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David Bowden - Pennant Hill

When Australian and British soldiers in Afghanistan need protection, they call former Oakhill College student and Army officer Captain David Bowden.

The Pennant Hills local, David is serving as an operations officer for the Force Protection Element keeping Australian and British mentors safe at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy on the outskirts of Kabul as part of Operation SLIPPER.

"The mentors let us know what tasks they’re going to be doing and I’ll allocate a 'guardian angel' team that will provide their protection," Captain Bowden said.

"I'll also coordinate road moves between here and Kabul Airport."

"We get a lot of last minute requests and it’s my job to ensure the mentors have always got a protection team with them at all times."

Australian and British soldiers mentor the Afghan staff that trains Afghan officer cadets at the academy.

Captain Bowden grew up in Pennant Hills where his parents Michael and Julie still live.

After graduating from Oak Hill College in 2003, he worked as a tour manager in the music industry until he was 21 then began Army officer training at the Royal Military College Duntroon.

"I wasn’t really sure what I was doing with myself and I was looking for a stable job," he said.

"Something that I might be good at, and the Army turned out to be a sweet job - I love it!"

The force protection team Captain Bowden works for includes about 50 Australians and 50 British personnel.

"The UK way of doing business is not really different from ours," Captain Bowden said.

"A lot of us have had the chance to form some really good friendships while we’ve been here.

"There’s always been a bit of banter going back and forth between us, it’s all good fun."

Apart from two trips to Afghanistan, (he is currently on his second deployment) Captain Bowden has served in Malaysia and in the UK.

"I love getting the chance to meet people from all over the place," he said.

"I’ve got friends all over Australia, I’ve got friends from the UK and I’ve even got a few Afghan mates."

David is one of about 420 Australian personnel who are based at Kabul and Kandahar, Afghanistan to support ISAF’s train, advise and assist mission.