Former Terrigal resident and Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Karl Woodward, 34, is serving in South Sudan as part of a small, highly-specialised Australian Defence Force contingent supporting the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Karl is the Officer in Charge of the National Support Element in South Sudan, where he supports the Australian contingent and liaises with key personnel across the United Nations mission.
Karl is supported by a team including an Army warrant officer, Air Force corporal and a contractor from Kenya who help with community engagement activities in South Sudan.
UNMISS was established by the United Nations on July 9, 2011 and Australia is one of 64 nations contributing to this mission with 20 personnel currently in support.
In preparation for his deployment, Karl completed the United Nations Military Observers course where he learned to lead UN land and air patrols, navigation, four-wheel-driving, mission planning and working with foreign nationals.
"It was one of the most challenging and interesting courses I have completed since joining the RAAF," Karl said.
The majority of the students came from across the world to attend the course including students from Kenya, South America, Nambia, Jordan, Canada, Egypt and Germany.
"I am proud to be representing the Australian people in South Sudan," Karl said.
"I hope my small contribution assists the peace making process and provides a stable and safe environment for the South Sudanese people so they can access water, food and education.
"There is never a day that goes by that I don't enjoy what I do.
"More importantly, I strive to maintain my commitment to the people of Australia by performing to the best of my abilities in the Air Force and I hope my contribution makes Australia a safer and better place to live for the current and future generations."
Since joining the RAAF eight years ago Karl deployed to the Middle East in 2010 and has taken part in international exercises across Australia and the world including America, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand.