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    Exchange officer builds comradery in Canberra, Australia

    Exchange officer builds comradery in Canberra, Australia

    Photo By Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson | U.S. Army Maj. Erin Richards, Joint Health Command, senior preventative medicine...... read more read more

    CANBERRA, ACT, AUSTRALIA

    07.10.2020

    Story by Staff Sgt. Courtney Chapa 

    Media Center - Japan

    The United States and Australia share an alliance that continues to strengthen after more than 100 years of partnership. Military exchange officers work behind the scenes building upon the foundation to maintain this lasting alliance.

    “The U.S. exchange officer positions and the Australian positions are really valuable to both countries,” said U.S. Army Maj. Erin Richards, Joint Health Command, senior preventative medicine officer.

    In three short months, Richards has settled into her new assignment in Canberra, Australia, where she writes defense health policy alongside Australian Defence Force counterpart, Flight Lt. Clair Miles.

    “I love the comradery. I love exchanging ideas between the U.S. and Australian Defence Force,” said Richards.

    Another benefit of the job is just enjoying what Australia has to offer. Richards expressed her favorite perk, “I’ve got kangaroos in the parking lot. It’s an amazing experience.”

    Experiences like these make it easy to come to work and take care of the mission.

    “I work to prevent diseases and I work to prevent people from getting sick,” she said.

    Healthcare is a universal need, which is why Richards and Miles work side by side to bring diverse ideas to the table when it comes to healthcare for the troops.

    “Our team gets together every day and talks about the way forward with our policy and what is best practice between our military and the U.S. and we write policy that reflects that,” said Miles.

    U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein stresses the importance of having exchange officers in Australia even though it’s so far from home.

    “We've got to make sure we can maintain this close relationship that we've had for over a hundred years now to ensure we stand for what's right and what's right is access to the global commons and our ability to operate when and where we need to operate,” said Goldfein.

    Exchange officers help bridge the gap between both nations, especially in deployed environments.

    “I’ve been fortunate enough now through these opportunities to deploy twice with the U.S. and it’s been a fantastic opportunity,” said Miles. “We deploy together all the time around the world. It is really important to understand each other’s jobs so we can work really well together in a deployed space.”

    Working in a joint environment allows personnel to exchange ideas, build relationships and train together to maintain the U.S. and Australia alliance for years to come.

    “That's the beauty of our relationship and our partnership that we're so interoperable because we train that way every day. So we're better prepared to fight should it come to that,” said Goldfein.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.10.2020
    Date Posted: 07.09.2020 20:42
    Story ID: 373664
    Location: CANBERRA, ACT, AU 
    Hometown: CANBERRA, ACT, AU

    Web Views: 52
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN