WANGARATTA’s Timothy Smith says commemorating Anzac Day on his first deployment to Afghanistan will be very special.
The former Wangaratta High School student, 21, will join approximately 250 personnel at Camp Baker’s Anzac Day dawn service in Kandahar on April 25.
The service will be attended by ADF personnel who remain in Afghanistan for the mission to advise, train and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Private Smith, now an army cargo specialist, has come along way in life since working for the Muddy Waters Café and as a farm hand at the Moyhu Wagyu Farm.
“Like all army recruits, I completed basic training at Kapooka where I learnt how to march, fire weapons and to get physically fit,” he said.
“Then I went on to do my drivers course and finished with my cargo specialist course in Townsville, with other courses including the eight-tonne forklift.”
Private Smith performs an important job as a member of the Royal Australian Corps of Transport (RACT) cargo specialists, which are responsible for the movement of cargo by air, land and sea, as well as the processing, storing, manifesting and on-forwarding of equipment and stores.
“Here in Afghanistan, my work involves the sending and receiving of all cargo by air for Australia and into country, and also working with contracted Russian aircraft that conduct all the heavy lift tasks, using the Mi-26 Blinkey massive heavy lift helicopter,” he said.
“The highlight of this deployment for me has been working closely with a very effective section of specialists, experiencing the vast variety of cultures and nations working together and also assisting with the task for Blinkey before the contract finished.”
Though enjoying his time in Afghanistan, the former Wangaratta Hockey Club member admits there are a few things he misses at home.
“I can’t wait to get home and have a few cold drinks with my friends and family, especially my mum and dad, Lisa and Nathan Crossley and Michelle and Ashlea Smith,” he said.
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-oriented mission throughout 2014, to providing training, advice and assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Around 400 ADF personnel will continue to work in Afghanistan in 2014 through training and advising the ANSF in both Kabul and Kandahar.
Approximately 800 personnel provide support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including operations in the maritime environment.