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Army October 13, 2011
By Capt Simone Heyer
MEMBERS of the Special Operations Task Group
(SOTG) hosted an afternoon of fun for locally
employed staff and their children to help celebrate
the end of Ramadan last month.
In total 34 locally employed staff left their blue uni-
forms at home and came dressed in casual clothing with
137 children in tow for a specially prepared Halal lunch
of Afghan dishes and an afternoon of activities.
Activities included quad bike rides (driven by SOTG
personnel), a water fight and soccer.
The SOTG medical staff also treated children for
Locally employed staff provide a range of services
that help keep Camp Russell running smoothly.
CO SOTG Lt-Col G said the Combat Support
Service Team-organised event was a way of thanking the
locally employed staff for their good work.
"From maintenance to carpentry, cooking and clean-
ing, locally employed staff make the camp a pleasant
place in which to work and live," he said.
"The event also gives us a chance to interact with the
locals socially and meet their children."
Family day a
hit with locals
By Capt Simone Heyer
ONE gains a lot of experience
after 25 years and 13 opera-
tional deployments and one
former British Army engi-
neer is imparting that knowl-
edge to members of the Special
Operations Task Group (SOTG)
Sgt J is part of the EOD team
with Force Element Echo on
SOTG rotation 16.
With 13 deployments to
Ireland, the Falklands, Cyprus,
Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Sgt
J is a valuable asset to the task
After spending 22 years in the
British Army, he transferred to the
Australian Army in 2008 and was
posted to the Incident Response
Regt in Sydney.
Moving across the world with
a wife and three children wasn't
easy, but Sgt J doesn't regret his
"I love it in Australia -- I don't
miss England at all," he said.
He now finds himself at SOTG
in Tarin Kot where, as an engineer
on the EOD team, he performs
one of the most dangerous roles
in theatre -- finding and disarming
"We are just trying to get these
guys to do their job as quickly
as possible, whether that means
diverting around things or dispos-
ing of things, it's all about getting
these guys where they want to go
as quickly as possible," Sgt J said.
"Sometimes that means we are
behind the lead scout and look-
ing for ground signs of where
things are and sometimes we are
out front sweeping the area with
our mine detectors, with the lead
scout behind us.
"Every time we take off
in a helicopter we step into the
unknown. I've done it lots of
times and even though I don't like
jumping on helicopters, you still
feel that challenge within yourself
and anticipation of what's ahead."
Sgt J's experience is even
more valuable, given the fact
that most of his team mates
are on their first deployment to
"We've got some good guys,"
"It's their first trip overseas
for many of them, but they are all
good at what they do. Overall I'm
really happy with the guys and
their level of professionalism and
their abilities. We couldn't ask for
On the job: Experienced SOTG EOD reconnaissance soldier Sgt J scans the ground with a mine
detector in Afghanistan.
Photo by LAC Leigh Cameron
Day of fun: CO SOTG Lt-Col G greets the local
staff and their children during a celebration lunch at
Camp Russell in Tarin Kot. Photo by Capt Simone Heyer
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