When burgeoning Australian Rules football career ended abruptly, Tyler Lindberg wasted no time swapping uniforms to pursue another childhood dream.
The former Western Australian local, has been deployed with Task Group Afghanistan’s Force Protection Element on Operation Highroad in Kabul.
Known now as Private Tyler Lindberg, of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, based in Townsville, he joined around 300 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation Highroad, the Australian Defence Force's commitment to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
The purpose of Resolute Support is to assist the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.
Private Lindberg, whose family lives in Yabberup, is originally from Port Headland.
He said he joined the Army after playing for the Swans District AFL for nearly three years.
“I received a scholarship, but two shoulder reconstructions put an end to my days of Aussie Rules,” Private Lindberg said.
“I always wanted to join the Army to help people and go on overseas operations, so I enlisted in 2015.”
As a Bushmaster driver, guardian angel and combat first aider, Private Lindberg’s pre-deployment training included learning advanced military skills.
Combat shooting, medical procedures and driving techniques, as well as the close protection drills were essential to providing security for coalition mentors and VIPs in Afghanistan.
Australian and coalition advisers work at Afghan National Security Forces headquarters and training establishments across the capital, including Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air and Kabul Garrison Command.
Several Australians are also based at Camp Qargha, near Kabul, where they advise at the Marshal Fahim National Defence University.
Private Lindberg said his main responsibilities included driving Australian mentors to the bases or outposts in Afghanistan’s capital in a Bushmaster.
Private Lindberg described the roads of Kabul as being quite different.
“It’s chaotic and there are appear to be no road rules,” he said.
“It’s also very congested, but there is a disorganised flow.
“Our recent passengers included VIPs from Australia, UK, US and Spain, as well as senators, who were on the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program and great fun to meet.”
Private Lindberg is based at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, one of the main military bases in Afghanistan.
It is home to thousands of international military personnel and civilian contractors.
Private Lindberg said he shared a room with an Australian team member and keeping fit was still a passion.
“We have plenty to do in our spare time and I like going to the gym,” he said.
“I’ve made great mates in the Army and the camaraderie we have in Afghanistan is like a bunch of brothers.
“We socialise and work with the coalition soldiers from many nationalities including Denmark, Turkey, UK and the US.
“It’s great to meet people from other cultures and learn different languages.”
Private Lindberg said the Australian soldiers regularly met Afghan National Army soldiers at the outposts and check points.
“We always stop and have a chat using the Dari we’ve learnt,” he said.
“I’ve a lot of respect for them – they’re exposed to the threat of terrorist activities on the streets a lot more than we are.
“It’s been a rewarding experience doing our bit as part of the coalition assisting the Afghan Security Forces restore the stability of their country.”