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Sarah Grahame - Mentone

MENTONE Grammar graduate, athletics prodigy and Australian Army Corporal Sarah Grahame, is looking after soldiers administration in Afghanistan.

Sarah works as an administration clerk keeping track of about 200 Defence personnel serving out of Camp Baker in Kandahar.

"I know everyone here by name, I could tell you who they are, where they work," she said.

"You get to integrate with everyone rather just being in an office and as a clerk you need to be approachable so people can come and see you if there's a problem."

Though Sarah, 25, is based in Townsville, she gets home to Mentone to visit her family at least once each year.

"My mum didn't want me to come to Afghanistan and neither did my nan but they know it's something I wanted to do," she said.

"Mum says when I’ve set my mind to something I'll always achieve what I've set out to achieve.

"Dad was a bit emotional which was a bit different because I've never seen my dad like that, but they know there's nothing they could say to change my mind."

Sarah said a deployment was the next main step in her military career.

"Every second person has been deployed and they say it's the highlight of their career," she said.

"I've done Exercise Hamel and Exercise Talisman Sabre numerous times and a deployment was the last thing I hadn't done. Here you get to do your job in an operation environment and see how it's done."

After graduating from Mentone Grammar in 2007, Sarah considered joining the Army but first spent a semester at an American university in Arizona on an athletic scholarship before joining the Army in 2009.

"I got back to Australia and the Army was still calling," she said. "They called on Monday and said 'do you want to go on Friday?' and I said yes.

"During a trip to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, I found out my nan’s dad’s dad joined the Army as a pay clerk on the same day I did.

"Coming from a sporting background I always had structure. I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I joined but I look back and I've had a great five years in the Army now."

Sarah is due to finish her seven-month deployment 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.