Scott Stephens from Forbes never gets tired of looking at the sheep or the mountains in Afghanistan where he is serving as an Army officer.
For Scott, the sight of a lonely Afghan sheep herder with his flock wandering the searing and majestic desert landscape of Afghanistan is about as far removed as you can get from merinos grazing the rolling farmland around his hometown.
“Everyday, while working with the officers of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade, you catch yourself looking at the mountains that surround us,” he said.
“The heights of the mountains are truly spectacular and gobsmacking.”
Scott, otherwise known as Captain Stephens, is on his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Scott, 27, is serving as second in command with the Security Forces Assistance - Advisory Team, which is part of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Task Force.
He is involved in providing advisory support to the 4th Brigade headquarters, as they plan and execute highly successful independent security operations across Uruzgan province.
“We are in the final stages of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan and our advisory role is a reflection of the high level of skill the soldiers of the 4th Brigade have,” he said.
“These guys are training themselves, planning their own mission and executing them perfectly.
“We remain on hand to offer advice from our own experience; something the Afghan officers appreciate.”
Scott believes part of the success the Australian forces have had with the soldiers of the 4th Brigade is due to the sincerity of the Afghans.
“The Afghan soldiers and people in general are very genuine,” he said.
“They are very honest people and appreciate the work that has been done by Australian soldiers to enhance security in the region.”
Scott is exceptionally proud to be part of the Australian military commitment to Afghanistan.
“Australia’s legacy in Afghanistan is one the whole nation should be proud of,” he said.
“We have helped the people of Uruzgan and provided them with a real opportunity to shape their own future, and not have it shaped for them by criminals.”
Scott is getting excited in the countdown to going home early next year, when he will be reunited with his family and friends in Forbes.
“Then we can all enjoy hometown rituals like Weekly Steak Night,” he said.
Scott is also looking forward to settling down with his fiancée, Samantha.