Kurrajong's Adam Keegan training Iraqi soldiers to combat Daesh

Task Group Taji 4 member Sergeant Adam Keegan stands before the hulk of an old T-72 tank at the Taji Military Complex north of Baghdad.
Task Group Taji 4 member Sergeant Adam Keegan stands before the hulk of an old T-72 tank at the Taji Military Complex north of Baghdad.

Over the past 14 years, Sergeant Adam Keegan has travelled the world, completing two deployments to Afghanistan and taking part in international military exercises in the United States and New Caledonia.

This year on Anzac Day the 31-year old from Kurrajong will be in Iraq with Task Group Taji Rotation Four – a combined force of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel that’s training Iraqi Security Forces just north of Baghdad.

He’ll spend the day delivering training to Iraqi soldiers in combat tactics, medical treatment and marksmanship as part of Operation Okra – Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort against the Daesh terrorist group

“The training the Iraqis are getting from Anzac soldiers is improving their combat capability and helping them to defeat Daesh” he said.

“I feel the mission we are conducting here is very important and is truly making a difference in Iraq.”

Sergeant Keegan joined the army as an 18 year-old, motivated by his grandfather’s stories of Army life.

“I joined the army because I was inspired by my late grandad who passed away while I was in my early teens,” he said.

“He also served in the Army and it had a great effect on my life.

“Growing up listening to his stories influenced me – I wanted to serve my country as a soldier.”

In his youth Sergeant Keegan was a self-professed geek, who enjoyed computer gaming sessions with his mates.

After three years as a reservist, he transferred to the full-time Army in 2006.

His new full-time career started with training on the Leopard AS1 tank before converting over to the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.

Before his current deployment to Iraq, Sergeant Keegan was posted to Darwin as a tank commander with the 1st Armoured Regiment.

“I used to enjoy the relaxed pace that the Hawkesbury provided as it’s a far cry from the busy lifestyle I lead now,” he said.

“It’s hard being away from friends and family, especially my beautiful wife and daughter, but I know we’re doing an important job over here, supporting the Iraqis so they can restore security to their own country.”

Sergeant Adam Keegan is a member of Task Group Taji Four, a combined force of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel training Iraqi Security Forces as part of Operation Okra to defeat Daesh and maintain security in Iraq.

There are about 300 Australians and 100 New Zealanders in the Task Group.