Hervey Bay’s Kirsten Steley will spend the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings at a dusty base in the Middle East on Operation SLIPPER.
Private Steley, 22, an Australian Army Operator Supply soldier, is based at Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB) in the United Arab Emirates in support of Australia’s contribution to the War on Terror in Afghanistan.
The former Urangan State High School student said she has enjoyed her experience and relished the chance to deploy on operations after joining the Army in February 2010.
“The most memorable moment of this trip was actually getting here, being a part of the Sisters in Arms AMAB Group and realising the contribution I am making as time has moved forward in this deployment and our mission,” she said.
“I can see exactly where I fit into the bigger picture and that I have an important role to play.
“I had to fight hard to get here as I had surgery on both my legs in 2012 and early 2013 and had to pass a lot of medical and physical requirements just to be considered for deployment – I am very proud to be here.”
The daughter of Gary and Lorelle Steley and former goalkeeper for the Hervey Bay Hockey Association’s “Youngbloods” senior ladies team, admits to missing her coastal home town.
“My fondest memories of Hervey Bay are heading down to the beach with mates and just relaxing, it’s very laidback and touristy – I think I miss that the most.
“I always loved sitting back and having brekky down at Enzo’s on the beach on a weekend and I’ve since taken my fiancé (Christopher Wright) there also.
“When I get back, I am looking forward to going out to the RSL for a family dinner and few drinks, catch up with mates from school and have a coffee on the beach at Enzo’s.”
Kirsten’s role in the Middle East is responsible for the execution of stocktakes for Force Support Unit – 9 at AMAB.
The long list of items includes equipment such as weapons, high security items, clothing and vehicles and maintaining a plethora of warehouse logs, accounts and folders.
She was excited at the prospect of adding the Australian Active Service Medal and Afghanisan Campaign medal to her recently awarded Australian Defence medal for her four year’s service in the Australian Defence Force.
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-oriented mission throughout 2014, providing training and advisory support to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Approximately 400 ADF personnel will continue to work in Afghanistan in 2014 through training and advising the ANSF in both Kabul and Kandahar.
Approximately 800 personnel provide support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, as well as conducting maritime security operations at sea.