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Lucas Brown - Warrnambool

AS a carpenter, Warrnambool’s Lucas Brown is used to some hard work. 

So when the chance came to deploy overseas with the Army Reserve, Lucas did not think twice.

The Lance Corporal is now on his second trip to the Solomon Islands, as part of Operation ANODE, which is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

“I’m a section 2IC (Second-in-Command), so I’m in charge of the administration and welfare of the guys in my section.  We’re heading home soon so everyone’s starting to relax and enjoy the experience,” he said.

While many of his counterparts are experiencing life on deployment for the first time, Lucas, 23, says he’s loved the chance to try a new position this time around.

“I first deployed here in 2010 as a platoon signaller, so it was a completely different role and it’s been really interesting being able to do two different jobs on separate rotations.

“It has been very interesting this time around.  The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) were always assisted by us on patrols but we’ve given them all the responsibility now so it’s great to see they’ve really stepped up and are looking after themselves.”

The military contribution to RAMSI will shortly return home and allow the RSIPF to do the job on their own with limited assistance from RAMSI’s Participating Police Force.

“They’re doing a great job.  A lot of the Australian police here talk really highly of the RSIPF and think they’re doing excellent work within the community.  They’ve come a long way over the last few years so there’s not much for us to do any more.”

Lucas says he’s looking forward to getting back home to catch up with his parents and four older sisters and helping out in the family business.

“I’m a carpenter/builder in Warrnambool, my father runs Ian Brown Washing Machine Services and I used to work for him when I was younger so I’ll help out there for rest of the year.

Before he gets back to work, Lucas plans to head off on an overseas adventure of a different kind and he will not be packing his uniform.

“I’m planning a trip to Europe for seven weeks.  I’m going to Prague, Berlin, Vienna, and Croatia.  Plus I’ve got some mates in Germany at the moment so we’ll meet up and go to Oktoberfest in Munich which will be great.”

He said of the highlights of the deployment has been getting the chance to train alongside the 30 Tongan soldiers who form part of the Australian-led Combined Task Force 635 in Solomon Islands.

“The Tongans are awesome, I love them! Those are guys I’ll go anywhere with. I’ve made some really good friends. 

“We did a survival training week where we were assisted by the Tongans and they took us out in to the jungle and taught us a lot and they’re always good for a laugh.”