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Jeremy Schnalle - Bowral

Working in a Bowral electronics shop wasn’t quite the adventure Jeremy Schnalle was looking for, so the former Moss Vale High student decided to sign on with the Army.

“I like the traditions and formality of it,” he said.

“I like the pride of being in the Army and the mateship you get.

“You find some good people, there’s a lots of different characters.

“You get to do stuff you never would in a civilian job, things like shooting anti-armour weapons and getting chopper rides.”

Jeremy joined the Army as an infantryman and was posted to Townsville; however now he has been deployed to Afghanistan as a guardian angel to protect Australian personnel working with instructors at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.

“It’s a bit like being a security guard,” he said. “I’m looking after the mentors who are mentoring the staff who are teaching the cadets

“We protect them in the classroom or out in the training area.

“Wherever they go, we follow making sure they’re safe and sound.”

An important requirement for Jeremy’s team is to make sure they are fresh when looking after the mentors.

“You can’t switch off,” he said.

“There’s a good rotation system in place and when there are mentors actively walking around you’ll be there observing them.”

Jeremy’s parents Patricia and Frank now live in Welby and were a bit apprehensive about their son heading overseas.

“I told them I was becoming a rifleman and my dad wanted me to get more of a trade,” he said.

“Deploying to Afghanistan got them worried, as parents would be.

“They approved but they’re still parents.”

Having a new fiancĂ©e and being based in Townsville means Jeremy doesn’t get home to Bowral as much as he’d like.

“When I do get home, I like catching up with mates; it’s a quiet town but the friends and family are what make it home,” he said.

Jeremy is deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Australian Defence Force’s Operation Highroad.

Operation Highroad is the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to Afghanistan to support the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support which has replaced the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission.

Around 270 ADF members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Highroad.