Don Spinks - Visiting Tarin Kowt and Kandahar

Running time
1 min 56 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


If you're in the Combat Outpost or the Forward Operating Bases, it was quite austere, the conditions, and we spent a bit of time downrange there at many different patrol bases and areas that we had control over… It could be as short as a day or two days or a couple of weeks.

It just varied on what the purpose of the visit was. Particularly during times of casualties, et cetera, they were normally shorter duration in-out type of activities, but it was a few hours, four-odd hours in a Hercules and two and a half hours in a C-17 just to get into Tarin Kowt.

So you'd use that time and use the resources wisely, but a lot of time spent downrange engaging, visiting, and then the commander had his other international engagement responsibilities as well. So we spent quite a bit of time downrange…I spent almost all of my time either in Tarin Kowt, or what the troops would name TK, or up in Kandahar at the main base in Kandahar, and a lot of office calls with the, you know, our partner nations, visiting their commanders and their senior enlisted staff as well, as well as visiting our own troops.

Lots of engagement just talking to Australian Defence Force personnel on their experiences, the challenges, giving them updates, providing information, changes to the missions, et cetera. So, no typical day, but a lot of time in meetings, a lot of time in helicopters flying around, dropping in, visiting people at their outposts and their bases.

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