Soldiers nervous before deployment
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 6:08p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
Families gathered at Burnham Military Camp today to farewell our country's final contingent of soldiers to serve in Afghanistan.
One hundred and forty personnel will be deployed there for six months in the 21st rotation for the reconstruction team in Bamiyan province.
Operations officer Chris Buerkeman is leaving his wife and their two children for six months for the mission.
“[I am] excited, but obviously sad to leave the family behind,” says Mr Buerkeman. “There’s obviously feelings there.”
His mate Corporal Luke Tamatea was one of five Kiwi soldiers killed in Bamiyan province last month.
“I suppose [the death] has focused us, and obviously there's been an effect on the New Zealand Defence Force families as a whole. [There’s] definitely a focus for the group to do the job and get back safely,” says Mr Buerkeman.
“It's not easy,” says his wife Karli. “It's just part of their job, but it's going to be tough. There’s nothing I can do about it but just try and stay positive for the kids and keep them to a routine.”
Private Vincent Sandys can't wait to put his years of training to use.
“It has made me more passionate to go over and support the boys who have just lost our brothers who have fallen,” says Mr Sandy.
It's the last rotation to go to Afghanistan, and they're not leaving much behind.
“The intent is to bring home pretty well everything, particularly the major items of equipment such as the LAV (light armoured vehicles) and sensitive and communication equipment we have in theatre,” says Major General Dave Gawn, Commander of Joint Forces New Zealand. “There will be a theatre extraction team of around 16 core personnel suppliers, movers and administrators, who will actually work towards bringing everything out.”
”It's quite clear in our minds what our jobs is,” says Mr Buerkeman. “To pack it up, bring it home safely and complete that work that has been done before us.”
The job so far has taken 10 years and cost 10 lives – and everyone here is keen that figure won't change before they come home in April.
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28/09/2012 11:16:58 p.m.
Dont go guys. You know in your hearts its not right- being used.
And what a risk to take.
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