Over his 29-year career, Warrant Officer Class One Mick Carroll from Wauchope, NSW, has accumulated a wealth of experience.
He joined the RAN in 1992, then later transferred to the Army and never looked back.
Warrant Officer Carroll served in the Western Pacific, North America and South-East Asia while in the Navy, and Northern Australia, US, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and East Timor three times with the Army.
Even after 29 years and a deployment history few can match, Warrant Officer Carroll’s enthusiasm for guiding the troops of 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australia Regiment, where he is the regimental sergeant major (RSM), is as strong as ever.
“My advice to soldiers is always give everything a red-hot go,” Warrant Officer Carroll said.
“I never thought that I would be a paratrooper, an acting platoon commander, teach English to young Timorese kids, command reconnaissance patrols, a company sergeant major in Afghanistan, host US Generals at the Australian Embassy, conduct Anzac Day services in Baghdad, or stand in front of an Infantry battalion as the RSM.
“You always have to back yourself because if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit nothing every time.”
Warrant Officer Carroll said his aspirations evolved over time and shifted focus by incorporating others into his goals, including his wife, children, other soldiers and officers.
“Sometimes people just need a small nudge in the right direction before they start to achieve big things,” he said.
“Being the senior soldier of a battalion is quite special to me.
“The things I disliked as a digger I no longer do as an RSM, so I try to get as close to the diggers as possible to see the issues they face through their eyes.”
He said he greatly appreciated the broad experiences the organisation had given him.
“I have had the good fortune to see other cultures, religions, coupled with professional and personal challenges,” he said.
“It’s allowed me to appreciate my own world views and appreciate our differences while remaining true to my own beliefs.”
Throughout his time, Warrant Officer Carroll said he saw the organisation evolve in the way it operated and was optimistic about the future.
“Combat has become more complex, but soldiers still have to seek out the enemy and close with them,” he said.
“There are skills that aided us in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Kokoda, Tobruk, Amiens and Gallipoli which have not changed.
“Today we are more enabled to take advantage of the enemy, so while current operators fulfil the same tasks, they are much smarter than I ever was and that makes us better overall.”
Looking to the future, Warrant Officer Carroll said he wanted to enjoy being the RSM at 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australia Regiment, and eventually move into an instructional role at the Warrant Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
“I would really enjoy a posting as an instructor for young soldiers,” he said.
“The most important rank I have ever held was lance corporal, alongside mates like Paul Dehnert and Adam West who are also RSMs today.
“I had great instructors who taught me back then and I sincerely hope to be the same.”