For Gladstone’s own Warrant Officer Class Two Tyrone Cashin, attending an Open Day at Shoalwater Bay as a Cadet was the beginning of a career that has taken him on two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, where he is currently deployed as part of Task Group Taji 6.
“I went to an Armoured Personnel Carrier demonstration at Shoalwater Bay Training Area in 1999 and it was then I knew what I wanted to do,” WO2 Cashin said.
“I wanted adventure, to develop my own personal skills and experience, to see the world, meet new people and do something different.
“So I enlisted in the Australian Army two years later and completed my Initial Employment Training with the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, qualifying as an Armoured Personnel Carrier driver and eventually a crew commander.”
On posting to the then-Darwin based 2nd Cavalry Regiment, WO2 Cashin moved from the heavier armoured vehicles to the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle which saw him complete three deployments between 2006 and 2009, two to Afghanistan and one to Iraq.
Today WO2 Cashin is deployed to Iraq for a second time as the Squadron Sergeant Major of Training Team One as part of Task Group Taji.
“Our squadron is integrated into the Iraqi School of Infantry, Non Commissioned Officer Academy and is responsible for the development of the Iraqi Instructor cadre staff and the delivery of training to the Officer and Junior Non Commissioned Officer Course.
“I assist my Officer Commanding in managing our small team of Australian and New Zealand trainers in our daily interaction with Iraqi Army trainees and instructors,” he said.
“It is a challenging mission however the instructional skills that our trainers get from teaching and advising our Iraqi partners is something that will put them in a strong position for the rest of their careers.”
The benefits for WO2 Cashin far outweigh these challenges though, as he has observed his team learn and grow as well as himself.
“Watching my Australian and New Zealand soldiers develop their instructional techniques through professional and personal development is extremely satisfying,” he added.
“Learning and understanding the Iraqi culture and military effectiveness of the Iraqi Army has been a highlight as well as developing and fostering a great working relationship with fellow instructional staff at the Non Commissioned Officer Academy.”
WO2 Cashin lives in Townsville with his wife Jackie and two sons, Matteo and Tobias but still gets a chance to visit his parents Jocelyn and John Cashin and many friends in his hometown of Gladstone.
“Some of my fondest memories of Gladstone are spending time with my family and friends. It’s a quiet city to bring the family to see their grandparents and enjoy the new attractions of Gladstone, such as the public bike park,” he said.
“I look forward to riding the local mountain bike trails the next time I visit, seeing our kids enjoy spending time with their grandparents and eating Mum’s awesome home cooking.
“It almost goes without saying that upon return to Australia, I’m mostly looking forward to spending quality time with my family, and enjoying a nice cold beer,” he added.
WO2 Cashin will return to his role as Squadron Sergeant Major at the 2nd Cavalry Regiment later this year where he will continue studying for his Bachelor of Organisational Leadership and continue on developing his Army career.
“Of the many career courses I’ve taken through Army, I have one left to complete which is my Regimental Sergeant Major course,” WO2 Cashin said.
“It’s a highly competitive course and prepares you for the role of Regimental Sergeant Major of a unit. This would be the pinnacle of my career if I can achieve this milestone.”
Task Group Taji is deployed as part of Operation OKRA, the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the US-led Global Coalition to combat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria.
This Anzac Day, approximately 1800 Australian Defence Force personnel will be deployed on operations in the Middle East region.