Private builds skills on force

Private Matthew Sun is looking forward to returning home for a visit in Toowoomba after serving in Afghanistan.
Private Matthew Sun is looking forward to returning home for a visit in Toowoomba after serving in Afghanistan. Callum Bentley

HAVING served in Afghanistan for more than five months, Toowoomba's Private Matthew Sun has learnt a lot, and is proud to serve his country.

In just a few weeks Private Sun will return home and visit his parents Peter, Dianne and his three sisters Danielle, Nicole and Natalie in Toowoomba.

But until his tour is over, the 20-year-old is enjoying a unique experience.

Private Sun is working at Patrol Base Zafar in Uruzgan Province, where he is a rifleman in a section that mentors the Afghan National Army.

"I go out on patrols with the ANA, mentoring them and giving them guidance on things like enemy firing positions and awareness on the ground for possible improvised explosive device locations and caches," he said.

"The base is the size of a small caravan park and has all the facilities you need to get by.

"There are high mountains everywhere you look, and down in the valley there is green vegetation and then you look out into the dasht (desert) with no vegetation at all just dirt, rocks and plenty of donkeys.

"It's a pretty nice area. When we first got here the green wasn't so green, it had a little less vegetation and was bit more open, over the last few weeks we have seen an increase in the vegetation.

"The locals are really nice and the kids are cool, it's a different world."

Private Sun is part of Mentoring Task Force - Four, led by 8/9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment from Brisbane.

Private Sun joined the army in 2010 for adventure and, he said, to build on his life skills.

"An office job is not for me. I haven't looked back," he said.

"I am proud to serve here. It is the pinnacle of my career, to represent my country."

"Afghanistan has been a good thing for me. It's made me be more culturally aware. We learn every day about their culture and it's allowed me to learn about different languages."

Even though Private Sun is living at a remote patrol base he still gets the opportunity to contact family.

"The telephones are available all the time, so I usually give mum and dad a call every few days to let them know I'm safe and well," he said. "I have a supportive family and they want me to be happy."

Topics:  defence force

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