Julie Dawson is along way teaching preschoolers in Gympie. She is now a Private in the Australian Army and currently serving in the Middle East.
Private Julie Dawson is deployed with Force Support Unit 8 (FSU-8) based at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. She is responsible for issuing body armour to Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen assigned to Operation SLIPPER.
“A big part of my job is teaching Defence personnel how to assemble, wear and maintain their body armour so that they can do it for themselves when they are out in the field. It’s essential that these things are done correctly, because this equipment is designed to save their lives.” Julie said.
The passionate Queenslander followed her son Ryan into the Army, and hasn’t looked back. This is her second deployment to the Middle East.
“I came over in 2011 as part of a remediation team, and I feel grateful to be doing such important work. I was last here in September of that year, which has a very different climate. The heat is much more intense this time round,” PTE Dawson said.
Back home, Julie owns a property in Gympie, where she keeps cattle and horses.
“The hardest part of this deployment is being away from home. I feel a very strong connection to Gympie. I grew up there, and my sisters still live there. My property was passed down to me from my parents,” she said.
The camp-drafting enthusiast will spend the next eight months in the Middle EastEAO, and is due to return home to her beloved Gympie early next year.
“Being away for Christmas will be tough. But, like all Australian service people on operations, we’ll find our own special way to celebrate. You make a lot of friends when you are deployed with great people like this,” she said.
A Queenslander through and through, Julie will join other Defence personnel at Al Minhad to watch the next State of Origin, and has a message for the Maroons.
“Come on guys, the series is yours for the taking,” Julie said. “Go the Maroons!”
Operation SLIPPER is Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.