Prospects of mixing fitness with work and world travel was enough to lead Christian Hendry to consider the Air Force as a career.
Corporal Hendry grew up in Bega playing almost every kind of sport as a kid before signing up to the RAAF.
He is currently deployed on Operation OKRA as a member of the Air Task Group, whose role includes supporting Iraqi Security Forces with attack aircraft, an aerial refuelling tanker and a command and control aircraft.
As an Air Force Supplier, Corporal Hendry is responsible for ensuring aircraft parts are available for aircraft technicians to fix the various jet aircraft.
That could be anything from getting it out of storage, to coordinating logistics supplies to ensure the parts arrive from Australia in time for the aircraft to be mission ready.
“The quicker we can get the parts, the more likely the jets will be able to complete their missions,” he said.
“It’s a very rewarding job and we get to see first hand the difference that we are making when we get the job done which is satisfying.
“Knowing that I am contributing to the Iraqi Security Forces retaking their country back from terrorism is a great thing and something I am very proud of.”
Corporal Hendry said working with coalition forces has been a highlight of this deployment and his career.
“Meeting people of different cultures through deployments and sport have been a major highlight of my career,” he said.
“I have seen so many places around Australia and overseas because of the Air Force.
“Defence really is a big family and everyone looks out for one another.
“The care that my wife and children have got while I’ve been deployed has been a blessing.”
In 2013 Corporal Hendry was lucky enough to be selected as part of the ADF soccer team and tour the United Kingdom.
“We were undefeated during our trip,” he said.
“I was able to compete against France, Morocco, England and Denmark during the Friendship Games, it was a great experience.”
After this second deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation OKRA, CPL Hendry is looking forward to spending some time with friends and family back in his home town.
“When I get home from deployment I’m really looking forward to heading back to Bega with my wife and kids,” he said.
“I will take the kids on the Kangarutha track, take them for a surf somewhere between Tathra and Bermagui and take them fishing on the wharf – all the things I loved doing as a kid growing up there.
“And one thing I do every time I go back home is to get an Aussie pizza from Mr Pizza – it’s still my favourite in the world!”
The Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East Region.
The ATG comprises seven RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refuelling aircraft. Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the ‘Kingpin’ US tactical Command and Control Unit.