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Melanie Keir - Cudal

This This Anzac Day the small country township of Cudal, NSW, will be dedicating new plaques to its war memorial in recognition of individuals who have served in modern conflicts.

One of those plaques will be engraved with the name of Squadron Leader Melanie Keir.

The 34-year-old Royal Australian Air Force officer grew up in Cudal and is now an experienced veteran having deployed four times to the Middle East.

She will not be in Australia to attend the Cudal War Memorial ceremony on 25 April as she will be commemorating the Anzacs alongside her Australian Defence Force (ADF) colleagues in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Currently deployed on Operation Highroad, Squadron Leader Keir is embedded as the Supply Advisor within the NATO led coalition at Train Advise Assist Command – Air (TAAC-Air), providing critical logistics support to the Afghan Air Force (AAF).

"My role is to mentor the AAF's 1st Logistics Squadron, overseeing their warehousing and supply functions," Squadron Leader Keir said.

"I provide warehousing advice as it applies to the aviation environment.

"For example, the management of repair parts and the rollout of air crew flight equipment so that they have enough helmets and flight suits to fly."

Understanding the AAF logistics process and their unique needs is central to her role as an advisor.

"I have to understand how they do business in terms of warehousing so that I can identify what the issues are and where they need to improve," she said.

"We then work through those issues together."

Joining the Air Force in 2002 and with three deployments under her belt, Squadron Leader Keir brings a wealth of experience to her role.

After graduating from Cudal Public School in 2000, she worked as a secretary for a year before joining the Air Force.

"I was always intrigued by a career in the Defence force as a job where you could travel to unique places and work with different cultures," she said.

In 2002 she enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force through the Australian Defence Force Academy where she studied logistics.

Upon graduating, she was posted to the Command Intelligence Systems Sustainment office in Canberra as a junior Flying Officer.

Her first posting saw her swiftly deployed to Operation Catalyst in Qatar and to Australia's main operating base in the Middle East region to work on deployed IT systems.

Eight years later she returned to the Middle East on Operation Slipper in Afghanistan as part of the Combat Support Unit where her role was to manage logistics support for Australia's main operating base and flying operations.

She again returned to the Middle East region on Operation Accordion for a brief visit in her role as the CASG Liaison Officer to Headquarters Joint Operations Command in November 2015.

With so much time spent on operations or exercises, she is used to being away from home and this is not first time she will spend Anzac Day deployed.

"This is the second Anzac Day I've been deployed," she said.

"It's always a bit special doing Anzac Day overseas. I guess it really brings you a lot closer to the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice over here and to those who had their lives changed from being deployed.

"It's a pretty special and sombre experience."

Her husband, who is also in the Air Force, will attend the Cudal War Memorial service with her parents who still live in the tight-knit NSW town.

She said she enjoys working with the Afghans and is looking forward to making a positive contribution to the NATO-led mission.

"They're great people and I look forward to hopefully making a difference over the course of my time here," she said.

About 270 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed on Operation Highroad as part of Australia's commitment to the NATO led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.