Sergeant Brendon Munday hasn’t seen his family in over seven months, missing birthdays, Mother’s Day and Anzac Day.
He is deployed as part of the Air Task Group 630 on Operation Accordion, embedded with the United States Air Force in the Middle East.
However, this Father’s Day will be the last event he will miss before heading back home to his wife and two children.
“My boy, Bodhi, turned five while I’ve been over here and my daughter, Chloe, just turned three before I left,” Sergeant Munday said.
“Seven months is a fairly large chunk of their life, so it will be good for them to know I'm coming home soon.
My wife Emma is doing an amazing job looking after the kids – I'm really proud of her.
“I’m probably most grateful when I think about her, especially on days like Father’s Day.”
While on deployment, Sergeant Munday lost 12 kilos and gained a Silver Commendation.
“For this deployment, I’m employed as an air surveillance officer within the 727 Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, known as Kingpin,” he said.
“We manage a multitude of systems including radars, radios and data links to ensure the integrity of the air picture and C2 mission in support of the fight against Daesh.
A highlight for me has been the camaraderie and mateship, working with them all – it’s been great.
“Our duties require seamless integration with coalition partners to achieve our mission.
"Our pre-deployment training in Australia and enduring embed within Kingpin make this easy to achieve.
“At Kingpin we are fortunate to be able to serve alongside the US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Danish Air Force.
“A highlight for me has been the camaraderie and mateship – working with them all – it’s been great.”
Sergeant Munday said he had not expected to receive any awards when he first arrived.
“I am truly humbled, proud and lost for words for my appreciation for the award," he said.
"It's amazing what can be achieved with supportive leadership and a strong team by my side.
"It's been an honour to serve my country and be able to provide a positive impact to the team here.”
Sergeant Munday said he wanted to make the most of his deployment.
“That’s part of the reason I worked so hard to look after my fitness and ended up losing 12 kilos. It’s also the reason I joined the US ‘First Sergeants’ Council’,” he said.
“I was the first Australian senior non-commissioned officer to become part of the council in a number of years. We are looking after people’s welfare which includes delivering meals and helping lift morale and ensure the wellbeing ofthe people stuck in quarantine.
“It was a good feeling being able to help out.”