Private Kassie Neville
Soldiering is a definitely a family affair for Copacabana’s Kassie Neville.
Kassie and her twin sister Hayley are both in uniform and older brother Matt recently discharged after serving in Afghanistan in 2010.
All three signed up together in 2008, completed their soldier training together, with the twins later going on to do specific employment training for the Royal Australian Corps of Transport. Both girls were posted to Townsville together, although Kassie has been the first to deploy to Afghanistan.
“But Hayley got promoted first so I guess that makes us even!” said Kassie.
Kassie is currently on a seven-month deployment at the Joint Task Force headquarters, Afghanistan, located in Kabul, the nation’s capital.
In another first, Kassie is the first female driver for a female Commander, Brigadier Simone Wilke, Assistant Commander Joint Task Force 633 – Afghanistan. But the girl-power aspects don’t bother Kassie.
“I’m just here doing my job and I love it,” Kassie said. “This is the deployment that every driver in the Army hopes for.
“It’s been an eye opening experience seeing how the Afghan people live — but I feel proud to be part of trying to build a safer country for these people.”
Growing up in Copacabana, Kassie was an avid sportswoman, playing for the Kincumber Netball Club and also playing at the representative level for Gosford.
Her mum, Kerry Neville, who works at the Woy Woy hospital, is very proud of her daughter and is always on hand for late night phone calls.
“Sometimes I can only call when it’s late at night in Australia, but Mum is always happy to hear from me,” Kassie said.
“With Dad living in China it’s a bit harder to talk but we Skype a lot.”
“I get a lot of parcels and care packages and it’s great to know everyone is thinking of you when you’re away and a bit homesick,” Kassie said.
Kassie is one of some 1550 Australian Defence Force members deployed to Operation Slipper, the Australian Government’s contribution to supporting global and Australian security by supporting efforts to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a safe-haven and training ground for terrorism.