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Shaun Toussaint - Melbourne

An Air Force reservist from the Melbourne suburb of Berwick is combining his civilian and military logistic skills while deployed on Operation Okra.

At one of the main coalition bases in the Middle East, about 25 Australians are working with the operational headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).

FLTLT Shaun Toussaint, of No. 21 Squadron, has been planning the coalition's logistics requirements for Iraq and Syria areas of operations since February this year.

As the National Supply Chain Loss Manager for ‎Coles Supermarkets when not in uniform, he is used to coordinating a logistics jigsaw puzzle.

FLTLT Shaun Toussaint said he ensured people and equipment went where they were needed on time.

"At Coles I work with our suppliers, distribution centres and stores to optimise the inventory flow and availability to our customers," he said.

"My role in the Middle East is similar because there are multiple stakeholders and tight time-frames, with the requirement to keep customers satisfied.

"For my civilian employment, a lot of the planning, coordination and stakeholder management is achieved before a task starts. This is a skill I use in the military as well, by building relationships and networks to help me do my role more effectively.

"In my military role there's a lot more deliberate planning with the ability to react instantly to a crisis, which in turn is a skill I take back to my role with Coles."

The CJTF-OIR mission reflects the commitment of the many nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group Daesh and the threat they pose in Iraq, Syria, the region and the global community.

It also symbolises the dedication of the coalition to work closely with partners in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary – diplomatic, informational, military and economic to degrade and ultimately destroy Daesh.

The 75-member coalition (71 nations and four organisations), formed in 2014, is the largest international coalition in history and the 30 military partners are continuously working to reduce the threat Daesh poses to international security.

FLTLT Toussaint said he was proud to be a part of the coalition in the fight against Daesh.

"The best part of my job is breaking down language barriers while working with different nations and cultures," he said.

"I served full-time for fifteen years before I became a reservist, and this is my third deployment since I joined Air Force in 2001, and my second to the Middle East region.

"The best part of my career has been the people I've met and the experiences I've had."

Australia's contribution to the CJTF-OIR on Operation Okra is about 600 personnel, the majority based in Iraq with Task Group Taji, a combined Australian-New Zealand unit training the Iraqi Security Forces.