For 24-year-old Private Osama Ahmed, Anzac Day has become a sacred tradition he would normally commemorate with his family.
Currently deployed to Vanuatu to upgrade the communication network across the archipelago, this year a Face Time call will be as close as the Pakistan-born soldier will get to his parents in Adelaide.
He is one of 23 ADF members deployed to support phase 2 of the Government of Vanuatu’s national emergency radio network.
Trained as a battlespace communication specialist, Private Ahmed is the only radio operator working on the project as part of the remote installation team.
“This project is definitely the most exciting thing I’ve done in my Army career,” Private Ahmed said.
“It is providing me with the opportunity to put my training into action and also learn skills outside my trade.
“Usually I would only be working with the radio, but with such a small team, I’ve been helping install solar panels and radio masts.”
Since enlisting in the Army in 2018 after studying a Bachelor of Justice and Society at Flinders University, Anzac Day has taken on a greater meaning for him and his family.
“Moving from Nusratabad, Pakistan, in 2000 with my parents for a better life, I was always interested in joining the Army,” Private Ahmed said.
“Anzac Day means a lot to my family.
“I wasn’t able to be with my parents last year due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions so I was really hoping to get home to attend a dawn service this year.”
He said he felt proud of his fellow soldiers working on the Government of Vanuatu's radio network, as basic communication, especially in a time of a natural disaster, was critical.
“This is my first Anzac Day overseas and as much as I would love to spend the day with family and friends, I will be thinking of them and give them a call,” he said.
He said he had already experienced so much in his first posting to the 101st Signal Squadron in Brisbane, and hoped to continue learning and working on projects such as the Government of Vanuatu’s national emergency radio network where his skills are helping people in need.