This International Women's Day (8 March), Sarah Iljazov (née Mooney) will be serving her country in Iraq, far away from the Wantirna South home where she grew up.
Now a Major in the Australian Army, Sarah is on a six-month deployment to provide training for Iraqi Security Forces.
Currently, Sarah is deployed to Iraq with Task Group Taji 4 – a combined force of around 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
"I knew I wanted to be an army officer from a young age – I used to be a member of the 305th Army Cadet Unit in Surrey Hills," she said.
"When I was 17, I went to the Royal Military College-Duntroon and graduated as a Lieutenant in 2006.
"I haven't looked back."
Sarah is the Officer Commanding Logistics Company, providing essential logistical support for the task group as it carries out its mission – training Iraqi Security Forces to defeat the Deash terrorist group.
"This is my third operational deployment," she said.
Sarah, who is married with a two-year old son, said it never gets easy being away from home.
"However, I feel privileged to lead this group of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on operations," she said.
"On all my deployments, we've been partnered with the Kiwis."
This International Women's Day, Sarah will be leading the complex coordination of supplies and other logistics support.
The task group's logistics company ensures the training teams are able to do their job out on the rifle range with Iraqi soldiers and police.
"The logistics company is unique, it brings together soldiers from numerous trades and backgrounds to provide support for the training effort," she said.
"Each of the groups under my command has a nickname; the chippies (carpenters), the spanners (mechanics), the truckies (transport drivers), the postie and the 'Q'-ies (stores specialists).
"We are a combined force so the names are not exclusively Aussie or Kiwi, that's what makes our team special."
While Sarah is dedicated to her work, her family back in Melbourne are always in her thoughts.
"This deployment is particularly hard with my son Max and my husband holding the fort back home," she said.
"I miss them both every day and I can't wait to see my two men again.
"My family in Melbourne has been a huge support to me.
"Getting letters, emails and phone-calls from home and hearing about their stories and day to day updates takes on a special meaning when you are deployed.
"I am missing watching the AFL too.
"Growing up in Melbourne I found myself surrounded by it and have missed it since being over here.
"I'm looking forward to spending time with my husband and son, and watching Hawthorn win."
Sarah 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. Sarah 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.