RACT 43rd birthday celebrated at Camp Baird
9 June 2016
Army Corps birthdays celebrated each year can be quickly forgotten when celebrated in Australia, but when they come around during an overseas deployment, they are more memorable, and a great excuse to eat some good quality cake.
Soldiers and officers from the Royal Australian Corps of Transport (RACT), gathered at Camp Baird in the Middle East region to celebrate the 43rd birthday of their Corps, which occurred on 1 June.
Eighteen soldiers and officers at Camp Baird got into the celebratory spirit by sporting one of three gifts; an RACT baseball cap, a Corps branded ID lanyard or coffee cup, sent to them by the RACT Head of Corps Cell in Australia, Brigadier (Brig) Paul Nothard, and Lieutenant Colonel (Lt-Col) Paul Rogers.
A traditional truckie birthday spread of donuts, chocolate milk and an RACT cake was provided.
Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF) 633, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Tim Innes, and the oldest RACT soldier deployed to Camp Baird, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Graham Horsfall, had the honour of cutting the cake.
Other Task Group Commanders, HQ JTF 633 executive staff, personnel from Force Support Element 4 (FSE 4) and a few British soldiers from the Royal Logistic Corps, attended the event.
Event organiser, Officer Commanding FSE 4 and a member of RACT, Major (Maj) Christine Pope, said it was special for the members of the Corps to celebrate its birthday whilst performing their roles on operations.
"Serving here in the Middle East region, we have soldiers and officers working in five out of the six RACT trades," Maj Pope said.
"We have movement operators, responsible for the inter and intra-theatre movement of all deployed personnel, cargo specialists and air dispatchers who handle all of the cargo at the freight distribution centre.
"The postal operators are kept very busy maintaining morale for all deployed Australians in JTF 633, whilst the driver specialists are responsible for the operation and maintenance of a variety of vehicles."
Two of the celebration attendees were RACT members Private (Pte) Natasha Elford and Lance Corporal (LCpl) Matthew Konig.
Both of them are on their first deployment to the Middle East region, working in their RACT trades, which made celebrating their Corps birthday even more special.
Pte Elford has been in the Army for three years.
"I'm a driver specialist for FSE 4 and I primarily transport Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel around base from when they first arrive at Camp Baird, before they either move into operational areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan," Pte Elford said.
"The highlight of my deployment so far was when I filled the position of driver for the Commander of JTF 633.
"For me, it was an important job to do, especially being on operations; it was a great experience."
LCpl Konig is a cargo specialist or affectionately known as a 'termite,' and has been in the Army since 2010.
This is his first deployment to the Middle East region, having previously deployed on Operation Philippines Assist and Operation Resolute.
"I help conduct airfield clearance of all the cargo from Australia with forklifts and trucks, and then support the forward movement of cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan," LCpl Konig said.
"The best part about my job here is the people I work with, and being able to see all of the items being sent forward to the other ADF personnel who need them.
"It's great to be a member of RACT, as it is a flexible Corps. With all of our qualifications, we can work anywhere in the world, be it on ships, on land in Australia, or deployed overseas."
Both LCpl Konig and Pte Elford said they were lucky to be on operations during RACT's 43rd birthday.
"It's a privilege to be on operations during our Corps birthday, as we are actually doing our usual job overseas." Pte Elford said.
"I'm very proud to be here serving on operations for the birthday, being part of the Corps and also being a part of its history." LCpl Konig said.