Shire lad Aaron Brown, has swapped his surfboard for an armoured vehicle during a deployment to Afghanistan.
Instead of riding the breaks at Cronulla, Australian Army Trooper Aaron Brown is driving a Bushmaster – Protected Mobility Vehicle that transports and guards Aussie soldiers at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy outside Kabul.
"It's been an experience that's for sure."
"I came straight out of the School of Armour and posted to B Squadron in Townsville and was put on a MRE (mission rehearsal exercise) then came over here, it was nice and quick."
Aaron is part of Joint Task Force 633 which commands Australia’s military involvement in the Middle East.
He graduated from Heathcote High in 2008 and worked at a gym in Miranda before joining the Army five years later.
"I thought about joining the Army straight out of school but I wasn't quite ready so I put my aspirations on hold."
Driving a Bushmaster that’s designed to protect against small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Aaron feels quite safe behind the wheel.
"They're good fun to drive and comfortable as well."
"They are an excellent vehicle and keep our guys safe."
Aaron now lives in Townsville where his unit, 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment is based but spent almost 20 years living in the shire.
"When you're a kid growing up watching movies the Army seems pretty cool."
"There's not a lot of time at home between going out field or on deployments but that doesn’t bother me as much as I would have thought."
Aaron has spent about two months in Afghanistan and is due to home later this year.
He is one of about 420 Australian personnel who are based at Kabul and Kandahar, Afghanistan to support the ISAF train, advise and assist mission.