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Jamie McRae - Gunnedah

With a father for a teacher it’s easy to see how Jamie McRae, an Army Lieutenant Colonel, found himself in Afghanistan mentoring Afghans at the Kabul General Garrison Command (KGC).

KGC plans and coordinates all security operations across Kabul province, surrounding the Afghan capital.

As the KGC Chief of Staff advisor and mentor, Jamie has a train, advise and assist role where he guides and supports Afghan and Australian personnel.

He said he is enjoying his time in Afghanistan.

“It has been 10 years since I last deployed, this is my first deployment to Afghanistan and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

“In terms of the scenery and the people, I have been pleasantly surprised.”

Tea with an Afghan Army general starts his day, as they discuss how plans in the headquarters are progressing.

“I heard about the hospitality of the Afghans but they have truly taken it to the next level,” he said.

“I think I’ve shaken hands more in a few weeks here than I have in years at home.”

“They’re so polite, they are so eager to make sure we’re well hosted it’s just above and beyond what I expected.”

Jamie grew up in Gunnedah, New South Wales, where his father, Barry McRae, still teaches a few days a week at Gunnedah High.

His mother, Helen, was excited but a little nervous when she found out he was deploying to Afghanistan.

“They understand this is something I have always wanted to do,” he said.

“Whether it is deploying or training, I’m always doing something and they know I love it.”

Although he no longer lives in his home town he is able to keep up with cricket and school mates through social media.

With a young family of his own it has been a great way for him to see what everyone’s kids are doing and finding out who is going to be home for Christmas.

When back in Gunnedah he catches up with family members and mates - after 23 years in the Army they are used to him being away.