Nords Wharf local, Sally Carruthers, has come along way from working retail in Newcastle to helping coordinate Australian and coalition air power inside Afghanistan.
After graduating from St. Peters Catholic College, Sally gained a Diploma in Tourism Operations Management, but quickly decided a life in uniform as a Royal Australian Air Force Air Surveillance Operator was more to her taste.
Sally is attached to a small Air Force element in the Middle East, where her detachment provides important information and liaison with regional and coalition partners to enable Australian Defence Force air operations throughout the region.
“As an Air Surveillance Technician a big part of my job is to support the control team by building and maintaining the tactical picture,” she said.
“It’s a very intense but rewarding job.”
This is the 26 year-olds first operational deployment, so it’s easy to understand why thoughts of home are never far from her mind.
“One of my favourite memories of home is boot camp down at Caves Beach,” she said.
“There is something rewarding about watching the sunrise over the ocean after a good workout, then of course there’s the catch up session at the local coffee shop straight after.
“It’s that friendship and motivation which got me into the Australian Defence Force.”
While it’s obvious she misses those closest to her, Sally is also extremely positive and proud about being a part of Operation Slipper, Australia’s contribution to the global war on terror.
“For me, I’m sure one of the standout memories from the deployment will be knowing that what we did inside the Operations Room had a direct impact on the men and women in Afghanistan,” she said.
“By doing our job, we helped facilitate air power by getting it to where it was needed most.”
She still has a reasonable period of time left on her deployment,
But Sally already knows how she wants to spend her vacation at the end of her deployment.
“I’m really looking forward to giving a hug to those closest to me,” she said.
“I am also excited about seeing my god daughter; she’s grown so much since I’ve been away.
“A home cooked meal with my family and my mates wouldn’t go astray.”
The Australian Defence Force mission in Uruzgan has concluded and the majority of ADF members are on their way home.
Combined Team Uruzgan (CT-U), under the command of Colonel Wade Stothart, transferred the remaining infrastructure at Multi National Base Tarin Kot to the Afghan Government on December 11 with the remaining personnel departing the province on December 15.
Australia has maintained a permanent presence in Uruzgan province since 2005 and assumed leadership of CT-U from the United States in October 2012, allowing Australia to play a greater role in managing the transition to Afghan security control in Uruzgan.
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan, Australia will shift to a nationally-oriented mission to provide ongoing training and advisory support for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Around 400 Defence personnel will remain in Afghanistan to advise and train the Afghan National Security Forces as they develop their command and logistics capabilities.”
This contingent will include instructors, advisors, support staff and force protection elements assigned to the Afghan National Army (ANA) Office Academy and the Special Operations Advisory Group based in Kabul; ongoing advisory support to the ANA’s 205 Corps Headquarters in Kandahar; ongoing commitment of advisors to the Logistics Training Advisory Team in Kabul; and a continuation of embed staff within a range of roles in ISAF Headquarters.