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Karmen Sampson - Australind

This International Women's Day (8 March), Karmen Sampson is a long way from where she grew up in Australind, Westerm Australia.

Now a Captain in the Australian Army, the physiotherapist is deployed to Iraq with Task Group Taji 4 - a combined force of around 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence personnel.

As a physiotherapist, Karmen works at the military hospital run by Australian and New Zealand medical personnel at the Taji Military Complex, north of Baghdad.

"I knew I wanted to be an Army Physiotherapist as a teenager, when I was studying at Australind Senior High School," she said.

"In our medical team alone, the cross levelling of skills between our hospital staff has been really rewarding.

"There's also the daily banter of Aussie versus Kiwi humour, which is great for our morale."

Task Group Taji's mission is to train the Iraqi Security Forces in order to help them defeat Daesh.

The hospital provides health support to the men and women of Task Group Taji, who train the Iraqis.

"As the physiotherapist, I am not directly involved in the training but I help to keep our men and women fighting fit so they can go out and do their jobs," she said.

"Every day I hear a story about a local Iraqi soldier who has benefited from our training.

"It's a reminder of how good we have it in Australia and why our contribution to the international effort against global terrorism is so important."

When Karmen is not in the physio department she is usually working on her fitness to return to the netball court at home.

This International Women's Day, she'll will be running her bi-weekly 'Combat Recovery Class' that she's designed especially for soldiers on deployment.

"The aim of the class is to reduce the risks of soft tissue injuries to our soldiers," she said.

"It's inspired by yoga and so far the results have been positive."

Karmen will return to Darwin following her deployment, where she is posted to 1st Close Health Battalion.

"Darwin is still a long way from Western Australia where my family support is, but I'm used to being away from home," she said.

"I've been posted all around Australia and worked overseas with the Army for a few years now.

"My strong, supportive network of family and friends are always just a phone call away".

Karmen is deployed on Operation OKRA, as part of Task Group Taji 4 - a combined force of Australian and New Zealand Military personnel training Iraqi Security Forces to defeat Daesh and maintain security in Iraq. Karmen will return home in June.

Australia's Defence contribution to Iraq is named Operation OKRA, and includes a Special Operations Task Group, an Air Task Group and Task Group Taji.