Mark Povey - Applying for Somalia
I had been at sea since 1990 before coming to HMAS Cerberus in 93, much to mine and my wife's disgust, we were sent to Victoria and I'd been ashore for 12 months after three and a bit years at sea. And it was like "Now I can spend some time with my wife and three children". And the youngest had only just been born in the November for I went to work one day in the March. And my boss said to me, "They're calling for volunteers to go to Somalia. They want a senior storeman to go". And it was from HMAS Cerberus.
So I rang my wife, and I said to my wife, Lorraine, I said, "They're calling for volunteers for Somalia". And she said, "I don't know why you bothered to ask where you're going to volunteer. You're going to put your name in the ring anyway". So I spoke to my boss and he said, "You put the request in and I'll recommend you". So I requested to be recommended as a as a volunteer for Somalia.
My boss wrote a letter, it went to the commanding officer at service and he sent off his letter of response as well to Canberra. A few weeks later, I was at home and my boss rang me and said, "You've been selected". So I have no idea what the process was. I do know there was another chief storeman serving at the time, he had volunteered too and I was lucky I was given the call up.
So I had a few weeks prior to that to get ready in place to go to Randwick where we did our training. All the inoculations, I had to have my shots, dentally fit medically fit. And on ANZAC Day 1994 I boarded a plane on I flew to Sydney and ferments commenced my training at the army base of Randwick. And we were there for three weeks and we we learned how to find water in the desert, how to change tires on vehicles. So things that we normally wouldn't be doing in our everyday career.
We went out to the rifle range were to be Steyr qualified because once we got in country we carried a Steyr rifle every day of the week. We had to be medically fit. So we had to do the army basic fitness tests, we had to pass that, the sit ups, the push ups and the run. And then early May, mid May 1994, we boarded the aircraft and we flew to Africa. And that's when the adventures began.