Wagga Wagga’s Peter Skinner is used to keeping Defence personnel safe.

As a security officer at Kapooka, he keeps a close eye on all vehicles and people moving in and out of the base.

However, that responsibility has taken on a whole new meaning this year on the other side of the world.

Private Skinner, a Reserve rifleman with 1st/19th Battlion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, is currently deployed in Iraq as a member of Task Group Taji 9’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF).

“The QRF has a range of tasks. We need to respond to base threats such as indirect fire, unmanned aerial systems, insider threats, unexploded ordnance and casualty situations,” Private Skinner said.

“We are also tasked to provide force protection to members of the task group headquarters when they move around the Taji Military Complex.

“The QRF role is unique as we train for a wide range of scenarios. We have to always be ready to respond at short notice and so it can be a very rewarding and challenging role.”

“As a reservist, I feel really grateful to have the opportunity to deploy to the Middle East and represent my home unit."

This is Private Skinner’s first overseas deployment since joining the Army Reserve in 2014 after having served on various tasks and exercises across the country, most notably on flood relief efforts in the rural New South Wales towns of Forbes and Condobolin in 2016.

“As a reservist, I feel really grateful to have the opportunity to deploy to the Middle East and represent my home unit,” he said.

“My reserve service enables me to serve while still maintaining the time needed to complete my degree in International Relations and Counter Terrorism.

“No other role would give me the opportunity to deploy to a country and up-skill in real life conditions and on my return provide me the flexibility to study at the same time.”

Despite soaking up all of the varied experiences that come with the excitement of a first overseas tour, Private Skinner is looking forward to getting home at the end of the year.

“The things I miss most about home are pretty simple. My partner, my friends and family in Wagga, and the guys from my unit. We are a pretty close bunch,” he said.