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Shane Campbell - Australian Army takes a piece of Busselton to the Philippines

The last time Shane Campbell was in the Philippines it was a scene of utter devastation – this time there were nothing but happy smiles and friendly faces.

Shane Campbell, a Warrant Officer in the Australian Army, deployed to Legazpi, Philippines, as part of Exercise Balikatan from 21 April to 16 May.

Exercise Balikatan is an annual military exercise between the United States military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This year it included a field training exercise, staff exercise and a humanitarian civic assistance program.

The Australian Defence Force played a supporting role in the exercise by supplying nearly 70 personnel.

While based in Legazpi, WO1 Campbell visited Tacloban for one day. The last time he was in Tacloban was in December 2013 when he was deployed as part of the Australian Defence Force’s response to Typhoon Haiyan.

"It was good to go back there to see how it had progressed from six months ago," he said.

"From what it was, a scene of utter devastation, to what it is now is great."

"I’m very glad for the opportunity to participate on Balikatan and go back to see the Filipinos’ happy and smiling faces."

WO1 Campbell, originally from Perth but now with family in Busselton, is posted to Brisbane at Headquarters 1st Division. There he is a civil military planner, the link between the military and civilian agencies.

With family in Busselton he travels there as often as he can, but it’s not as often as he would like.

"My family and I love visiting my mum Moira and brothers, Lee and Dirk, in Busselton," he said.

"We like the relaxed country life style, the friendliness of the people and of course the wineries, chocolate and cheese factories."

"We could definitely see ourselves living there in future."