skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

Sharon White - Hobart

After spending 30 years in the Army with not one deployment, Australian Army medic Warrant Officer Class Two Sharon White, from Hobart, wondered if she would ever get the opportunity to serve her country overseas.

An unexpected phone call and four weeks later she was in Iraq on a six-month deployment as part of Task Group Taji-7.

"One minute I got a phone call, I thought I was in trouble, and they said 'Sharon, you're going'. I was very excited," Warrant Officer White said.

"It means everything that I have trained for I can put into practice and it makes me feel really proud that I'm serving my country in another country."

Warrant Officer White works at a Role One Echo medical facility in the Middle East at the Taji Military Complex, helping provide care to the 400-strong Australian and New Zealand contingent as well as personnel from other coalition nations.

"I help with primary health care, resuscitation, and if we have a patient in the ward I do the administration for that, as well as nursing care," she said.

She said a highlight has been the opportunity to work with different nations.

"I'm enjoying seeing how other armies work, meeting different nationalities and being able to say hello and look after their welfare."

Warrant Officer White is part of a team of health care professionals that form the Task Group Taji Health Company.

When they're not treating patients, they're training - running simulated mass casualty drills to ensure they're prepared for any scenario.

"We've done some excellent training since being here, so we're maintaining our clinical skills," she said.

"The training is quite fast-paced, you're thinking about all these things that might happen to the patient, so your mind is always one step ahead, thinking about what you can do better."

While it's unlikely she'll have to use the emergency skills, Warrant Officer White said it's still critical to practice.
"You never know what's around the corner, you have to be prepared and always train for the worst."

Warrant Officer White wasn't fully prepared for the environment though, coming from the cool autumn weather of Hobart straight to the 40-plus degree heat of Iraq.

"It's dry, dusty and exceptionally hot. I can't believe the extreme heat, it's phenomenal and it's only going to get hotter," she said.

"It was like a movie coming off the aircraft and onto the tarmac, you're moving around it's quite overwhelming. You see all these concrete bollards everywhere, it's very fortified and I feel safe."

Task Group Taji is in Iraq to train, advice and assist the Iraqi Security Forces who continue to fight Daesh.