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Michael Payne - Townsville

Sergeant Michael Payne, of Task Group Afghanistan's Force Protection Element, is the Workshop Supervisor at Camp Qargha near Kabul.

He joins about 300 Australian  personnel deployed on Operation Highroad, the Australian Defence Force 's commitment to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

Resolute Support's purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.

As the senior vehicle mechanic and logistician at Camp Qargha, Sergeant Payne said his team's main role was to ensure the fleet of Bushmasters and armoured SUVs were maintained to ensure the safety of the Australian soldiers working at the Marshal Fahim National Defence University.

"All the soldiers in our team are on their first deployment and all work hard to support the task group elements," he said.

"There's been a few all-nighters and some steep learning curves, but we are an excellent team and they get the job done."

The workshop team, who are members of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion,), is a team of five of various trades, who are also responsible for the upkeep of the Australian communications equipment and weapons systems at the base.

The university is home to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, the Command and Staff Academy and the Afghanistan National Army Sergeant Major Academy, where Australian and coalition partners mentor and provide force protection elements work on a daily basis.

Sergeant Payne said working in the coalition environment at Camp Qargha also meant helping the British, Danish, German, New Zealand and US forces who worked at the base.

"It can sometimes be a challenge understanding their languages or even the accents, but we assist with their minor repairs and vehicle maintenance, as their tradies are based in Kabul, and we do minor infrastructure work or manufacturing as well," he said.

"Managing my own workshop is definitely a highlight of my career and working with our partner nations is always a great opportunity to enhance Australia's reputation."

Sergeant Payne said a recent manufacturing task was two fire barrels made out 44-gallon drums to be used on Anzac Day.

"Craftsman James Pope was given the job and did exceptional work," he said.

"The fire barrels boosted the atmosphere for the dawn ceremony and attracted a lot of attention."

Sergeant Payne  deployed to Uruzgan with Mentoring Reconstruction Task Force 2 in 2009-10.

The task force mission was to assist in the development of the 4th Brigade, Afghan National Army, and operations were conducted by combat teams to enhance security in the province.

Sergeant Payne said the legacy of the work by Australians and their coalition partners during Operation Slipper had a lasting effect for the people there.

"It's important for me to be in Afghanistan again," he said.

"It's wonderful to see Australian mentors and advisors are working shoulder to shoulder with the Afghans to develop the next generation of Afghan National Army leaders."