Donald Welsh is a major communications link between Australian troops deployed to the Middle East and their families back home.
Corporal Welsh from Violet Town is an Air Force Communications and Information Systems Controller posted to Al Minhad Air Force Base in Dubai. Donald is now stranger to the Middle East having already completed one tour of duty in support of Operation SLIPPER, and another to Pakistan as part of the humanitarian Operation PAKISTAN ASSIST.
He has returned with Force Communication Unit (FCU-9). The unit is made up of a team of sailors, soldiers and airmen working to keep Australian forces throughout the MEAO connected with each other, their coalition partners, and with their families at home.
There are around 2,400 ADF personnel deployed to the MEAO as part of Operation SLIPPER, and the ability to communicate an extraordinary quantity of information using a raft of radio frequencies, computer networks and other devices is critical to the success of their mission.
Donald is responsible for keeping a broad range of communications platforms in good working order.
“An average day has me servicing and maintaining satellite and radio networks, and a variety of I.T. programs,” Donald said.
“I am gaining more and more knowledge as the deployment goes on, and the people I am working with here are making this deployment a memorable experience,” he said.
Donald will spend the next four months in the MEAO, before returning to Australia to reunite with his partner, Rachel.
Until then, he’ll continue working with his unit to keep Australian troops throughout the MEAO, including those at sea in Australian warships, connected.
Operation SLIPPER is Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the MEAO and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
The current Force Communication Unit is the ninth to deploy to the MEAO in support of the operation.