For Warrant Officer Class Two Jason Nuske, joining the Australian Army straight after high school was the fulfilment of a childhood ambition and a family legacy.
"Being a soldier is all I've ever wanted to do since I was a kid running around the mangroves of Rowes Bay and Pallaranda playing 'Army Men',' WO2 Nuske said.
"My father was in the Army and my younger brother joined after me.
"I enlisted straight out of Pimlico High School in 1990. I was initially accepted when I was 16, but had to wait until I turned 17 to enlist.
"Recruitment advised me, smartly, to spend the extra month in school to finish my Higher School Certificate," he added.
Though tanks were his first love, WO2 Nuske started his career as a Rifleman with Townsville's 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
I was first allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps where I spent eight years," he said.
"In 1999, I Corps transferred to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps as a Cavalryman, posting to 2nd Cavalry Regiment which was then based in Darwin.
"I'd always wanted to be a soldier. My preference was to drive a tank but that wasn't available so I started in the infantry and transferred to the cavalry later on."
Throughout his 25 year career, WO2 Nuske has completed a number of regimental and instructional appointments around Australia, as well as numerous operational deployments.
"I have been fortunate enough to deploy multiple times in a number of roles, from peace keeping missions in Somalia and East Timor to security operations in Australian territories and training missions in Malaysia.
"I've previously deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. My current deployment with Task Group Taji 6 is my third deployment to Iraq," he added.
WO2 Nuske highlights family as the foundation of any career in the Australian Defence Force, not just the family you are born into but the one you find through military life.
"It's true that Defence is not a job, it is a lifestyle. There may be some sacrifices that are made compared to a regular job, such as long periods of time away from home but your Army family will never leave you stranded.
"As a Warrant Officer, I have done everything from helping soldiers get their drivers licence, to helping them with their wedding, to planning funerals for their loved ones that have passed.
"We are a big family and I often feel like a father or grandfather, more than a Sergeant Major sometimes," he added.
"As Defence members, we get the medals and recognition of our service, however, the truth is, without the support of our loved ones and every day Australians back home, these jobs would not be possible. They deserve our thanks and they have it."
WO2 Nuske is currently deployed as the Operations Warrant Officer with Task Group Taji's Training Task Unit.
"I am responsible for ensuring the Training Squadrons have the required resources to effectively train and mentor the Iraq Security Forces," he said.
"One of the best parts of this role is seeing the improvement in the standard of the Iraqi Security Forces from when they arrive to when they leave."
WO2 Nuske will return to his role as an Operations Warrant Officer with 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Townsville where he lives with his partner, Tania Booker.
"One of my favourite memories of Townsville is swimming in Ross River with my mates during summer before it was full of water lilies," WO2 Nuske said.
"Right now though, I'm most looking forward to spending time with my partner and having a coffee from Juliette's on the Strand."
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.