Sharon Mascall-Dare joined Babcock Australasia as Head of Marketing and Communications after working in the media and serving in the military. Having studied Anzac Day for her PhD, she’s fascinated by its impact on cultural identity in Australia and New Zealand.
Attending an Anzac Day service when you’re on operations is an experience you never forget. In my case, it was three years ago at Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad during the Battle for Mosul. I was the Public Affairs Officer for the Task Group and it was my job to share our story with communities back home.
As we stood in the half-light of dawn on 25 April 2017, we thought of those who’d gone before us and didn’t make it home. There were 400 members of our Task Group from Australia and New Zealand and we knew were fortunate: although there was fierce fighting in northern Iraq, we were relatively safe. We weren’t facing the same dangers experienced by those who served in Iraq before us, or those who’d follow.
Just last month, Taji became a target again. A rocket attack claimed the lives of a young British medic and two US soldiers. The anguish of their families cannot be imagined; the impact on their mates will be lifelong.
Since returning from Iraq, I’ve been training as a peer-to-peer counsellor to give back to a community that gives so much. Having heard so many stories, I believe we have much to learn from the veterans’ community. There is resilience as well as pain; there is service before self. These are values that prevail.
Compassion, commitment and capability. Those are the values that I’ve learnt from military service and continue to aspire to today, in my work at Babcock. From pilots conducting search and rescue missions to engineers supporting Defence in Australia and New Zealand, I’m fortunate to work with dedicated and amazing people. They inspire me every day.