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Nigel Decker - Dad’s the Boss but son is in charge

Private Nigel Decker, an Army Reservist currently on deployment in the Solomon Islands, got an important visitor, when his boss and father, Ian Decker took part in Exercise Boss Lift earlier this month.

Ian, owner and operator of Autobarn in Swan Hill, joined 27 other employers from around Australia on Boss Lift—a Defence program that aims to raise the awareness of employers and the broader community on Defence Reserve service, visiting their Reserve employees on Operation ANODE in the Solomon Islands.

For Ian though, this was an exercise with a difference as his employee is also his son, Private Nigel Decker, a Rifleman with 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment.

“Obviously, I was looking forward to seeing my son and seeing what he does in the Reserves, having heard all about it,” said Ian of his expectations going in.

“Being here now, I see him a soldier, he’s grown up all of a sudden. Out there, he’s focused and in his element and it’s good to see that,” Ian added.

During his time on Boss Lift, Ian witnessed some of the training and challenges his son and other soldiers on Operation ANODE faced while deployed, and even got a chance to experience some aspects of service life such as weapons handling.

“It was very refreshing to see these young people take on a part time career because they want to make a difference and are prepared to make sacrifices to do it,” said Ian of the Boss Lift experience.

“As a father, it makes you proud to see your son doing something that his peers might not necessarily think is cool, for want of a better word.”

The Exercise was also a chance for Nigel to show his boss the skills he has honed while on deployment.

“I’m extremely lucky to have my father come over,” said Private Decker.

“I’ve been proud to showcase what I’ve been learning.”

“I have completed my Infantry Module 1 [training] since I’ve been over here and that’s training that I will take back with me.”

“I’ve got more confidence; it’s really helped me with my leadership and keeping people motivated, and these are things I can use in the workplace,” added Private Decker.

Reserve service benefits employers by equipping employees with increased skills and confidence. Ian also witnessed the importance of Reserve service to the wider Australian Defence Force.

“It makes you aware of just how important the Reserves are in taking the pressure off the regular Army by doing deployments such as these,” said Ian.

Boss Lift is a Defence program organised and run by the Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division of the Australian Defence Force. It is designed to inform and promote to employers and the broader community of the training, skills and capabilities that Defence Reservists bring to the civilian workplace.

The Australian-led mission has assisted the Solomon Islands Government in maintaining security, law and justice, economic governance and improving the machinery of government since 2003. Combined Task Force 635 (CTF 635) has now completed its mission in the Solomon Islands, and Nigel and his fellow Reservists will be returning to Australia in the coming months.