The Royal Australian Engineers are set for a rethink of the Army emergency responder, one of the corp's key front-line roles. Soon to be known as combat rescue operators (CROs), personnel drawn from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment and 6th Aviation Regiment will build on technical rescue skills in a variety of war fighting environments.
Combat rescue provides commanders with options to achieve a scalable survivability effect in a range of war fighting environments, including the air, armoured and protected platforms, and from inaccessible locations.
Beyond a simple name change, Employment Category Manager at the Combined Arms Training Centre (CATC) Warrant Officer Class 2 Eron Sage said the change was reflective of a broad-based review of the skill set.
“CATC recently sat the Employment Category Review and successfully proposed a role and name change,” said Warrant Officer Class 2 Sage.
“Because of combat rescue being a capability with small numbers, we’re responsible for employment category development to meet Army’s personnel rescue requirements.”
Sage added that rescue will now operate across the "full spectrum" of operations; covering all environments Army works in.
“In the context of accelerated warfare, Army needs to be ready to respond and operate across the full spectrum of operations, from high-intensity warfare, to humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and defence aid to civil communities,” said Warrant Officer Class 2 Sage.
The change to the employment category was embraced by CROs, including 6th Aviation Regiment’s Sapper Brendan Parkes.
“We’ve been able to draw on practices from other forces around the globe – it has been exciting learning new skills and developing the capability,” Sapper Parkes said.
“We’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the US Air Forces’ 320th Special Tactics Squadron, getting support from the aviation elements.
“This has allowed us to conduct isolated person, or downed aircrew retrieval, rope rescue and advanced winch training.”
Sapper Anthony Thompson, of Darwin’s 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, added that the change was a step in right direction for the trade.
“It’s important for everyone to understand how combat rescue can be used and where it needs to be to respond effectively,” Sapper Thompson said.
“Once the new training and equipment is fully integrated, we will be able to support aviation and the combat brigades in personnel rescue operations within Australia and overseas."