An Operation COVID-19 Assist deployment last September convinced a 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), digger to move from the ADF’s Gap Year program and join the Regular Army.
Private Ashleigh Walsh joined the Army Gap Year program as a warehouse coordinator in February last year.
She said she got interested in the Army after she completed a Bachelor of Design at Western Sydney University and was working full-time in hospitality.
She was looking for a career that allowed her to help people, while offering a physical and mental challenge.
“I also wanted to do something my nieces and nephews could be proud of and be someone they could look up to,” Private Walsh said.
She joined 3RAR last August and has been working in the tech section of the main quartermaster’s store in Admin Coy.
She said her deployment on Operation COVID-19 Assist was the highlight of her short Army career.
“I enjoyed being able to help out and provide general soldiering capabilities when needed and experience a deployment of sorts,” she said.
“The opportunity to go and see places I wouldn’t have thought to go myself is a huge advantage.
“I have absolutely loved starting every day with physical training, and the mateship within Army is something you won’t find elsewhere.”
Private Walsh encouraged young women who had finished school to consider the ADF as an option, especially the Gap Year program.
“Not only do you get a chance to experience general soldiering, but you are surrounded by people who are in the same boat as you,” she said.
“The people you meet and the memories you have from basic training will stay with you, whether you decide to stay on or go to the Army Reserve, and the feeling of completing your training with your mates is unparalleled.
“Being part of Army has taught me resilience, confidence and the commitment to become a better person and I think any person, male or female, can benefit through the training and truly grow from it.
“After all, you grow through what you go through.”