Kendall Jennings, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper
In April 1996, I joined the Australian Army Reserve, 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment Charlie Company Headquarters Swan Hill. I served for four years, three as an administration clerk and one year as a driver. I had the chance to travel around Australia and play soccer for the Australian Army.
When I went to transfer to Regular Army with my friends, unfortunately, I was made non-deployable and forced to be medically discharged. The people I served with over the years are life friends. One person I am incredibly proud of is Tamie Andrew. She enlisted into the Australian Army Reserve in 1997, as a combat storeman. In 2006, she transferred to the Australian Regular Army as a cargo specialist.
Her postings have been to 8th/7th Royal Victorian Regiment in Shepparton and Ballarat, 10th Force Support Battalion in Townsville twice, Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Kanimbla and HMAS Tobruk, both in Sydney and 17 Combat Support Service (CSS) Brigade Headquarters in Randwick. She deployed on Operation Gold (Sydney Olympic Games) in 2000, Operation Acolyte (Melbourne Commonwealth Games) in 2006 and Operation Solania, New Caledonia in 2012.
Throughout her career in the Army, she had a multitude of different roles from operating large rough terrain forklifts, driving heavy truck variants, operating cranes on land and at sea, and loading and unloading equipment on rail carriages, road transport and naval ships.
In 2019 after a 22-year career, Tamie discharged from the Army and moved to Melbourne with her family. Every time we speak, it feels like we only saw each other yesterday even though it has been years. When you join the services, you never know where you will be posted and who you will meet. My injuries cause many issues; however, I would never change my choice to join the Australian Army Reserves. I would only change the training exercise that caused my injuries. This Anzac Day, take a moment to think of people who served in modern conflict (Iraq, Cambodia, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Bougainville, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Afghanistan) and service people who sacrificed for the freedoms we have today in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 22 April 2021.