Afghan’s commissioning fulfils promise to her father

It was a joyful occasion for Lieutenant Farida Dad’s family when she graduated as a private from the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Kapooka, in 2018.

CAPTIONAustralian Army Staff Cadet Lieutenant Farida Dad graduates from the Royal Military College – Duntroon. Story by Captain Carlie Gibson. Photo by Corporal Daniel Bozza.

Amid the graduation fanfare, her father issued her with a challenge that would change the course of her Army career from that day.

“My dad was so proud. When I graduated Kapooka, he noticed officers carried a sword. [He] asked me why I didn’t have a sword, and I explained the difference between a soldier and officer,” Lieutenant Dad said.

“That was the moment he said, ‘I want you to have a sword’, and I decided in June 2018 that I would commission to become an officer.”

The road to Kapooka – and that defining moment – started in Afghanistan almost 25 years before.

“We belong to the minority group called the Hazara people,” Lieutenant Dad said.

“We escaped Afghanistan during the Taliban regime when I was six years old. We fled to Pakistan and my dad became an asylum seeker to Australia.

“From there, it took him a couple of years to become a permanent resident, and he sponsored our move to Australia.”

Her father died in September 2018, but Lieutenant Dad was determined to honour her father and her own commitment to become an officer after working her way up to the rank of corporal.

She started officer training at the Royal Military College – Duntroon in January 2023.

“Here I am, after 18 months, graduating as a lieutenant. I got the sword, which I am presenting to my mum as a tribute to my dad,” Lieutenant Dad said.

“For me, it’s all about service. I’m proud to be Australian, and proud to be an officer in the Australian Army.”

Lieutenant Dad was one of 104 officers to graduate from the Royal Military College – Duntroon, along with members from New Zealand, Fiji, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and four members of the Royal Australian Air Force.

The event also marked the last parade for the Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, who awarded fellow graduate Lieutenant Sam McAnaney with both the King’s Medal and Sword of Honour.

This was the last graduating class to undergo the 18-month officer training program.

Duntroon is trialling a 12-month Officer Commissioning Program that will graduate officers in a simple, agile, scalable format.


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