Glen Innes man Jack Miller is excited to be returning home to his family and friends after six months serving with the Australian Defence Force in Iraq.
Private Miller, 19, is the youngest member deployed to Operation Okra with Task Group Taji Four, a combined force of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel training Iraqi Security Forces for their fight against Daesh.
As part of his task group’s mission, Private Miller has been responsible for protecting the men and women of the Anzac force as they deliver their training to Iraqi Security Forces at the Taji Military Complex, near Baghdad.
“I work in close quarter and force protection, and I’m the designated marksman for my section,” he said.
“I have provided protection to the training teams out on the range, as well as being an escort to the Commander and Regimental Sergeant Major, and I am a member of the Quick Response Force.”
Private Miller’s deployment to Iraq has been his first operational tour, serving alongside the friends he has made during his two-year posting to the 5th Royal Australian Regiment in Darwin.
“The mates you meet as you progress through your career is one of the best things about being in the Australian Defence Force,” he said.
“Being on deployment is an opportunity to test everything I’ve learnt in training, in real time, on a real mission.
“It’s a great experience, and I get to develop my skills early in my career.
“From here, I’m aiming to just keep fit and stay above the standard.”
Growing up on his parents’ cattle property in Glen Innes, Private Miller attended Glen Innes High School and played rugby league with the Glen Innes Magpies before joining the military on his 17th birthday.
“I joined as soon as I could - I was young and keen, and wanted to start my own life story,” he said.
I joined as soon as I could - I was young and keen.Private Jack Miller
“My older brother is in the army as a Fitter Armourer, so he partly inspired me to join but I didn’t want to do the same job - I wanted to be in the infantry.”
Private Miller is looking forward to being reunited with his family and friends in Glen Innes very soon.
“I’m returning to the property to help my parents for a bit and then I’m going to Yamba with a couple of mates to chill out at the beach,” he said.
“I miss the footy boys and they’re willing to have me back to play for a few weeks while I’m on leave. I can’t wait.”
Private Miller and about 300 Australian and 100 New Zealander colleagues will be return home in mid-2017.