Brisbane’s Beenleigh local and mother of two, Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Kristy Bates, is embracing the experience of leadership and communications on operations in Egypt.

Lieutenant Bates is deployed to the Sinai on Operation Mazurka as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).

“This is not my first deployment, however, it is my first peacekeeping mission so the experiences, while similar to other deployments, have been different day-to-day,” Lieutenant Bates said.

“I am deployed as the Deputy Force Protection Officer. My role is to provide force protection briefings to the Commander, informing his decision-making cycle so as to protect our people and equipment while we continue the mission of the MFO.”

The MFO is a non-UN organisation established in 1981 to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and employ best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms.  

“Australia is one of 13 nations that make up the MFO,” Lieutenant Bates said.

“The best thing about this job is working with the personnel from those nations, learning about their views and how they deal with a problem. It has been an invaluable professional development opportunity.”

Admitting to days of ‘parent guilt’ Lieutenant Bates recognises the sacrifices her family have had to make to enable her to represent Australia on operations.

“On arriving in theatre my family had to evacuate our home due to bushfires,” Lieutenant Bates said.

“Since then COVID-19 has also impacted the family, so at times I really wanted to be home helping raise our son, who is only 15 months old, and being there for my daughter, who is seven.

“My partner, Shane, is incredible. Without his unconditional love and support for my ambitions I would not have been able to contribute to this mission like I have.”

Lieutenant Bates may not have been home to celebrate her son Tommy’s first birthday and his first steps, or her daughter Evie’s seventh birthday, but thanks to modern technology and Shane’s video skills she hasn’t missed anything.

“I am lucky to be deployed as a parent in the Information Age,” Lieutenant Bates said.

“It has been a crazy year for everyone and yet our friends and family still made the effort to check in and support us during this deployment. I would like to especially thank my partner.”