Innisfail local Joshua Leacy has swapped the humidity of North Queensland for the dust of Iraq this year, serving on deployment with the Army in Iraq to help defeat Daesh.
Lance Corporal Leacy is deployed to Iraq with Task Group Taji – 5, a combined force of over 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand military personnel deployed to Iraq under Operation Okra.
Joshua is a Driver Specialist with the Royal Australian Corps of Transport.
Enlisting in the Army in 2011, Joshua completed basic and specialised training before being posted to Townsville.
"Before joining up I was working at the local Kmart and playing sports at the Tennis and Rowing club before making the jump into uniform," he said.
"After completing training I was posted to the 3rd Brigade in Townsville and have had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia and now Iraq.
"The opportunity to deploy to a place like Iraq has been a real career highlight for me."
Working in excess of 45 degree heat, Joshua and his team of drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of soldiers and equipment providing critical support to the ongoing mission to train the Iraqi Security forces to defeat Daesh.
"Without a doubt the environment is very harsh and has been very challenging for all of us," he said.
"But this has been a really good experience and we can really see that we are making a difference here."
Joshua said that while he has enjoyed the deployment so far, he is looking forward to getting home and spending time with family and friends.
"I am keen to get home for Christmas and catching up with everybody and maybe doing a spot of fishing," he said.
Joshua and his mates from Task Group Taji – 5 will be returning to Australia in December for a well-earned break before returning to duty.