Australian Army Captain Kristen Lineham-Blair will have to settle for a Facetime date with her children this Mothers Day because she will be at work – in Afghanistan.
The Boonah resident, and mother to four children, is deployed as a member of the Australian Headquarters staff in Kabul for Operation SLIPPER.
She said a key part of her role in Afghanistan was advising Australian personnel on force protection issues so that missions could be conducted in the safest possible manner.
“It really is an honour to be able to support our deployed soldiers by ensuring everything possible is done to ensure their force protection,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed working in this role because of the collegiate, professional and supportive work environment that starts with the ACOMD-A (Assistant Commander Afghanistan).
“This is my second deployment to Afghanistan. My first was with Mentoring Task Force 1 from 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Battle Group in 2010.
“It’s the simple things you miss from home though, the sense of community, the beautiful Scenic Rim Mountains, Boonah home smoked bacon, and especially the wildlife - Kabul is a stark desert contrast with very little flora or fauna.
“I certainly appreciate how lucky we are in Boonah and the freedoms we are afforded.”
CAPT Lineham-Blair, a former Queensland Police Officer, joined the Army 11 years ago and has had many highlights including acting as patrol commander for the Army’s first all female patrol with NORFORCE (North-West Mobile Force) on Operation RESOLUTE.
Captain Lineham-Blair, who is currently posted to Kokoda Barracks in Canungra as an instructor, looks forward to relaxing at home with her husband Matt Lineham-Blair, children Kieren (10), Morgan (9), Caitlyn (9), and Thomas (6), and friends and to breath “clean air” in Boonah.
“Boonah is a town steeped in military history with an active RSL who diligently support the community.
“Matt and I are the only military that live in Boonah and as an older rural community the town has been very accepting of us and our children, especially during my deployment, for which I am very grateful.
“While we will probably be posted away in the future, it is a town we will eventually settle in.
“Two of our children (Caitlyn and Thomas) attend All Saints Primary School. The school has been incredibly supportive of my deployment, providing specialist pastoral care for the kids to ensure they are staying positive and can communicate their concerns in a caring environment.
“It’s the little things like this that really cement the town in my heart.”
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-orientated mission throughout 2014, providing training and advisory support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Around 400 ADF personnel will continue to work in Afghanistan in 2014 through training and advising the ANSF in both Kabul and Kandahar.
Approximately 800 further personnel are deployed within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including the maritime security environment.