Peacekeeping an opportunity to serve with pride

A strong family connection to service was the driving factor for Corporal Vanessa Bunker’s military career.

CAPTION: Royal Australian Air Force Corporal Vanessa Bunker in Egypt.

She is deployed as a peacekeeper with the Multinational Force Observers (MFO) in the Sinai under Operation Mazurka.

“I have a number of family members connected to Australia’s military forces, with my grandfathers serving in the Army and Navy during World War II and an uncle who served as an officer in the Navy for 20 years,” Corporal Bunker said.

“One of my cousins also serves in the Army, so it was an easy decision to choose a Defence career.”

Originally from Tahmoor, NSW, Corporal Bunker works as a personnel clerk with four others.

“Among our responsibilities are personnel statistics for all deployed 1700 members in the MFO, through to Arab Republic of Egypt residential cards, base identity passes and medals and awards,” she said.

“We also compile all reported incidents for the south and north camps.”

Corporal Bunker said the familiarity of the role was an advantage.

“The job itself is very similar to what I do back home as it is an admin-based role with a few extra new things that I have not done before,” she said.

“The biggest difference is working with military and civilian members from so many different countries.”

This is her second operational deployment overseas and Corporal Bunker said the experience with the MFO had been beyond her expectations.

“I really enjoyed my first deployment to the Middle East in 2015 as it was my first time travelling out of Australia,” she said.

“Serving with the MFO is an experience not many people get the chance to do, so to find myself here is amazing – even with the threat of COVID-19.”

Posted to No. 17 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force base Tindal in the Northern Territory, Corporal Bunker said not being home with her partner John and her fur-kids was hard.

“I do miss them a lot, but considering the sacrifices made by my grandfathers and their own uncertainties about coming home, knowing I will be seeing them again gives me something to focus on,” she said.

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