.”

Major Warnock said when he took command of 1 Squadron, there were about 40 soldiers in three troop locations — a troop being another name for a platoon of about 30 soldiers.

“We went from three troops to four after an internal restructure, and with the addition of that troop, we went to 60, but since then, we’ve also increased overall by 25 per cent,” he said.

Major Warnock said the Pilbara Regiment provided soldiers for border protection operations under Operation Resolute, the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to the whole-of-government approach to border protection.

During his tenure, there have been upgrades to accommodation facilities in Port Hedland, Newman, and Tom Price for soldiers travelling from remote areas, including indigenous communities, to be able to come to bases and conduct training over several days.

Major Warnock said an Army-wide roll-out of new equipment had seen the Pilbara Regiment receive new uniforms and specialist surveillance equipment.

“We have been a priority to receive the new army rifle, the EF 88, and the continued roll-out of our Mercedes G-wagon vehicle fleet, as well as specialist small boats coming in,” he said. Major Warnock said he hoped to see soldiers continue to serve and for employers to encourage their staff to join the Reserves and consider some of the incentives on offer to help employers do so.

“We have a lot of room to expand, but what we need is soldiers to continue to serve and gain experience so that they can be promoted to more specialist roles,” he said.

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