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Saatchi Siri - Coolum Beach

This International Women's Day (8 March), Saatchi Siri will be serving her country in Iraq, far away from Coolum Beach, Queensland where she grew up.

Now a medic in the Australian Army, Saatchi is on a six-month deployment with Task Group Taji 4 – a combined force of around 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel based at the Taji Military Complex, north of Baghdad.

Saatchi said Task Group Taji 4 was providing Iraqi Security Forces with training in tactical movement, obstacle breaching, combined arms operations, medical first aid treatment and explosive hazard awareness training.

Many of the Iraqis who graduate from the training are now fighting to liberate Mosul.

The sparse surrounds of the Taji military base are a great contrast to Saatchi’s upbringing in Coolum Beach.

"I went to Coolum Beach State School, and I worked in a café that overlooks the main beach at Coolum before I joined the Army in 2013," she said.

"My father was a big influence on me when I was growing up – he used to be a combat engineer.

"When I joined up myself I decided to be a medic because I wanted to do whatever I could to look after our soldiers.

"I wanted to give them the best possible care."

Saatchi's job includes training Iraqi soldiers and police in first aid on the battlefield.

"She's also on standby as an evacuation medic if members of the task group need medical care.

"I'm one of two evacuation medics here at Taji," she said.

"My job is to provide treatment to the troops on the ground, who are training the Iraqi Security Forces.

"I also give lessons to the Iraqis on how to manage trauma injuries.

"Working with the Iraqis has been one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had.

"They are lovely people and they’re always willing to learn."

Growing up, Saatchi was a regular at the Noosa national park where she’d go rock jumping.

"She also enjoyed free climbing in the mountains that surround the coast and hinterland.

"I love the mateship in the ADF, it’s like one big family," she said.

"We're given endless opportunities to increase our personal and professional development.

"I'm proud to be serving with Task Group Taji this International Women's Day.

"I'm thinking of my family and looking forward seeing them when I return home."

Saatchi is deployed on Operation OKRA, as part of Task Group Taji 4 - a combined force of Australian and New Zealand Military personnel training Iraqi Security Forces to defeat Daesh and maintain security in Iraq. Saatchi will return home in June.

Australia's Defence contribution to Iraq is named Operation OKRA, and includes a Special Operations Task Group, an Air Task Group and Task Group Taji.