It’s easier to understand a person’s perspective when you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Sergeant Phillip Condoleon, a psychological examiner deployed to the Middle East, has worn a few pairs in his 25-year career in Defence. 

With his wealth of experience, Sergeant Condoleon understands the different stresses a deployment can bring. 

He said providing psychological services for all Middle East region elements was rewarding. 

“I enjoy engaging with a variety of people and being able to help in many ways, ranging from mental health support, through to education and performance enhancement,” Sergeant Condoleon said. 

“The best part of my job is not only helping people, but getting about and talking to people, spreading awareness and reducing the stigma in speaking to a psychologist. You don’t need to have a problem to see a psychologist, you can engage with psychologist for a range of reasons, including self-improvement.

“That being said, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every role I have performed in Army.”

Sergeant Condoleon’s diverse career has shaped the kind of care he provides for deployed personnel. 

“I started my Army career as an Army reserve infantry soldier serving with 42nd Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment and the 9th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, from 1994 to 1999,” he said. 

“I then transferred to the Australian regular Army and served with 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, from 1999 to 2002. 

“In 2003 I transferred to the Intelligence Corps as a linguist intelligence special duties, spending that year at the ADF School of Languages learning Indonesian. 

“From 2004 to 2007 I served as a linguist and in 2008 I transferred to psychology corps as an examiner psychological, where I remain today.”

Sergeant Condoleon said there were plenty of ways in which he tries to raise morale.

“When I have a low-tempo day, I like to head down to the health centre kitchen and cook up a nice batch of Russian caramel,” he said. 

“This tasty delight contains all of the good morale-raising elements you could wish for – sugar, golden syrup, butter and condensed milk. 

“The best part is taking the finished product around Camp Baird and sharing it with everyone.”