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Ben Corsini

Christmas day, Kabul, Afghanistan, and the expectations of 250 Aussie soldiers to call and Skype home rest on one man's shoulders.

24-year old, Ben Corsini is an Information Systems Technician in the Australian Army.

Based at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Ben is the Detachment Commander, Information Systems with Australian Task Group Afghanistan.

Leading a small team of signallers, he is responsible for maintaining the ADF computer network across four bases in Kabul, as well as Wi-Fi internet for the troops.

He said it's a big job that largely goes unnoticed, until something goes wrong.

"The moment Wi-Fi goes down, we have troops banging down the door," he said.

"But it's understandable; we all rely on the Wi-Fi to reach out to family and friends on deployment.

"I think everyone would agree, at times like Christmas and birthdays, it's one of the most important tasks."

Despite the hefty responsibility, Ben relishes a challenge and the cause is one he holds dear.

He says the highlight has been the opportunity to lead a small detachment of troops.

"Being able to put my ability to manage soldiers to the test and to get a positive outcome has been really satisfying."

The former rugby league half back is on his second deployment to Afghanistan, but the first as a single father of one, separated from his three-year old son Brody.

"It's a difficult time to be away," he said.

"I didn't have Brody when I deployed to Uruzgan province in 2011.

"Although it felt more dangerous at the time, I didn't have anyone to miss quite like I miss my son."

The family connection to the military is strong for Ben, who followed in his grandfather’s footsteps when he joined the Army in 2009.

At the age of 19, Trooper Alfred Lesley Irwin enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) with his younger brother in 1941.

He was posted to 2/4 Australian Commando Squadron and deployed to Timor, New Guinea and Tarakan in World War II. He returned to Australia in 1945, but his brother did not.

It's a legacy Ben found hard to ignore.

"For as long as I can remember, I was always going to join the Army," he said.

"We can't compare the circumstances today to the hardships they faced back then."

"But it has been a privilege to follow in my grandfather and great uncle’s footsteps and deploy on operations."

Approximately 250 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed across Afghanistan in a variety of roles on Operation Highroad, Australia's contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Resolute Support is focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and Afghan security institutions at the operational, institutional and ministerial levels.

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