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Garett Freeman - Kuranda

Former Kuranda lad and Australian Army Signaller Garett Freeman is keeping soldiers connected as part of his work as an information systems technician in Afghanistan.

Garett is responsible for server maintenance, troubleshooting along with making sure the email and computer systems are running efficiently for Australians at Kandahar Airfield.

"I've also worked with other nations like the Americans and Germans for the integration of our systems," he said. "It's been interesting and a bit of a challenge working with the Americans.

"The Americans are trained a bit differently to us so jobs might take a bit longer with them but we always get through it."

"After finishing Cairns State High in 2002, Garett worked in bars and restaurants before joining the Army 10 years later.

He joined on the advice of his older brother Marcus who is a sergeant in the Army’s Armoured Corps.

"I saw how much he enjoyed the lifestyle, he really enjoyed the work and told me stories about exercises," Garett said.

"He gave me advice on what jobs to choose, he's scoped out all the roles in terms of training and what qualifications you might get."

Garett is now posted to Townsville but visits his parents Murray and Laura in Kuranda when he can.

"Mum is a bit worried about me being deployed," he said. "But she's been through it before with my brother so she knows how to deal with it, she sends lots of care packages.

"My da'’s a bit more used to me being here. I stay in regular contact with them."

Garett said he enjoyed making friends with the other coalition nations on the base.

"I like the social events with the different nationalities here," he said. "Things like volleyball tournaments, BBQ nights and a 20km hike that’s apparently a Danish tradition."

His eight month deployment is due to end early next year.

A contingent of about 200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan and are mostly based at the Camp Baker compound. Australians at Camp Baker work in a variety of roles including advisory, administration, communications, command and logistics.

Australia's military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is deployed under Operation SLIPPER. Operation SLIPPER is focused on training and advisory roles with the Afghan National Security Forces in Kabul and Kandahar. There are approximately 400 ADF personnel deployed within Afghanistan.