A normal infantry section commander’s knowledge of haircuts ends with what the Army Dress Manual allows.
CAPTION: Lance Corporal Emily Drummond at the 2023 Chief of Army Symposium in Perth. Story by Warrant Officer Class Two Max Bree.
But one member from the 11th/28th Battalion, The Royal Western Australian Regiment (11/28RWAR), is just as familiar with scissors and a curling iron as she is with a rifle and body armour.
Lance Corporal Emily Drummond was born in Kalgoorlie and grew up in Dunsborough, before leaving school by Year 10 to become a hairdresser.
Inspired by her aunt, Lance Corporal Drummond joined the Army Reserve in 2016 and went on several full-time contracts that included deployments on Operation Resolute and to India late last year.
She was part of an Aussie platoon that worked with an Indian infantry battalion, to see how the Commonwealth armies could integrate.
“At the start we were doing drills next to them, even though it was British-based; it was different, though the foundation was the same,” Lance Corporal Drummond said.
Soldiers from each country demonstrated how they conducted activities, such us urban room clearances, worked out a way to do it together, then ran through as a combined team.
While there, Lance Corporal Drummond met Indian women who’d recently been allowed to enter combat roles.
“They were blown away by the things that I’ve done,” she said.
“It made me feel so lucky being a woman living in Australia. I have a lot more opportunities.
“I loved being able to show them what they could be able to do, and hopefully, eventually would be able to.”
Lance Corporal Drummond was part of the Regimental Sergeant Major – Army’s Junior Leader Fellowship that ran from August 28-31, in conjunction with the Chief of Army Symposium in Perth.
Participants toured military bases in the area, attended seminars and heard from Australian and international military leaders.
This led Lance Corporal Drummond to think about being more adaptable as a leader.
“The soldiers and people joining the Army are changing,” she said.
“You’ve got to adapt your leadership style.”
Apart from hairdressing, Lance Corporal Drummond also became a civilian personal trainer, and is now a combat fitness leader at Alpha Coy, 11/28RWAR, in Bunbury.
While blow waves and perms seem a world away from combat shooting and urban assaults, Lance Corporal Drummond’s skills with the scissors still come in handy.
“I do the emergency haircuts when the boys get in trouble from the Command Sergeant Major,” she said.