Good Morning... Baghdad!

 

Before Australian Air Force Warrant Officer Jodi Graham was welcomed home to Ipswich over the weekend from an arduous six-month deployment in Baghdad, University of Southern Queensland's (USQ) Phoenix Radio was able to catch up with her in Iraq.

Speaking live from Baghdad last Wednesday W.O.F.F. Graham told USQ's Ashley Jones she was looking forward to meeting up with her husband, son and family at home in Yamanto.

'I am taking about four weeks leave when I get home, so it will be a nice long break and I can relax,' W.O.F.F. Graham said.

'Then I begin working on a project in Brisbane, so I'll start the commute from Ipswich back into the city again.'

W.O.F.F. Graham said it was with trepidation she had accepted to go to Iraq to work in logistics while leaving her husband and son at home.

'But at the same time it was a job that I was trained to do, I wanted to do and I felt I could have some kind of impact on our mission in Iraq, to help the Iraqi people gain their freedom and independence.

'So it was important for me from that perspective, but it was also important that my training would allow me to come over here and be effective and do a good job for our people.'

She told Phoenix Radio that while still dangerous in Iraq it was not as bad as when forces first arrived in the country.

'The inroads we have made with security have been brilliant and the training we have provided to the Iraqi army has helped them provide their own security. We are quite proud of that.'

W.O.F.F. Graham said her deployment in Iraq has made her a better person.

'It has given me a sense of how generous we are as Australians. The eyes of the world can see how generous we are as a people.

'The other coalition forces love us - they think we are great and the job we do.

'We are only a small force, but we certainly punch way above our weight and are generally very well regarded.

'That's nice, because you see it every day. We have the American's and all sorts of other nations over here and they are always willing to say hello.

'The Tongans are always coming out with ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie' and we always have to reply ‘Oi Oi Oi', that sort of thing. So it's quite good and is really uplifting.'

W.O.F.F. Graham said she tried not to think about the workmates she was leaving behind in Iraq.

'You make extremely good friends and you have been living and working with these people closely for six months and you do get really close to each other.

'You make friends for life and don't lose sight of them. This is my second deployment and I am still in touch with people that I met and worked with on my first deployment and that was three years ago.'

USQ Bachelor of Applied Media (BAM) Lecturer Ashley Jones said he was honoured to interview W.O. Graham while still in Baghdad.

'Phoenix Radio is not only about teaching our students radio production. It is also aimed at connecting the wider Ipswich community and becoming involved with their stories.

'Amberley Air Base is in our backyard and speaking to W.O.F.F. Graham live from Baghdad, really brought home the role our Ipswich service men and women are playing in world affairs.

'We hope to catch up with W.O.F.F. Graham and her family again when she has had time to settle in at home.'

Signing off from Phoenix Radio W.O.F.F. Jodi Graham only had one message for the family she was about to reunite with.

'To Chris and Shawn, I'll be home soon and to Mum and Dad, I'll see you at the airport when I get there and I love you all.'

You can tune into Phoenix Radio at www.usq.edu.au\phoenixradio

For more information or to become involved with the radio station contact Ashley Jones on 07 3470 4642 or phoenixradio@usq.edu.au

Media Contact: Jo-Ann Sparrow, USQ Media, +61 7 3470 4119 or 0428 102 979