Par for the Afghan course
By Steve Spinks
HARRY JARVIE still reaches for his rifle every morning when he wakes up at Lennox Head. It's understandable.
Only days ago Lieutenant-Colonel Jarvie was planning combat and engineering missions in Afghanistan as commanding officer of the Australian Army's Reconstruct-%ion Task Force 2 (RTF 2).
He was operating in the same region where SAS Sergeant Matthew Locke, a decorated patrol commander, was killed last week. Sgt Locke was the third Australian fatality in Afghanistan
Lt-Col Jarvie returned to Australia only a week after Trooper David Pearce was killed in early October.
Lt-Col Jarvie had been in the war zone six months "It's still one of those things that you wake up of the morning and reach for the rifle and it's not there and you start to panic," he chuckled.
"But once you get past that it's easy to settle back into life with the kids and family."
Lt-Col Jarvie's wife, Helen, who is originally from the Northern Rivers, and his two sons Matthew and Peter, lived in Lennox Head while he was on deployment. The family intend to settle in the village eventually.
He said Australian troops had been well received by the Afghan community.
"People are turning away from the Taliban," he said. "They have experienced the Taliban and do not want to go back to that lifestyle where they suffered oppression, lost their education system, and had their hospitals burnt down.
"But it's going to take time." It's been a hectic six months for the career soldier, but one he looks back on with pride.
"Apart from my kids, I think it's (Afghanistan) is the most significant thing I will do in my life," Lt-Col Jarvie said.
"To be involved in the reconstruction for an entire province, to be engaged by the enemy on a number of occasions and win the fight as well. We did well.
"If you even stand among Australia soldiers you are left with the confidence that the Anzac tradition is not dead."