Anzac Day is not just about commemorating the service and sacrifice of those who have served and continue to serve Australia; it’s also a time to acknowledge their families.
CAPTION: Corporal Ashlee Sheen, from 9th Force Support Battalion, will be returning to her home town of Tamworth, NSW, for Anzac Day. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Sergeant Jason Slape.
9th Force Support Battalion logistics soldier Corporal Ashlee Sheen will be spending Anzac Day in Tamworth, NSW, with her family, including her dad Glenn Sheen, who is a retired Royal Australian Corps of Transport corporal.
It’s been nearly three years since Corporal Sheen has seen her family in Tamworth.
“I was raised mostly in the south coast of NSW, but spent most of my school holidays while growing up visiting my dad in Tamworth,” Corporal Sheen said.
“I mostly remember spending time at home with dad, visiting the main street – nothing too adventurous!”
Army runs in Corporal Sheen’s blood and she said representing her country, as other family members had done, was a privilege.
“My mum was a signaller, and my dad was a truckie when they met,” she said.
“Anzac Day is a significant day for us.
“I’m not usually one to draw attention to my service but, on Anzac Day, I feel so proud to do something like my parents did.
“Service aside, to me, Anzac Day is a day for families; if you don’t have the family support it’s a lot harder. They, too, sacrifice so much.”
Tamworth, best known for the Country Music Festival, will be having a day-long Anzac Day commemoration led by the Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch.
Corporal Sheen and her father will attend the dawn service together – Corporal Sheen will lay a wreath – then join other veterans for a luncheon.
Corporal Sheen said was excited about exchanging stories with past veterans and those still serving.
“I’ve had quite an exciting career so far,” she said.
“I’ve supported a number of humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations that have you pulling big days – but when you see our people making a difference on the ground, it makes it worth it.
“I know that my career is only one of so many stories, however it’s exciting to be able to share those stories and exchange ‘warries’ with veterans of both older and modern conflicts.
“I think it’s so important to take a moment to thank people for their commitment.”
Despite fearing her brothers may have grown taller than her, Corporal Sheen said she was looking forward to going home to her family, and to having the opportunity to inspire others to join the Army.
“I tried a variety of jobs before I joined, but I just kept coming back to Army,” she said.
“I would really encourage exploring all avenues within the ADF – there is no job like it, and no job that provides the same great experiences and mateship.
“I’m a lifer and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
Corporal Sheen is one of many ADF personnel returning home this Anzac Day.