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Andrew Cooper - Townsville

Townsville Army Craftsman Andrew Cooper joined the military for his love of sport and is now in the Gold Coast supporting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The 25-year old deployed to Brisbane with a squadron of Multi Role Helicopter (MRH90) aircraft with the 5th Aviation Regiment (5 AVN) to assist with security.

Craftsman Cooper said growing up, he never expected he would find himself supporting one of the largest sporting events with the Australian Army.

"I grew up in a garrison town, surrounded by military mates but didn't think I would join myself, let alone find myself flying over the Gold Coast in a MRH90," Craftsman Cooper said.

After graduating from Townsville Grammar in 2009, Craftsman Cooper became a Locksmith and spent the next five years working as a sole operator.

"I found myself wanting more and decided to look for another trade, which would better suit my personality," he said.

"I love sport - playing AFL or Basketball you are surrounded by friends and I think that's what drew me to the Army, it's like a big football team."

With his sister also posted to Townsville as a medic, Craftsman Cooper had a good understanding of the lifestyle offered by a career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and so decided to join.

"I like that the Army gives the you opportunity to deploy to events like this, to do extra-curricular activities and jobs that challenge you - every day is a school day."

Twelve months at the Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training in Forrest Hill followed by nine months of trade training in Oakey, taught Craftsman Cooper about flight theory and military aircraft.

As an Aircraft Technician Craftsman Cooper works on the MRH90 behind the scenes checking for faults, conducting tests, maintenance and repairs.

After completing his trade training he returned to Townsville where he spent the next few months conducting deep maintenance.

Providing support to the Commonwealth Games is his first experience of a major Army activity.

"It's been hectic but it's been good and it's great that we can provide the MRH90 capability to support the Government for the Games."

There are more than 1000 ADF personnel deployed to Brisbane supporting the 2018 Commonwealth Games in various logistical, operational, support and transport roles.