For Australian soldier, Aidan Cronin, the operation that occurs every day at his home in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill is almost as enormous as the one he is currently supporting in Afghanistan.
The 26 year old Corporal is currently deployed to Uruzgan province, where he runs a small trades team building and maintaining the plumbing within the enormous Multi-National Base in Tarin Kot.
Across the globe in Australia, his wife Samantha dedicates an enormous amount of her time supporting Defence Community Organisation activities like Op Love and Aussie Hero Quilts for the troops, sending quilts and care packages to the soldiers weekly.
Aidan says both he and Samantha see the importance of the Australian mission advising the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade, 205 Hero Corps as they plan and conduct independent operations across Uruzgan and the process of transition in Afghanistan providing a stable future for the people in the province.
“Australia’s work in Uruzgan has been pretty amazing and I’m quite lucky to be part of the final rotation of personnel that will complete our mission,” Aidan said.
“Samantha has been fantastic in her support for the mission. Her efforts and those of the other partners that support activities for the troops really mean a lot to my diggers and others over here.”
Aidan often thinks of the wives and partners that support the soldiers and Australia’s mission through their efforts at home.
“Its not easy by any stretch, but their understanding and support makes them part of the team and part of the success that we have had here during the last 12 years,” Aidan said.
“It’s amazing to think that Samantha and the other wives and partners are carrying on a tradition of support that has covered every conflict the Australian military has been involved with, even before Federation.”
Aidan has seen operational service previously deploying to Afghanistan in 2007 and to East Timor in 2009.
The East Timor deployment offered a very different but equally valuable experience for the Darwin based soldier.
“Looking at East Timor it is a completely opposite mission, environment and culture to Afghanistan,” Aidan said.
“In Timor we were assisting the East Timorese Government and the United Nations to bring stability and security to the Timorese people.
“In Afghanistan we have been part of a huge Multi-National effort to rebuild a nation devastated by over thirty years of war.”
Aidan said both deployments have equally provided him with valuable experience working in tough environments, problem solving under pressure, the value of understanding the people you are helping and the value of your mates.
In fact, camaraderie of the soldiers is one thing Aidan says that never changes on any of his deployments.
“Working in an environment like Afghanistan, you get confronted with some pretty unique challenges like the ever changing layout of the base as we prepare to redeploy to Australia,” Aidan said.
“I work with a tight team of tradesmen and we deal with issues daily that would drive most Plumbers crazy at home.
“We support each other and bond closely because of this; mateship is one of the great things about Army and it’s still the bedrock of our service one hundred years later.”
Aidan is looking forward to seeing Samantha and his children Baillie and Johnathan in their hometown of Brisbane at the end of his deployment, and taking some quiet time before heading pack to his posted location of Darwin.
“Living and breathing the deployment everyday from both ends; I think we will deserve a break,” Aidan said.