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Alex Fairfield - Altona

ALTONA North local and Australian Army Trooper Alex Fairfield is keeping things moving in Afghanistan behind the wheel of a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle.

Alex transports and guards Aussie soldiers who work as advisors at the Afghan National Army's 205 Hero Corps at Kandahar Airfield.

"They’re pretty fun to drive and not a lot of effort goes into handling the vehicle itself, you’re mostly scanning your arcs and looking out for children crossing the road," he said.

"The ones we have got here are extra armour so they're a bit heavier than the ones we have back in Australia but that’s ok."

Though he’s qualified to drive Australian Light Armoured Vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, Alex is driving a Bushmaster on this deployment.

Alex said the biggest challenge was not getting complacent driving around the area.

"Recently we came upon a local Afghan national who had rolled his vehicle into a ditch so I radioed for the MPs and then we got out to help.

"The local driver had cut his arm and we were doing first aid while the two guys from the other crew were directing traffic.

"We didn't expect that to happen it seemed to come out of nowhere."

Alex, now 23, left St Pauls College 2011 before joining the Army the following year.

"I was sick of university and I wanted to do something different and get some life experiences," he said.

"You get the opportunity to do something not a lot of people get to do"

Though Alex now lives in Townsville with his fiancé, back in Altona North his mother Alyson lives with his two brothers and his sister.

"Mum pretty much said 'I can't stop you from going so just be safe'," he said. “I can tell she's very proud of me but obviously she still wants me to come home as soon as possible.

"My little brother thinks it's cool and wants me to send him more photos but for my little sister I think it's a bit hard for her to understand."

Alex 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.