Corporal Linda Garrett
Normally she works with the Nowra East Public School’s support program for children with emotional disturbances, but for the last few months she has been serving her country in the Solomon Islands as an Army Reservist.
In Solomon Islands she is Corporal Garrett, the Company Clerk for the infantry soldiers deployed there as part of Operation ANODE.
Operation ANODE is the name of our military contribution to the regional assistance mission, assisting the Solomon Islands Government in the maintenance of stability, law and justice, economic governance and improving the machinery of government since 2003.
Despite the austere living conditions and tropical heat, she said it has been the best experiences of her military career.
“The highlight for me was actually flying in to Solomon Islands and realising after 14 years of training in the Army Reserve and I was about to do my job for real,” she said.
Her boss back home, Nowra East Public School Principal Michael Honeywood, said that just like her Army Reserve service, her role at the school was very difficult — and very important.
“We have 14 students from our area who apply and are put into that (support) program. We have essentially 14 angry young boys. We can teach them to overcome their behaviour issues. It takes a special kind of person to handle it because there’s a lot of anger, a lot of violence, and a lot of difficult children,” he said
Mr Honeywell was able to visit Corporal Garrett in Solomon Islands recently as part of Exercise BOSS LIFT, which is an Australian Defence Force program that gives employers of reservists the opportunity to experience a taste of life on operations for the Australian Defence Force Personnel they employ.
Once she finishes serving her country in early December, Corporal Garrett is looking forward to going back to serve her community at East Nowra Public School.
“I miss school very much. I’m heading back to school as soon as our welcome home parades are finished.
“I love working with the kids, they are very challenging but you really do get satisfaction. You see tiny milestones happen, you see the kids appreciate or get to do something they wouldn’t normally get to do at home,” she said.