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Ben coming home

Monday, 4th April, 2011

ON A MISSION: Private Benjamin Harris is currently on the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. ON A MISSION: Private Benjamin Harris is currently on the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

Broken Hill's Benjamin Harris, 34, will head home son after four months in his Army Reserve uniform in the Solomon Islands.

Ben is currently using his infantry training as part of the Australian contingent in the 15-nation Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

"It's been a chance to see and learn about another part of the world," Ben said.

"Gaining operational experience and working with the Australian Federal Police is good.

"They are a very professional organisation and after working with them I would now consider joining the AFP."

Ben said much of his work had been patrolling, although he had worked at an observation post (OP) overlooking the country's main prison.

"Doing the OP at Rove Prison was a good opportunity to experience what doing a real OP is like," he said.

Ben's family has a military tradition. His father, Robin, served in the Army Reserve at Broken Hill from 1981 to 1983, while a grandfather served in the RAAF on Bougainville, to the west of the Solomon Islands, in WWII as a Morse code operator.

In 2009 Ben had taken part in the Army's Operation Vic Fire Assist, but this was his first time overseas.

Before returning to his work as a miner Ben planned to spend time with his family and partner and go on a holiday.

All reservists are volunteers and have to volunteer again to serve overseas.

They can also contribute to security at major events within Australia. Their civilian bosses receive a financial contribution to offset their absence on military duty.

If you want to find out more about Australian Peacekeepers or would like to support the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project, please visit the following website: http://www.peacekeepingmemorial.org.au.

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