The Sunshine Coast's Cheryl Liquorish will be spending a long time away from home this year after deploying with the Australian Army to Iraq.
As Lieutenant Liquorish, the Army Reserve Nursing Officer is a member of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps and is based at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.
She lives at Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast and ordinarily works as an Operating Theatre Nurse at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital.
On deployment, she is serving in Iraq with Task Group Taji 5, a combined force of more than 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to Iraq to help train Iraqi security forces as they battle Daesh terrorist insurgents.
She said she is relishing the opportunity to join a highly-trained team of Australian and New Zealand military medical staff at the Taji military hospital north-west of Baghdad.
"As a theatre nurse, I am at the ready to assist in the operating theatre for any immediate or lifesaving surgery, should the need arise," she said.
"The Australian and New Zealand medical staff are extremely focused, well trained and prepared for any medical emergency.
"We know we can depend on each other and the troops know they can depend on us."
While working in a hospital is familiar territory for her, she admits the climate and harsh conditions of Iraq are very different to Australia.
"The heat and dust take some getting use to, but we have been made very welcome by the Iraqi people, who have made a big difference," she said.
"When you get a chance to talk to the locals, you know straight away that what we are doing is worthwhile."
While Cheryl's deployment has just begun, she takes solace in the support given to her by her family.
There are also the comforting thoughts of returning home to long walks along the beach with her husband Bill and adult daughters Rachael and Stephanie and her dog Mike.