Our People in WAMichael Blagg - Rockingham man in the Sudan
Sudan is a long way from Rockingham, but for local man Michael Blagg it’s an exciting change.
The Navy Lieutenant Commander is currently deployed to the UN Headquarters in Khartoum as the Deputy Chief of Logistic Operations for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
Michael’s job is assisting with logistic support for the 10,000 troops of member nations from around the world.
“I work in an Operations Room that has over forty personnel from twenty different countries,” said Michael.
“English in most cases is a second language. Sometimes it makes daily interaction challenging, but everyone is a specialist in their chosen field. Achieving our common goals is all the more rewarding.”
In addition to his Logistics role, Michael is also Deputy Australian Contingent Commander of Operation AZURE - the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to UNMIS.
The team comprises six military observers and 11 other personnel who specialise in air movements, aviation safety and logistic support.
Michael grew up in Willetton, Perth. He joined the Navy in 1987 as a Naval sailor, and in 2003 changed over to Officer and subsequently earned a Bachelors Degree in Science, followed recently by a Masters Degree in Management that was sponsored by the Navy.
It’s missing his wife and children that he finds hardest about the deployment.
“I am very proud of my wife, who is enduring far more than I am during this deployment,” he said.
“I am looking forward to returning to the simple pleasures of life with her and the children – barbequing in the backyard, going to netball with my daughter and football with my son.”
While the world is holding its breath for the official birth of the world’s newest nation – South Sudan – there remain many challenges to overcome.
But Michael is finding the Sudanese people inspiring.
“The Sudanese people I speak to have a tremendous strength and courage, despite the turmoil many find themselves in,” he said.“They always appear outgoing and gregarious, happy to engage with outsiders, particularly in their native language (Arabic). They really are surprisingly upbeat.”