An Australian Army general surgeon has swapped more than knowledge and experiences with his foreign counterparts during a deployment to Iraq.
Major Daniel Chan is part of a highly specialised triservice team of seven ADF medical professionals caring for US Military and Department of State personnel, Australian and coalition forces, and host nation soldiers in Iraq.
They are deployed on Operation Okra for four months and are working in the Role 3 hospital at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Centre (BDSC).
“This deployment has exposed me to scenarios that are rarely encountered in civilian trauma,” Major Chan said.
“I serve to ensure our deployed Australian and partner forces receive the highest levels of clinical and surgical care, as they would in a civilian setting back home.
“It has been an honour to work alongside our US and coalition partners – to learn from their experiences and share ours, to build the interpersonal relationships that strengthen the bond between our like-minded nations.
“A highlight of this deployment has been exchanging Challenge Coins [military unit commemorative coins] with a NATO partner medical officer following a number of operations on their troops.”
Major Chan is a reservist posted to the 1st Health Support Company in Randwick.
In his civilian employment, he subspecialises in upper gastrointestinal surgery.
Born and raised in Sydney, Major Chan joined the University of New South Wales Regiment in 2010, then commissioned into the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps in 2015.
“My deployment has been well supported by my home unit and my family,” Major Chan said.
“The greatest challenge so far was being away for my eldest daughter’s fifth birthday when she was in lockdown back in Sydney, and missing the many little milestones of my 10-month-old daughter.
“The sacrifices are difficult, but the experience has been worthwhile.”