Burpengary's Greg Polak can not wait to watch the dawn break over the dusty Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on what will be his first Anzac Day on Operations.
Leading Aircraftman Polak, 25, an Airfield Defence Guard (ADG) at Amberley Air Force Base west of Brisbane, is deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Air Force’s contingent of personnel who are providing flight line security at the busy Afghan transport hub.
He said his job involved ensuring the integrity of the perimeter of the sprawling air field and also ensuring the safety of those inside the wire.
“This is my first deployment and it’s a real honour to be here for Anzac Day but also to be able to put all your training into good use,” he said.
“It’s like training for the football game for years and then finally getting to play in the grand final – it’s something I will never forget.
“We work with a coalition of nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and also the Belgians, who have a great sense of humour.”
The son of Lee and Mick Polak said a Narangba State School visit when he was in Year 12 sealed his fate and steered him away from following his dad into the Army.
“We had a trip to see what the ADGs did and from that I got excited and joined on my 18th birthday – I haven’t looked back, I love the job.
“My first 10 weeks of training was in Adelaide and I followed that with a 14 week ADG basic course and both courses taught me a lot about myself.”
The former Southern Crawl Swim Club member will spend six months in Afghanistan and has some simple pleasures to look forward to on his return.
“I can’t wait to get home to see my girlfriend Samantha (Begent) and also get a big hug from my giant dog Brauhn – he’s an Irish Wolfhound-Bull Mastiff cross.”
ADGs are non-commissioned Air Force members who provide the specialist ground (combat) force required to protect air power assets from the effects of hostile ground action in and around Air Force Bases and Installations, both in Australia and overseas during peacetime and on operations.
During peacetime, ADGs support Air Force Security (AFSEC) and Air Base Protection (ABP) by conducing routine security tasks, including vehicle and foot patrols, static guarding and control of entry points.
On operations, ADGs form the basis of the Air Force's ground combat force, protecting Base assets, infrastructure and personnel against attack from enemy ground forces both inside and outside of the airfield perimeter.
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-oriented mission throughout 2014, providing training and advisory support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Approximately 1200 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed throughout the broader Middle East Area of Operations on Operation SLIPPER which includes the maritime security environment, an area of over two million square miles, encompassing the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.