Taji Military Complex, 20 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraq, is the last place you’d expect to run into someone you know from your home town.

However, that’s exactly what Cairns locals Lieutenant Colonel Mark Little and Lieutenant David Benson did while serving with Second Health Support Company as part of Task Group Taji 8.

Reservist health officers Lieutenant Colonel Little and Lieutenant Benson were both deployed to the Taji Medical Treatment Facility, which looks after the health of 3800 coalition troops at the Taji Military Complex.

It was the first deployment for pharmacist Lieutenant Benson, who joined the Army Reserve in 2010.

“Working with Lieutenant Colonel Little in Iraq was fantastic as we work together at Cairns Hospital and are both at the same Army Health Support Company in Australia,” he said.

“This background ensured we were able to treat patients and provide medical care quickly and efficiently.”

Lieutenant Colonel Little was deployed as the senior medical officer at the facility. 

“We have a great capability and facility there,” he said.

“We have a laboratory, radiology and blood testing, plus the staff that we have, and it’s very much a multinational facility – US, UK, Singapore, Sweden, Canada all working together.”

The opportunity to work with coalition nations was also a highlight for Lieutenant Benson.

“It was great to be working in a health team with other nations,” he said.

“Despite the natural differences in how each nation approached a situation, we all worked extremely effectively together.”