Major David Harty will miss Christmas at his Sunshine Coast home this year as he is helping with the birth of a peaceful nation.

Deployed with the Australian contingent on Operation Aslan supporting the United Nations Mission in South Sudan or UNMISS, Major Harty is operating alongside other international peacekeepers to help the war-ravaged nation find a peaceful future.

“I have only been here a short time but I am already enjoying the challenge of working with other nations and learning their diverse cultures and backgrounds,” Major Harty said.

“The UNMISS mission to help stabilise South Sudan is a worthwhile cause and I believe this is a unique chance for me to apply all the lessons and skills I’ve developed in my career.

“The opportunity to represent Australia and the chance to work with, and learn from, international partners and build close friendships has been an excellent experience.” 

The UNMISS mission to help stabilise South Sudan is a worthwhile cause.

Major Harty works in the UN force headquarters in Juba and is in charge of planning for upcoming force missions and contingency events.

His tasks include managing sites where civilians are protected, the return of internally displaced persons, the protection of mobile civil courts, and force protection of local and regional forces. 

Major Harty also contributes to future operational plans, including future tasks, troop rotations and equipment improvements.

“The work is very dynamic and it’s been quite busy since I arrived,” Major Harty said.

“As expected, COVID-19 has provided significant challenges, but I’m enjoying learning and working under an entirely new command and administrative system.”

Major Harty said the deployment had been a rewarding and fascinating experience.

“Being with the South Sudan mission has offered a great opportunity to understand how the United Nations, as a collection of nations, can work together for the shared purpose and the betterment of a developing nation,” he said.

“Plus, being part of the mission has allowed me to introduce Australian words and culture to my international partners – unfortunately, I still need more practice with the didgeridoo.”

Without family close by this festive season, Major Harty will be enjoying the company of his fellow Australians and foreign friends.

Despite this, home will be on his mind.

“I’m definitely looking forward to holding my wife, who is carrying our first child,” he said.

“I look forward to feeling my baby kick and the opportunity to see images of our future family member first hand.

“I also miss my two dogs tremendously, and look forward to the mayhem they create when they see me after such a long time away.”