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Bernard Edwards - Sunraysia

Two men from the Sunraysia Valley will soon be returning home to their families after six months deployed on ADF operations in the Middle East.

Captain Arron Kinleyside and Corporal Bernard Edwards have been deployed to Iraq as part of Task Group Taji Rotation Four for Operation Okra.

They are part of a combined force of about 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel that is providing training to the Iraqi Security Forces.

Located near Baghdad at the Taji Military Complex, Corporal Edwards has been part of the training teams that are responsible for mentoring members of the Iraqi Army and Federal Police.

"Our lessons consisted of patrolling in rural and urban environments, marksmanship, communication, and first aid training," he said.

"The guys we've trained have shown massive amounts of improvement in short periods of time, and it's pretty satisfying to know we've helped prepare them for winning their fight against Daesh.

"It's a job that needs to be done and the guys we've trained are now having a direct impact on the fight."

Growing up in Curlwaa on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, Corporal Edwards attended Coomealla High School and worked at the Coomealla Club, Dareton Swimming Pool, and the Edge Hotel before enlisting in the Army in 2008.

His deployment to Iraq was not his first operational tour and Corporal Edwards' passion for the job is reflected in his experiences.

"There was a lot going on in the world at that time Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq so I thought why not join up and have a positive effect on a global scale," he said.

"I've been all over Australia and the world with Defence.

"If you're looking for a career and want to get paid well to travel, keep fit, and hang out with your mates, the Defence Force is well worth considering - trust me, you won't look back."

Captain Kinleyside, an officer with the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, has been providing support to the training teams as the Logistics Battle Captain for the task group.

"My job has involved the planning and execution of the deployment and redeployment of our contingent," he said.

"Day-to-day I work with coalition forces, contractors and local Iraqis to coordinate construction projects in support of the mission.

"The Iraqis just want peace and stability in their country so it's great to be able to give them the skills and the confidence they need to help achieve that."

Now based in Adelaide with his wife Sharne, an Air Force Officer, Captain Kinleyside is looking forward to returning home, close to his family and friends in Mildura.

"It's my first deployment and my wife Sharne deployed just before me, so we've managed one month together in the last year.

"We couldn't have done it without the excellent support from our families."

"The care packages with copies of the Sunraysia Daily and Tim Tams to share with our coalition partners have been perfect reminders of home."