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Malcolm Mercieca - Broken Hill

Broken Hill has a very proud military history, with many of its first residents being former British soldiers.

Today the lure of the uniform is still strong, with former as Broken Hill High School graduate Malcolm Mercieca having recently retuned from an operational deployment to the Middle East.

Now a Sergeant in the Australian Army, Malcolm said he enlisted straight from Broken Hill.

"Growing up in such a tight-knit community where everyone knows each other and is supportive was such a great experience," Sergeant Mercieca said.

"I wanted to find an organisation that had a similar community spirit and that's one of the reasons why I joined the Army."

Sergeant Merceica has recently returned home from a six month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation OKRA, Australia's contribution to the international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East

He worked as a Ground Liaison Officer for the Royal Australian Air Force's Air Task Group, which operates F/A-18 fighter/attack aircraft, a KC-30A air-to-air refuelling aircraft and an E-7A command and control aircraft.

In this role he provided advice to pilots regarding the offensive support of artillery and infantry forces on the ground in Iraq.

"My job involved briefing aircrew on a daily basis about what was happening with the ground forces in Iraq," he said.

"It's important for the aircrew conducting the bombing missions over Mosul to have an understanding of the offensive actions of the Iraqi Security Forces operating on the ground.

"Being able to provide them with an extensive background understanding of ground forces manoeuvre provides them with valuable intelligence regarding the ground situation before the pilots conduct their missions.

"It's very satisfying when they come back from their missions and tell me that what I briefed was exactly what they saw on the ground."

Now that he is home Malcolm has had a chance to unwind over Anzac Day, which is an important day for the Merceica family.

"Anzac Day is a really important day for me" he said.

"My father was in the Army.

"He was posted to the 27th Battalion as an infantryman and stationed in Darwin.

"He was present during the 1942 bombings of Darwin and assisted the Anti-Aircraft batteries repel the initial attacks.

"I joined the Army in 2001 on 24th April, so my first full day as a soldier was Anzac Day.

"So there is a lot of significance to this day for me."

Malcolm is married to a serving member, his wife Karlee is a Personnel Capability Specialist in the Air Force and is posted to Darwin.

They plan to start a family now that he has returned home from deployment.

"Re-uniting with my wife and getting back to some normality after six months in the Middle East is what I'm most looking forward to" he said.

"We are hoping to start a family now that I am home."