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Lieutenant Bill Howieson - Toowoomba

A graduate of Toowoomba Grammar School has swapped the grassy Darling Downs for the dust of Afghanistan as he leads a team of "guardian angels" protecting Aussie troops.

Army Lieutenant Bill Howieson leads a team of 55 soldiers tasked with protecting Australian mentors working at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy outside Kabul.

"I assign tasks to all the soldiers and we’ll rotate between force protection, guard and quick reaction force," he said.

"It's different every day, nothing’s ever the same and we'll be in different areas doing different jobs."

Bill is part of Joint Task Force 633 which commands Australia’s military involvement in the Middle East.

Bill finished at Toowoomba Grammar School 2008 joined the Army the following year because he wanted to attend the Australian Defence Force Academy and lead soldiers.

Bill's "guardian angels" in Afghanistan keep a close eye on the Australian Army mentors to make sure they are safe.

"You've got to be aware of where the mentors are at all times," he said. 

"That also means being aware of the lessons the Afghan instructors are conducting whether that be weapons, navigation or anything else."

Bill said being vigilant also means watching for people who don’t look like they’re doing the right thing.

"We train for the quick reaction but a lot of the time I leave things up to the section commander that's out on the ground because I am very confident they'd know what to do," he said.

Bill said his parents, Lisa and Bill, who live in Toowoomba, are warming to the idea of him being deployed to Afghanistan.

"Mum was a little worried at the start but she's more comfortable with it now because of the reduced threat level," he said.

"And the old man never had any worries because he knows this is what I want to do."

The former Toowoomba lad is posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, an infantry unit based in Townsville.

"Infantry train for a lot of different tasks and this force protection is one of them," he said.

"It just hasn’t been our most well practised but it is now."

Bill has been in Afghanistan for two months and should fly back to Australia in early next year.

There are currently about 420 Australian personnel in Afghanistan at Kabul and Kandahar supporting the ISAF train, advise and assist mission.