Father's Day is fast approaching and Australian Army officer Captain Samuel Mettam is looking forward to rejoining his family after spending seven months in Afghanistan on Operation Highroad.
The 36-year-old Signal Corps officer deployed to Kabul with Task Group Afghanistan in February 2017, farewelling his wife Vanessa and 22-month-old daughter.
Captain Mettam is the communications and information systems advisor to the Task Group Headquarters.
"I provide advice to the Commander concerning Tactical Communications, Information Management, and management of some of the mission's more sensitive communications equipment," Captain Mettam said.
It is Captain Mettam's responsibility to ensure Task Group personnel have a clear understanding of equipment capability and how it can be employed to enhance mission success.
Like many Reservists in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals – when not deployed – Captain Mettam works within the engineering industry as a Defence civilian. /p>
He is currently a Systems Engineer for Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), assigned to the Australian Army's LAND 200 Project working on the Battle Management Systems (BMS) in Canberra.
Working closely with Defence technology finally motivated Captain Mettam to join the Army Reserves in 2005.
"I first became interested in joining the military after reading my grandfather's books about the unit he served in during WW2," he said.
"But it wasn't until I first started working at CASG that I decided to join the Army Reserves to get a better understanding of the ADF's capability needs," he said.
On Operation Highroad, Captain Mettam has done just that.
"You cannot replicate the environment and different threat anomalies faced on operation in a war-zone," he said.
"Here, I've really learnt how to apply my trade in an environment where what we're doing has a real impact and can affect lives.
"I have developed significantly as an officer and will take many lessons learnt back to my Reserve unit when I return to Australia."
Captain Mettam will come away from his deployment having developed professionally but there is no doubt being separated from his family has been difficult.
"We are fortunate that on operations today we can maintain contact with our families – I Skype everyday with my wife and daughter, which makes it easier."
While the deployment has been a rewarding experience, Captain Mettam is excited to be going home to his wife and daughter – just in time for Father's Day…and a new job.
"I will be spending lots of quality time with my wife and daughter and am looking forward to meeting my new engineering team," he said.
"When I return, I'll be relocating to start a new position with CASG in Fremantle, Perth."