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Joshua McMeikan - Hervey Bay

A Hervey Bay local and former Urangan High School student found he was literally the calibre of man the Army was looking for when he applied to enlist.

Joshua McMeikan is now Private (Pte) McMeikan, and since August has been working in the Middle East as an ammunition supplier with the Force Support Element (FSE).

FSE provides combat service support and in-theatre induction training for Australian Defence Force personnel deployed in the Middle East region under Operation Accordion, the operational name for the Australian headquarters which oversees and supplies the various Australian tasks group operating throughout the region.

Pte McMeikan joined the Army in 2014 because he said he wanted an outdoors, hands-on job with opportunities to travel.

"I chose to be an ammunition supplier because I liked the look of the role and the opportunities it presents to advance in the trade," he said.

"After completing my operator supply and driver courses I attended the ammunition supplier basic course in Bandiana at the Army Logistics Training Centre.

Pte McMeikan said it is exciting to be working with explosive ordnance.

"I hope to eventually become an ammunition technician," he said.

"They are responsible for the identification and disposal of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices."

FSE services include supply, maintenance, transportation and postal, all required by soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen in-theatre to continue their missions.

This requires FSE soldiers to operate across the region in a network of detachments, controlled by their headquarters staff based at Australia’s main support base in the Middle East.

Pte McMeikan said his role with FSE was to issue and receive ammunition for the personnel entering and returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They first get their weapons from the armoury then they come to me for their ammunition and explosive ordnance," he said.

"There is a fair bit of administration and thorough paperwork involved and we need to follow specific guidelines for the safety, storage and handling of ammunition.

"We have been busy lately with the closure of Camp Baker in Kandahar and the fresh deployments to Iraq.

"I am very proud of the work we are doing and proud to be a part of Operation Accordion."

Pte McMeikan said it was sometimes hard to get into a regular routine because the timings of personnel going into and returning from theatre were varied.

"Sometimes I need to start work at 3am or will be working late, but I have been using the quieter time to work on boosting my fitness," he said.

"This deployment has been an awesome start for my career with Army as I have learnt a lot about my trade and this job.

Pte McMeikan said despite his busy work and fitness schedule his mind was never far from home.

"I am starting to miss home, so I am looking forward to the break in the middle of my deployment and coming back to work feeling refreshed," he said.

"When I finish my tour in February I hope to get back to Hervey Bay and see my family and friends.

"Hopefully we will be able to catch up for a beer at Hoolihan's Irish Pub."