• Deploying to the MEAO - Day 16

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 16 - Staying connected No modern soldier goes to war without a laptop. This was an observation that Sally Sara, the ABC's former foreign correspondent in Afghanistanmade. Sara reported that when some troops who were stationed at a remote patrol base and hadn't been able to have a shower for three months were offered the choice of having showers orinternet access installed, they chose internet. When you're sent on a 6-12 month …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 17

    Wednesday 26 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    relaxing in front of a footy match at AMAB

    Day 17 - Battle rhythmn Back in Australia,you'll hear the phrase: "work/life balance". Balancing the needs of children or significant others with the demands of a job whilerunning ahousehold can be a complex and sometimes stressfuljuggling act. Things get out of balance easily. On deployment, I've come to the conclusion thatthe equation is not "work/life" but "work= life". People work weekends. Thecycle of aweek is created by the Friday …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 15

    Monday 24 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Learning to fire a pistol at the practice range with Captain Stuart, photo by G1

    Day 15 - Hurry up and wait Like parents who get their children's names muddled up, the three blokes I am travelling with often get each other's names confused. So now they are called G1, G2 and G3, and collectively, the G-force. I am known as 'Dead eye dick", because I shot 13 out of 13 rounds on target with the pistol.However, the enemy would probaby be on top of me before I managed to line up the shot and pull the trigger. As someone …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 14

    Monday 24 March 2014 by Alison Wishart. 2 comments

    There is heaps of fresh fruit and salad at every meal

    Day 14 - "an army marches on its stomach" Napoleon Bonepartewas spot on when he (is credited to have) said:"an army marches on its stomach", I haven't noticed a lot of marching going on around the base, but there's certainly a lot of eating! The food at the Aussie mess in Tarin Kotis excellent. There is fresh fruit and saladsat every meal - I tasted okra for the first time and pounced on the mangosteens(an exotic fruit even in Asia where…

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 13

    Monday 24 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    View from the balcony of my dormitory of TK township and the green zone

    Day 13: colours of the battle zone The rain has cleared leaving the sky clear of dust.This providedsome spectacular views to the distant mountains beyond the Tarin Kot base. View from the balcony of my dormitory to the green zone and the mountains Just outside the base is the township of Tarin Kot and the"green zone". This is the fertile land in the river valleys where crops grow through the summer.It sounds peaceful, but it isn't. …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 8

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Day 8 - Brown bears, angry birds and plane pulls Culture is a curious thing. We create it, shape it and mould it to suit ourselves andour circumstances. The military has its own culture, which is characterised by conformity.Everyone looks the same (women have to wear their hair in a bun, men must be clean shaven, no jewellry is permitted), dresses in the same uniformand speaks the same lingo of abbreviations and acronymns strung together…

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 9

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    big boys (and girls) gym AMAB

    Day 9 - Beefcake The military is full of gym junkies. PT (personal training) is an integral part of their daily routine. Not having to buy groceries, cook food, wash dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn, or do the laundry or any other domestic duties means you have plenty of spare time. And the commute to the gym is a three minute walk at most. I used to scoff at the blokes' desire to be buff until I tried to get up off the ground …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 10

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    razor wire, shipping containers dusty roads

    Day 10 - Army aesthetics When I arrived at Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB), I felt like I’d landed on the moon. But Multinational Base Tarin Kowt, located in southern Afghanistan, is even more desolate and stark. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarinkot There are no soft surfaces here. The base consists of shipping containers stacked beside razor wire, metal girders and steel staircases. Accommodation is in double storey reinforced …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 11

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    LCpl Tamara Jesenkovic wearing her full combat protection - photo by G1

    Day 11 - compartmentalising The food is so good and plentiful at the Aussie mess, that we've divided our stomachs into compartments: we switch over to the "dessert stomach" when the main stomach is full. The CO (Commanding Officer)of 7RAR (Royal Australian Regiment), the main army unit deployed in Uruzgan at present, also uses compartments but in a much more serious way. The CO is responsible for about 460 people from 7RAR who are …

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  • Deploying to the MEAO - Day 12

    Friday 21 March 2014 by Alison Wishart.

    Poster advertising Saturday night salsa

    Day 12 - Mud and dust and salsa It rained in Tarin Kot for 36 hours straight and all the dust turned to pale brown mud. G1 wanted to go sliding in it - there's something about the rules and regimentation of an army base that just makes you want to muck up. All I wanted was a hot bubble bath to warm myself up. There was no chance ofthis, so I went to the gym instead. I did my workout in a war zone. The soundtrack of helicopters (helos) …

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