Deployment to PNG a homecoming for soldier
After deploying on back-to-back international operations to Afghanistan and Iraq, Warrant Officer Class Two Grayson Poon is now on deployment in his home country.
CAPTION: Warrant Officer Class Two Grayson Poon is deployed to Papua New Guinea as part of Operation PNG Assist. Story and photo by Corporal Dustin Anderson.
WO2 Poon hadn’t been back to Papua New Guinea for more than 20 years, however, that changed this year when he was given the opportunity to deploy on Operation Papua New Guinea Assist.
The operation comprises delivering advice, training, and assistance to the Western and Morobe Provincial Health Authorities and Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) health staff about COVID-19 vaccination planning and delivery.
WO2 Poon has provided the logistical life support of the operation, coordinating materials and medical equipment to support the Papua New Guinea Government efforts being made to manage COVID-19.
“It’s been a surreal experience being back home as a part of this operation,” WO2 Poon said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see some family members while I’ve been here. It had been over 20 years since I had seen them.
“It’s been a very personal experience for me being back here, knowing the locals’ culture, mentality, and challenges.”
Originally born in Rabaul, in East New Britain Province, WO2 Poon moved to Australia in 1989, where he attended boarding school in Toowoomba. He joined the ADF in 2004 after seeing an advertisement on TV.
“I didn’t want to be in an office crunching numbers at a desk all day, so I called the number and, 18 years later, I’m still here and loving it.”