Two soldiers who died in a truck rollover south of Townsville on Monday have been named by the Australian Defence Force.
Warrant Officer Second Class Ryan Leslie, and Craftsman Brendon Payne died after their vehicle rolled over on a public road near the Townsville Field Training Area.
Warrant Officer Leslie was 40 years old, had served for 22 years and two months, and was a member of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
He had been deployed to East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and had posted to the 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (2/14 LHR) at Enoggera Barracks in January 2021.
Warrant Officer Leslie was described as “one of the most loved members of the Army, a true leader and consummate professional who cared deeply for the soldiers both at 2/14 and at 7 Combat Service Support Battalion”.
Craftsman Brendon Payne joined the Army in March 2020, had served for 17 months. He was also a member of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
Craftsman Payne had posted to 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (2/14 LHR) at Enoggera Barracks in June 2021, on his first posting after training.
He was 29 years old and seen as “the strongest bloke we’ve ever worked with, a man who would never fault and never crack” by his unit.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Peter Dutton paid tribute to the two men’s service and acknowledged there would be grief for their families and defence personnel across the country.
Defence is working with Queensland Police to investigate the cause of the crash.