Local reservist has been capturing images of bushfire operation

Navy Reservist Petty Officer Rick Prideaux

Navy Reservist Petty Officer Rick Prideaux

FOR 44-year-old Navy Reservist Petty Officer Rick Prideaux, having a supportive civilian employer is the key to striking a balance between his 'day job' and his Australian Defence Force commitments.

Petty Officer Prideaux, from Sale, has been in the Navy Reserves for five years, and is employed as an imagery specialist with Number 30 Squadron.

He is currently serving within Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20, working from RAAF Base, East Sale.

"My role on this operation is to capture images that directly relate to activities here at RAAF Base, East Sale," Petty Officer Prideaux said.

"I am looking at the contribution that units from East Sale are making to the broader operation.

"I was recalled on New Year's Day, and was initially working in the base Command Post - so I saw a lot of the action, especially when the late night evacuees arrived here on base."

When not in military uniform, Petty Officer Prideaux is a flight line coordinator for aviation industry services provider Hawker Pacific, supporting the B300 King Air aircraft utilised by 32 Squadron.

"The Air Force programs the sorties of the King Airs, and in my civilian role with Hawker Pacific I allocate the aircraft that best suits that mission profile, while ensuring the aircraft are serviceable and maintenance compliant," Petty Officer Prideaux said.

"I am also responsible for organising all the maintenance that falls outside the 'routine and detailed' servicing that occurs every 200hrs, and managing the people on the flight line.

"Hawker Pacific is very supportive of me taking leave to undertake my Reserve duties.

"In return I give them the occasional nice photo of a King Air.

"At the end of the day it's about being flexible - there's a bit of give and take."

Deputy head of Defence's Reserve and Youth Division, Brigadier Nicole Longley, said Defence appreciated and thanked all employers for their support of ADF Reservists, and stressed the important service they provided to the nation.

"Reservists are highly motivated people who take on training and service with enthusiasm and commitment," Brig Longley said.

"They offer a range of skills that can be transferred directly to your organisation including leadership, teamwork and problem solving."

For more information about how to join the Australian Defence Force, visit www.defencejobs.gov.au.