Our People in QLD
Krystelle Watts & Kylie Grimes - Gympie women in Timor for Christmas
GYMPIE’S Krystelle Watts and Kylie Grimes will be working away from home in tropical climes this Christmas – with the Australian Defence Force in Dili, Timor Leste.
The Gold City pair is currently deployed to Operation ASTUTE in the dusty and humid Timorese capital where they are assisting the return of Australian personnel and equipment after six years of involvement in the fledgling nation.
The two Australian Army Reserve Signallers work in the Communications Centre for Australia’s Joint Task Force and will celebrate Christmas at the “HPOD” or Helicopter Point of Departure before returning in the New Year.
If being from the same city was not enough, the pair also shares a room in the basic temporary accommodation where the mod-cons include a simple bunk bed and mosquito net for comfort.
Krystelle said the pair met while they both were posted to 7 Combat Signals Regiment (7CSR) at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggerra.
“It’s so funny. We met years ago and swapped stories about Rainbow Beach and having awesome pies down there and then when I arrived in Timor a few months ago, so did Kylie,” she said.
“We both work in the communications section at Camp Phoenix, we are rooming together, end up beside each other at PT (physical training) most days and often share our meals around the same table.”
Kylie added that it had been amazing to share the experience of their deployments overseas with someone so close to home.
“It is really interesting when we get chatting because we keep finding things in common - we both went to James Nash State High School for example – but didn’t bump into each other in the playground!” she said.
“We both really love Rainbow Beach so we often chat about our memories from there – it’s such a beautiful part of the world.”
The pair both readily admits they are having the part-time of their lives and enjoying something that many people are not able to experience.
“Stelle” studies at university in Canberra where she is posted to 143 Signal Squadron and Kylie works as a dental hygienist in Brisbane when not parading as a radio operator at 7 CSR.
“We can both safely say we are missing our friends, family and boyfriends this Christmas and have really appreciated the support from our families and the community back home – thank you for thinking of us,” Krystelle said.
Timor Leste began an exciting new chapter in its history when the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) ceased security operations on 22 November.
After more than six years of supporting the Timor Leste security forces, the ISF role has changed to the redeployment of its people and equipment to Australia and New Zealand.
ISF troops started to depart Timor Leste in late November and bases will be remediated for handover by mid-2013.