Anzac Day was a significant milestone for one soldier from Outback Queensland who’s currently deployed on operations in Iraq.
Now a Warrant Officer Class Two in the Australian Army, Peter Williams, 48, was brought up in Aramac near Barcaldine.
On Anzac Day he was deployed on Operation Okra with Task Group Taji Rotation Four - a combined Anzac force of Australian and New Zealand Defence personnel providing training to the Iraqi Security Forces just north of Baghdad.
He said the Task Group is making a difference, by helping the international community to defeat terrorism.
“We are involved in some important work here,” he said.
“We’re training the Iraqi Security Forces for the fight against Daesh, and from all reports, it’s paying off.”
There are about 300 Australian and 100 New Zealanders in the Task Group. Since 2015, ADF and NZDF members of Task Group Taji have trained more than 21,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
“As the Operations and Training Warrant Officer for the Task Group my daily tasks vary from overseeing the allocation of interpreters to training teams, right through to the administration of the military courses being conducted,” he said.
“It is amazing to see the resilience of the Iraqis, considering what they have faced in the past couple of years.
“They are very proud of their country and who they are.”
Growing up in Aramac, Warrant Officer Williams attended Aramac State School and enjoyed the quiet country lifestyle, particularly riding motorbikes around the township with his mates.
He was involved with the Aramac Tennis Club and the Barcaldine Golf Club before joining the army.
In 2000, he was a member of the Australian Defence Force golf team and had the opportunity to compete in the UK.Anzac Day represented another milestone in his military career when he attended a Dawn Service at the Taji military base alongside his mates from Australia and New Zealand.
“I joined the Army to serve my country and see more of Australia and the world,” he said.
“The mateship, loyalty and professionalism of my fellow Anzacs make me proud to say I have served with them as part of Task Group Taji.”
Warrant Officer Class Two Williams says he’s also grateful for the support of his family and everyday Australians back home.
“We’ve received a number of cards and care packages from some fantastic organisations and schools,” he said.
“This was greatly appreciated by the troops on the ground, knowing that Australians were thinking of us during that difficult time away from family and friends.
“I am looking forward to getting home to spend some quality time with my partner, catch up with my daughter, and take some well deserved R&R.”