A conversation with his brother-in-law led Corporal Barney Lelo to quit his civilian career as a trade assistant and welder and enlist in the Army in 2012.

The 26 year old, who was born in Cairns and grew up in Aspley, North Brisbane, is deployed with Force Support Element 13 supporting operations in the Middle East, including Accordion, Highroad and Okra.

Corporal Lelo said he loved his job, especially being in the Middle East. 

“It’s extremely satisfying knowing that every decision I make and the hard work my section is putting in is positively impacting operations across the region,” Corporal Lelo said. 

“I feel I have conducted years of training for this moment and I have always strived to deploy and represent my nation.

“Having achieved that goal is a massive personal success for my family and I.”

Corporal Lelo said he was relishing his role as a non-commissioned officer/transport supervisor.

“I govern the requirements and regulations for transportation, ensuring that all personnel are operating vehicles in accordance with directives, local laws and, of course, COVID-19 restrictions,” he said. 

Knowing what we do is helping to sustain our people is really satisfying.

He also manages transport support for daily service flights in the region and to and from Australia for personnel and cargo.

Corporal Lelo said he was proud of the positive influence his section has made. 

“For a small footprint we are making a large impact on operations,” he said.

“The transport section is a pivotal part of the success of logistics in wider operations across the Middle East.

“Knowing what we do is helping to sustain our people is really satisfying.”

Despite the wonders and thrill of the job, Corporal Lelo said his partner Tiffany and his children were never far from his mind.

“The opportunity to be deployed with an extremely competent and hilarious team makes time away from family a little easier, particularly over Christmas,” he said. 

“Still, I look forward to finally getting home and spending as much time as possible with my family and do some travelling together - within COVID-19 restrictions of course.”