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Joel Groat - Greensborough

Joel Groat was a bricklayer in Greenborough a previous life but now the 35 year-old is in Afghanistan where he is working as an army signalman.

A St Helena Secondary College old boy, Joel switched from bricklaying to soldiering because it was something he always wanted to do and the legacy was in the family.

"I'm a fifth generation soldier and my family has been in the military since the Boer Wars," said Joel.

Joel was selected for the deployment soon after being posted to the 3rd Combat Signals Regiment (3CSR) in Townsville.

Joel said the deployment was only possible because of the support provided by Army for his wife and two children while he's away.

"The military has been really supportive of her while I've been gone and assisted her when she's needed it which has been really good," he said.

On his first deployment since joining in 2012, Joel has enjoyed the chance to get out and do his job.

"I have loved it," he said

"It's been challenging at times but it’s nice to do my job in the operational environment."

Joel will be one of approximately 400 Australian Defence Force members spending Christmas in Afghanistan but he's looking forward to getting home early in the new ear.

"I’m really looking forward to spending time with the wife and kids when I get back," he said.

"While I'm looking forward to going home, at the same time this is my job, and what better place to do it.”