Air Force Communications controller, Corporal Greg Whiter, who is currently deployed to the Middle East, has one communication he wants to ensure gets through to his friends and family in Townsville.
“Thanks for the support, because it means a lot to us over here. Knowing we have your support makes it easier to be away from home,” Greg said.
The Royal Australian Air Force Communication and Information Systems Controller is on his second deployment to the Middle East, this time with the Force Communication Unit 9 (FCU-9) based at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
The unit is made up of a team of sailors, soldiers and airmen working to keep Australian forces connected with each other, their coalition partners and with their families at home.
There are around 2,400 ADF personnel deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation SLIPPER, and the ability to communicate an extraordinary quantity of information using a raft of radio frequencies, computer networks and other devices is critical to the success of their mission.
Greg has now been deployed for two months and working with new people in the tri-service unit was a great opportunity.
“For me, one of the highlights has been making new friends with people from all three services and some of the other nations,” Greg said.
The 36-year-old Airman, who joined the Australian Defence Force after finishing school, said his wife Derinda had been a major support since he got his deployment orders, allowing him to focus on the mission.
“Getting ready for this deployment involved a lot of preparation in various Australian locations, including four weeks of force preparation training in Darwin, maintaining my individual readiness, and doing all the necessary courses about the equipment used here in the Middle East, so overall it’s quite a long commitment,” he said.
Greg has four months left of his tour to the Middle East, before being reunited with his family.
“I’m looking forward to doing a lot of things when I get home: spending time with my wife and family and being able to eat anytime that I’m hungry without having to worry about set meal times in the mess,” Corporal Whiter said.
“And, I’ll be home in time for Christmas, so I’m really looking forward to having a big Christmas get together with everyone back home,” he said.
Operation SLIPPER is Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the MEAO and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
The current Force Communication Unit is the ninth to deploy to the MEAO in support of the operation.