Army ReserveThroughout Australia’s military history, over 1.25 million people have served in the ADF Reserves (Army, Navy, Air Force). This collective name includes all of the ADF’s reserve units and refers to those who serve proudly alongside full-time defence force personnel when additional man (and woman) power is needed.

The remarkable work of the ADF Reserves is recognised each year on Reserve Forces Day. Events are held across the country in the first week of July to acknowledge the Defence Force Reserves’ role in keeping Australia safe. Their commitment to operations that support peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts and disaster relief is particularly admirable, especially when considering the impact on their personal lives, families, and careers.

For the most part, army reservists are people who want to contribute but need or want to have the flexibility that reserve service offers. Many have pre-existing full-time jobs and work just a minimum of 20 days per year as required, while others commit more time based on their circumstances. It’s this flexibility that attracts many veterans to the reserves as a way of keeping themselves connected to the ADF community once they return to civilian life.

Carry On’s Veteran Support Manager Declan is a great example of someone taking advantage of that flexibility and opportunity, joining the Army Reserves about 6 years ago and becoming an Infantry Soldier. “I had always loved the outdoors and at times was very into my fitness”, says Declan. “The Army seemed like a natural culmination of all my interests that also allowed me to contribute to something greater than myself”. Declan enjoyed being made a part of a strong community of like-minded people. “I think as someone joining straight out of school, I got to experience a whole new world of interesting training and people, which shaped and developed my character. I’m most grateful for the friends I made, as they’ve been the most steadfast, reliable friends I’ve had throughout my life so far”.

Reserves are commonly deployed on domestic operations such as natural disaster assistance, or unique events like Operation COVID-19 Assist (supporting quarantine and vaccination logistics). However, there may be up to 20 operations each year both local and international that they could be called to serve in. ADF Reserves offers a diverse range of training options to suit the varied interests and skills of its applicants. Declan was able to develop a whole new skill set that has been invaluable both in the ADF Reserves and outside it.

To commemorate Reserve Forces Day 2024, a wreath-laying service will be held on Sunday 7th July at 11 am at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance honouring the dedication, service, and sacrifice of currently serving and former ADF Reserves.


CTAFind more information about the Defence Force Reserves on the DFA website