Frucor Suntorian battles Australian bushfires

Frucor Suntorian ​Luke Pryor is currently deployed with The Australian Army to battle bushfires.

Every day our people are making a difference and helping communities, especially in times of need. Luke Pryor is an Army Reservist and we’re also proud to say our New South Wales Territory Manager!

Marihan Gozman, New South Wales Field Manager, recently interviewed Luke Pryor – check out their interview below:

The aftermath of the bushfires across Australia.

How long have you been in the army reserves?
I’ve been in the reserves for almost 5 years.

What was your driving motivation to join?
There were a few reasons. At the time I wanted to get into the I.T. field. I didn’t have any qualifications but the reserves would provide me with all the training I needed and pay me while I was learning. I had thought about going full time but I realised that it would mean I’d have to break up with my then girlfriend, who is now my wife! So joining the reserves was the logical choice.

What’s involved in being an army reservist?
I attend weekly sessions on a Tuesday night at my local army barracks where I participate in training and maintenance of the equipment we look after. Roughly one weekend a month we will go out and support bigger army exercises, my squadron’s role is to provide I.T. and radio support to the HQ. I am also required to keep a basic level of fitness and be clean shaven when I turn up each week – not that I can grow a beard anyway!

Prior to being deployed to the bushfires, what was your most memorable moment/task with the reserves?
Earlier in my career we were learning Infantry tactics and skills, I got to participate in a simulated battle where we used blank rounds and were fighting against another group of trainees.

How did you feel, when you first got the call to be deployed to assist with Australia’s devastating bush fires?
Disbelief and excitement, I was honestly surprised when I got the call as I had just assumed they wouldn’t need my squadron’s help. However, I had already been discussing with my wife that we wanted to do something to help with the bush fires. I’m very proud to be able to do my part and support the Rural Fire Service (RFS) with the massive task of fighting the fires.

Australian army personnel.

At the moment, where are you based, and what have you been doing?​
For my first week I was based out of the RFS HQ in Home Bush providing I.T. support and liaising with the Brigadier who is in charge of a joint task force assigned to helping the RFS with the bush fires. This week my whole squadron has been deployed to Bega (NSW) which is serving as a staging area where we will attach to infantry platoons and provide radio comms on the ground with the teams going out and starting to clean what the bush fires have destroyed.

Any advice or tips for anyone wanting to join the army reserves?
It took me almost 18 months of interviews and applications before getting in and being shipped off to basic training. My advice would be to make sure you’re patient and on top of any paperwork that’s required by you. Going for a run a couple of times a week would also help with the fitness test massively!​

Co-ordinating efforts across NSW to combat fires.