Belinda takes the desert by storm
IT'S A long way from Gympie to the desert of the United Arab Emirates, but Gympie woman Belinda Walters is loving every minute of her time with the Australian Airforce.
Ms Walters is a Leading Aircraftswoman serving with the Combat Support Unit at the Al Minhad Airbase.
The 29-year-old provides force protection (security) at the airbase as part of Operation Slipper.
The Combat Support Unit includes maintenance personnel who look after the administrative and support functions of the air base, which is the main staging area for Australian troops going to and from Afghanistan.
LACW Walters has been in the Middle East for three and a half months and is enjoying the change of pace.
"It's an awesome job, I love it," LACW Walters said.
"I help take care of the whole place, it's a great experience."
LACW Walters said the desert was a lot different to Gympie.
The temperature is one of the biggest differences with the highest temperature so far hitting 57 degrees.
The former James Nash State High School and Gympie West Primary School student is usually based in Townsville where she is a dog handler in the on-base security force.
She said the hardest thing about going overseas was that she couldn't take her black German shepherd guard dog Yandi with her.
"I'm missing her terribly," LACW Walters said.
She says joining the air force has been one of the best decisions she has ever made.
"It's an awesome job," LACW Walters said.
"I have met some great people and get to travel all over the world."
During her nine and a half year military career, LACW Walters has already travelled to Singapore, Italy and all over Australia before being deployed to the UAE.
Chances are she will also visit plenty of other countries while serving her country.
She says she only has another two and a half months before heading home to Australia. She said one of the first things she has planned is to visit her parents Mark and Paula Walters who live in Gympie.