April 27, 2019
The guest speaker at Murgon’s Anzac Day commemoration shared how she came under fire while deployed in Afghanistan, even though she was not in a combat role.
Trudi Lines told the crowd that nine mortar shells landed nearby, thankfully “they were atrocious with their accuracy”.
A new generation of war veterans are appearing at military commemorations throughout Queensland … men and women who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and on dangerous “peace-keeping” missions in places as far apart as East Timor, Bougainville and Rwanda.
To emphasise this, two veterans from Afghanistan carried the flags at the head of the Murgon parade.
Trudi – possibly the first women to be invited as a guest speaker at the Murgon service – said she had been deployed twice to Afghanistan in an RAAF logistics role.
She comes from a military family. Her grandfather was a RAAF bomber pilot during WWII and her grandmother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).
One of her proudest moments was to have marched with her grandfather in an Anzac Day Parade, and then sharing a beer afterwards.
Trudi was responsible for cargo loading and unloading in the RAAF, including the “ramp” ceremonies for deceased soldiers.
It was while dealing with cargo that she came under fire, with the shells landing behind the aircraft.
She was deployed to Afghanistan again in 2010, but by this time she had “become a different person”.
In 2011, Trudi transferred to the role of electrician and was the first female in the RAAF to be trained in that role.
“I was proud to be part of a defence force that recognised the abilities of women,” she said.
She worked in humanitarian missions to Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Thailand and East Timor.
Trudi received a medical discharge in 2017 after being diagnosed with physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Since then, sport had helped her mental and physical health.
Last year she took part in the Invictus Games in Sydney in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby, and won a gold medal!
Anzac Day can be a deeply emotional time for Australia’s veterans and their families and some may find this time of year difficult.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has advised there are specialised counselling services and resources available.
Veterans, their families and health care professionals can also visit the At-Ease Online portal for information about support available and online self-help tools, including:
[UPDATED with correction]