UN Mission is dream job for Rob
30 July 2014
SQUADRON Leader (SQNLDR) Robert Saunders says travelling around Afghanistan with the United Nations was very different to most ADF deployments in the Middle East Region, and he would recommend the experience to others.
The Aeronautical Engineer from Air Force’s Capability Development Group has returned home to Australia after seven months deployed with Operation PALATE II as the staff officer to Brigadier Bill Date, the Senior Military Adviser to UNAMA and Officer-In-Charge of the Military Advisory Unit.
He said the experience of engaging on a personal level with Afghans and living within the United Nations Office of Compliance Afghanistan (UNOCA) compound was something he would never forget.
“This has to be one of the best jobs for personnel deployed to Afghanistan simply because of the fascinating work that we do and the significant local engagement we get with the general public,” he said.
“Unlike people deployed to Operation SLIPPER, United Nations personnel aren’t confined to the bases such as in Kandahar and Kabul.
He said the role also allowed him to see exactly how the work of Coalition and UN projects was positively affecting the people of Afghanistan.
“On a personal level, I learned a lot, saw a lot and got to see a substantial portion of Afghanistan as a result of assisting Brigadier Date and travelled on a range of Coalition aircraft.
“On the professional side, I was able to meet and be exposed to the work of 3 and 4-Star Generals of a lot of foreign countries which is something I would not get the chance to do back home.
“It was also a great experience to work alongside personnel from the Czech Republic, Romania, Portugal, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.”
“I would have no hesitation throwing my hand up for a UN job again.”
UNAMA is a political mission established in 2002 by the UN Security Council at the request of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to assist it and its people lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development in the country.
In March 2014 the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2145 (2014), renewing UNAMA’s mandate and set out the scope and range of activities it must undertake as Afghanistan continues its political and security transition.
Two Australian Defence Force Officers are still serving within the UNAMA Military Adviser Unit.