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Peter Knezevic - Tenambit

Tenambit resident Peter Knezevic, an Avionics Technician deployed on Operation OKRA, was not anticipating his childhood years of playing in floodwaters would be re-lived in the deserts of the Middle East.

Sergeant (SGT) Knezevic grew up in Tully in far North Queensland, which has often been described as 'the wettest place in Australia'.

Tully even proudly displays a massive gumboot in the town centre, however the Middle East can sometimes give Australia a run for its money.

"About two months into our deployment we experienced some pretty intense weather and we woke up to flooding around the camp," he said.

"It was pretty surreal - I was not expecting to have to deal with flooding when I deployed to the desert!"

Sergeant Knezevic is deployed to the Air Task Group as part of Operation OKRA as a Maintenance Manager.

He is responsible for a team of Avionics Technicians whose role involves directing and supervising all avionics related tasks for the F/A-18A Hornet aircraft and conducting maintenance for more intensive or complicated issues.

He is also responsible for flight line operations.

"Flight line operations involve ensuring all flight servicings are conducted in preparation for the next missions and making sure that all the aircraft hold the correct weapon configurations for that mission," he said.

"Basically, this job is all about making sure that each aircraft is 100 per-cent mission ready before the pilot goes flying."

Operation OKRA is Sgt Knezevic first operational deployment and it has been a memorable experience so far.

"Getting to see the many different types of assets being deployed as part of this operation is incredible," he said.

"Working with a bunch of people who are true professionals and who are committed to each and every day here is inspiring.

"Being part of a team and seeing the aircraft return from each mission safely is a very rewarding experience.

"Seeing first hand the contribution my team and I are making to support the Iraqi Security Forces retake their country from terrorism is incredibly satisfying".

With Anzac Day Day approaching, Sgt Knezevic is looking forward to commemorating his first Anzac Day in a deployed environment.

"Marching in Sydney is always a stand out moment but I think that being on operations in the Middle East during Anzac Day is going to be memorable too," he said.

"My grandfather served as a signalman in the Army during World War II, mostly in Papua New Guinea," he said.

"Having family history in the military makes ANZAC Day even more important to me."

The Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA, is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East Region.

The ATG comprises seven RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refuelling aircraft.

Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the US Tactical Command and Control Unit.