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David Farrell

… it is what you're trained for, and you're doing what you’re trained for. You’re doing your job, and it’s exciting.

Dave Farrell’s eighteen-year Defence service included a deployment to East Timor and six tours in Afghanistan with the SAS.  

Dave trained as a patrol medic. He qualified to administer drugs, including morphine and injectable antibiotics, and perform minor operations in the field. Experience he needed when a suicide bomber struck the compound at Tarin Kowt. With another medic he set up a blood bank and assisted the trauma surgeons. He credits the experience with teaching him to ‘never judge anyone.’ He mentally dismissed an American woman as physically incapable of being a soldier.

... and she turned out to be some mad surgeon, that was just saving lives, one after another... I was so wrong. That’s what she did. She was there, saving people’s lives, all day, every day.

He was also struck with the resilience of the Afghan people, after witnessing an injured man, operated on without anaesthesia, refuse to be held down.

Dave had a young family and recognised he couldn’t continue with Defence. He began a strategic transition to civilian life.

...the people that have it toughest are the partners...I missed about eighteen months of [my daughter’s] first two years. It was just her and my wife in Perth, by themselves. They had friends around, but no family.

He and a friend now have their own labour hire company, which exclusively employs veterans.  

He misses the excitement and is grateful to still be alive and living in Australia.  

I had an exciting career. I drove over an IED that didn’t blow our vehicle up. I’ve been shot at heaps of times. Rocket-propelled grenades going over you... I should have been dead ten times over... We’re all still here, having a laugh about it. I had a great time and I’ve got great mates.

Summit, 2010
Afghanistan

Climbing that mountain with my pack and gun was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I didn’t even fire a shot.

REPRODUCED COURTESY OF DAVE FARRELL

Reviewed 19 May 2021

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