L-R: SGT Giles Blackman, MAJ Paul Cosgrove, Jason Trass, Mr John Web

Initiative in Ranges

4 July 13

The management of live firing field training areas is just one of the many specialist services provided by Serco Sodexo Defence Services on the Defence estate.

SSDS manages millions of hectares of military ranges in partnership with Defence and employs qualified managers, operators and clerks at to maintain and manage range bookings, safety coordination, pyrotechnics, small arms and artillery, air support and air space coordination.

At the Mount Stuart Training Area (MSTA) in Townsville, the Department of Defence sought SSDS’ assistance in re-opening two sneaker ranges that had been closed in 2012, to allow access to the range for non-Infantry units.  The main areas to be addressed were in relation to safety and the removal of potential hazards.  This required the removal of several large rocks, excessive vegetation and the re-marking of target markers to ensure they were safely inside the trace.

In a short time frame of just one week, SSDS Range Operator, Jason Trass and RCO SGT Giles Blackman, determined a course of action to ensure the works were completed on time and to required standards.

The team worked tirelessly over a six day period to complete the works, usually not carried out by MSTA Range staff, including slashing fire lanes to the targets, removing boulders and re-marking targets. The team, consisting of Morrie Dempster, Mathew Sheppard, Bryan Parnaby, Robert Krievans, Daniel Huggett, Ben Swancutt, David Hall, Michael Castilla, Brett Parker and Matthew Boland could be seen at the sneaker range at every opportunity to ensure the task was completed on time.

For their great display of teamwork and initiative, the team was nominated in the SSDS Star Performers reward and recognition program for the efforts in collaborating with the customer and ensuring a timely outcome.

The team received personal thanks from MAJ Paul Cosgrove (RTAM), Mr John Web (National Range Inspector) and SGT Giles Blackman (RCO MSTA) for their outstanding efforts.