PEACE ROAD: Captain Stephen Williams, 34, formerly of Mullumbimby, is in Iraq with the Australian Army Training Team.
PEACE ROAD: Captain Stephen Williams, 34, formerly of Mullumbimby, is in Iraq with the Australian Army Training Team.

Battle on to win the peace

By RENEE REDMOND

AS MILLIONS of Australians remember the sacrifice of war, Stephen Williams is continuing the Anzac tradition, but this time with peaceful aims.

As Anzac commemorations are held around the region today former Mullumbimby man Captain Williams is helping Iraq build an army.

Nevertheless his mother, Mary Williams, still worries.

Stephen, 34, joined the Aust- ralian Army in 1988 and is now working as an instructor with the Australian Army Training Team in Iraq.

His mission is to assist in the operation of the Iraqi Army Support and Services Institute as part of the coalition efforts to build a new Iraqi Army.

The former Mullumbimby High School student was deployed in February and his family don't know when he will return.

Stephen said while he worked long hours, the job was very rewarding.

"The Iraqi students are very receptive to the training and their positive feedback is encouraging," he said.

"The fact nobody under the age of 30 has any knowledge of a life of peace should be enough of a reason to continue with the rebuilding process."

Stephen said his team were hopeful that the systems being taught to Iraqi students would provide knowledge for them to become self-sufficient.

"The job the Australian Army Training Team is doing for the people of Iraq is ex- tremely important if they are to have any chance of moving on," he said.

"The ability for their defence forces to be self-sustaining is crucial to the rebuilding of their nation."

Stephen is based at the Randwick Barracks in Sydney with his wife, Belinda, and their two young children, Tyler and Natalia.

"I don't see my grandchildren as often as I would like, but they're coming up in May," Mary said.

"My father fought in World War II and it's interesting to compare the difference with new technology.

"I still write Stephen letters, but my children email him now and they get a response from him really quickly," she said.

Mary said she had always admired her son for what he chose to do with his life.

"I'm not sure why he wanted to join the army, but he's the kind of person who doesn't rush into anything so he would have done his homework," she said.

"Stephen was always very good at school, but one day he came home and said, 'I've got a job at the local supermarket and I'm going to work there until I'm old enough to join the army'. He was 15 at the time.

"If I wanted anyone on my side, it would be him."



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