I was working in land headquarters at the time now Forces Command and my role there was as the SO 1 logistic planning and part of my responsibility was to look at the force rotation going into Bougainville and I recall looking for the next Lieutenant-Colonel, chief of staff, to go into the peace monitoring group and it just happened to be coinciding with the time that we were doing all our planning for East Timor.
And that was one of my key jobs to do in that planning and it was the colonel for logistics said to me, "Well, have you thought about going to Bougainville?" And my immediate response was, "No, that's not something I'd be able to do". I had been serving 20 years at that time and he said, "No, I think you should, we're going to put you forward to go as the Chief of Staff", and we put up a couple of other names forward as well.
And the land commander did select me into the role. And when the colonel called me up and advised me that I had been selected, my first response was "No, I don't think I can do that". I felt quite overwhelmed that I had been selected to do such an important job, knowing that had been one of my key roles looking at that force rotation.
But he sat me down and he said, "Look, you have had 20 years' experience, all the training, all the preparation to do this job, you can do this job". And I went home and spoke with my husband and he said, "It's up to you. If you'd like to do it and give it a go, you can do it. It's not a case of not being able to do it. Just go for it". So I did.