3 July 2019
In May, Christchurch resident Lance Corporal David Maslin deployed to Camp Taji in Iraq, as one of about 70 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel who form part of a combined training mission with the Australian Defence Force.
A supplier by trade in the New Zealand Army, Lance Corporal Maslin helps ensure necessary equipment is provided to Iraqi Security Forces personnel being trained by Task Group Taji, as the combined New Zealand-Australian training mission is called.
“The NZDF has made a significant contribution to international efforts to rebuild the confidence and capability of the Iraqi Security Forces. Everyone in our current rotation is keen to build on this achievement,” he said.
“For me, the highlight so far was the emotionally charged haka that the previous rotation performed to welcome us.”
Lance Corporal Maslin worked in financial administration roles before he enlisted in the Army in 2015. He has since completed a number of specialisation courses in petroleum operations, vehicle licensing and military vehicle familiarisations.
A resident of Avonhead, he plays football for the Army and the Burnham Bobcats club. He represented the NZDF in a match against the Singapore Armed Forces in Singapore in 2016 and previously played club cricket for Burnside.
“Playing sports at Burnside or Avonhead Park during summer – whether it was making catches in the slips or tackles on the football field – are among my fondest memories,” he said.
The tinder-dry and dusty football pitch at Camp Taji is a far cry from the lush pitches of Avonhead and Burnside, where he learnt and honed his skills.
“Playing soccer on grass again will be a good feeling,” he said.