Dad follows in daughter’s footsteps

Army reservist Lieutenant Madeline Meagher isn’t just representing the nation on operations in the Middle East, she is inspiring family members to follow in her footsteps.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Madeline Meagher at the warehouse facility in the Middle East region. Photo by Sergeant Ben Dempster.

“My dad, Greg, has been encouraged to join through my involvement,” said the soldier from Anna Bay in the Port Stephens area of New South Wales.

“He has been a mechanic all his life and is now practising the same trade in the Army Reserves, enabling him to apply his civilian skillset in a different context.

“Although it can be challenging at times, dad is enjoying it, as the role offers something different to focus on.”

Lieutenant Meagher, 23, is studying environmental engineering and economics at the University of New South Wales.

She joined the Reserves in 2016 and was commissioned as an officer in 2019.

It is a part-time career path that has taken her from her unit, 176th Air Dispatch Squadron based at RAAF Base Richmond, to the heat and sand of the desert as part of the Force Support Element – Rotation 13 on Operation Accordion.

Lieutenant Meagher said she appreciated the career opportunities the Reserves offered.

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to deploy, especially as an Army reservist,” she said.

“This inspires me to constantly learn more about my role and to improve on what I am doing here.”

Lieutenant Meagher is a distribution platoon commander, a role which incorporates several areas including the warehouse, pharmacy, freight distribution centre and mail distribution centre.

“My role is important as the distribution centre and warehouse receives all the cargo that is required for the region,” she said.

She said it was essential to have smooth communication between all the functional elements to ensure mission-critical items, whether it be mail or pharmaceuticals, are delivered to where they need to go.

“It is my responsibility to oversee the functioning of these areas and maintain the welfare and administration of my soldiers,” she said.

The former Hunter Valley Grammar School student said her role was more challenging because of the diverse trades and skillsets of the personnel under her command.

“The members of my platoon come from a vast range of specialisations and external units – far beyond those I’m usually exposed to as a transport officer,” she said.

“This is particularly important due to the wide range of external units and coalition forces we support, both here and throughout the Middle East.

Halfway through her deployment, Lieutenant Meagher said she was looking forward to returning to Australia to spend time with family and friends.

“COVID-19 has been a challenge to deal with at all stages of the deployment, including being given less than 48 hours’ notice to pack up for the deployment and cross borders for quarantine and training, adding additional time away,” she said.

“I suspect the restrictions will still be very much in place when I return.

“However, I do hope that I can catch up with everyone and take some time off to travel through northern Queensland and experience new parts of Australia.

“Whatever happens, it will still be good to see home.”

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