30 July 2019
Corporal Savannah Grace is glad she took her father’s advice to join the New Zealand Army.
“He said I would get to travel overseas a lot, which is true,” said Corporal Grace, one of about 70 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel working as part of a combined training mission with the Australian Defence Force, called Task Group Taji, in Iraq’s Camp Taji.
A Movements Operator with specialist skills in aerial delivery, terminal and movement control, she works with an Australian soldier to organise the transport of New Zealand military cargo in and out of Camp Taji. She also helps load and unload cargo for New Zealand soldiers who are flown in and out of Taji by coalition aircraft.
“My key role is to ensure the correct documentation is filled out for the person receiving the freight,” she said.
“For cargo sent out of theatre, I help the Air Load Team build passenger bags and freight into 463-litre aircraft pallets. I also help unload incoming cargo from trucks using a forklift.”
With the planned drawdown of NZDF troops from Iraq, Corporal Grace said she expected the coming months to become more hectic as she identifies stores and equipment that will be sent back to New Zealand.
Developing friendships with personnel from other militaries and carrying on the Anzac legacy were two rewarding aspects of serving as part of Task Group Taji, Corporal Grace said.
“I enjoy working with the Australians. It definitely makes the days go faster when you have good people to work with,” she said.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of our mission here in Taji.”
During her down time, she goes to the gym, does five-kilometre runs around Camp Taji and catches up with friends.
After attending Palmerston North Girls’ High School, Corporal Grace enlisted in the Army in 2014.
Since then she has deployed to Antarctica three times to help offload the United States cargo ship that brings a year’s worth of supplies and equipment for scientists based on the continent. She has also been to Australia, Fiji and Tonga to support NZDF activities.