WAGGA lad and Army Lance Corporal Michael White is keeping an eye on things in Afghanistan from the top of a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle.
Michael is a Bushmaster crew commander responsible for guarding and transporting Aussie soldiers who work at the Afghan National Army's 205 Hero Corps near Kandahar Airfield.
"I work the MAG-58 (machinegun) on the top of ther vehicle and tell the driver where we’re going," he said.
"It's good being up the top of the vehicle because I have good situational awareness and understand what's happening around us."
Michaels's mother tragically passed away during his deployment and he briefly returned home for the funeral.
"Mum said before I left 'whatever happens you've joined the Army to fight for your country'," Michael said. "'If I pass away make sure you come back for my funeral then you go back and do your job, we're so proud of you for doing it'."
Michaels’s dad Ross still lives in Wagga as do his two brothers and two sisters.
After leaving Wagga Wagga High in 2004, Michael, now 27, wasted no time joining the Army.
"My pop was in WWII and served in New Guinea so I talked to him a lot before he passed away," Michael said. "I always had a passion to join up and serve under the flag, it's one of the most respectful things you can do."
Michael is qualified to man the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle, armoured personnel carriers and is qualified to teach new crewman on the Bushmaster.
He also deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 but this time he’s made new friends with the infantrymen.
"We're started to bond and gel really well with the infantry guys," he said. "We can tell when something's wrong with each other, we know all the guys who are married with kids and all the guys who are single.
Michael is due to finish his eight month deployment early next year.
A contingent of about 200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan and are mostly based at the Camp Baker compound. Australians at Camp Baker work in a variety of roles including advisory, administration, communications, command and logistics.
Australia's military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is deployed under Operation SLIPPER. Operation SLIPPER is focused on training and advisory roles with the Afghan National Security Forces in Kabul and Kandahar. There are approximately 400 ADF personnel deployed within Afghanistan.