Townsville's David Whalan is heading home from Afghanistan, marking the end of the eighth military deployment for the Army ammunition technician.
Sergeant Whalan, 35, deployed in February to Operation SLIPPER (later transitioned to Operation ACCORDION) and was located at both Camp Baker in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE with Force Support Unit Nine (FSU-9).
He said the deployment had been a good "book end" to almost a decade of deploying to the region starting with his first deployment to the Middle East with Operation Catalyst in 2005.
"As an ammunition technician I deployed this time to assist with the planning, execution and disposal of all surplus explosive ordnance within Afghanistan as well as relocating a significant amount back to Al Minhad Air Base," he said.
"It was a challenging role but one which I really enjoyed."
SGT Whalan has deployed to Operations WARDEN (1999), RELEX (2002), CATALYST (2005), CATALYST / SLIPPER (2006, 2007), ASTUTE (2008), SLIPPER (2011) and SLIPPER / ACCORDION (2014).
He said he had received extensive training specialising in different areas including explosive ordnance management, explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal.
"My role here is quite diverse as it spans explosive ordnance management, audit and investigation for FSU-9 to the Middle East Region as well as being the lead Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) Instructor for the training here at Al Minhad."
He is looking forward to reuniting with his wife Amanda, friends and watching a North Queensland Cowboys home match when he returns to Townsville.
FSU-9 provided specialists who coordinated supply and distribution, maintenance, pay and administration as well as aeromedical evacuation and training support across the Middle East Region.The unit also provided postal, pharmaceutical, explosive ordnance, freight terminal and warehouse support to the force elements in Afghanistan.