Don Spinks - Force Headquarters
Force headquarters was the conduit from out of country back to the headquarters back here to Australia, and it was really just an assisting role because the elements downrange had all the treatment, casualty, et cetera, responsibility and reporting of incidents, and comms were very good. So you got very quick notification of an incident or a death or an injury, and then there'd be a comms blackout, but then people would go forward very quickly to help and assist with any recovery, either of remains or casualties.
Myself and the commander flew into Landstuhl in Germany twice to visit troops had been quite severely injured in combat operations, and the first time was with the helicopter crash with the 2nd Commando Regiment guys, and then another time for a young fella who was quite badly bashed up by an improvised explosive device.
But really, there's a set procedures and protocols for allowing those downrange to deal with and treat the incident and make sure that's stabilized, and then the headquarters’ main position was offering support and to communicate back to Australia updates and sit reps. The other role that we had was just making sure that any of those killed, their remains were respectfully handled and then returned to Australia at an appropriate time.