HAPPY TIMES: Gympie veteran Col Morley with his wife Trina and son Cooper.
HAPPY TIMES: Gympie veteran Col Morley with his wife Trina and son Cooper. Contributed

Gympie veteran served in Iraq, Malaysia and PNG

WITH today being Anzac Day, a Gympie veteran has recalled his life's journey on the frontline and explains why the day is important to remember and acknowledge.

"In reference to Anzac Day, I believe that this ongoing circle of knowledge, which many of my brethren also undertook, ensures that the spirit of the Australian digger remains strong,” he said.

Col Morley was born in Brisbane not long before the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam occurred in 1966, and grew up in the bayside town of Cleveland.

After completing his Senior Certificate, Col worked in odd jobs for a few years before deciding to enlist in the Army just before his 21st birthday.

"I enlisted in 1988, and once training was completed, I was posted with the 1st Battalion as part of the Royal Australian Regiment,” Col said.

"Three years later, I was transferred to the Military Police where I served in four postings around Australia, which included a 12-month stint as a recruit instructor.”

In 1991, Col deployed to Iraq during the first Gulf War, where he was under direct command of the British 3rd Brigade, Royal Marines where his role was to provide close protection to Australian medical teams.

"In 1995, I spent four months at Butterworth Air Base in Malaysia where I was attached to the 5th/7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

"In 1997, I transferred to the Australian Intelligence and served in five postings around Australia,” he said.

Col was first posted as the Intelligence Sergeant to the 6th Battalion in the Royal Australian Regiment.

In 1999, he was deployed to Bougainville where he served two back-to-back tours; returning to Australia with a Land Commanders Commendation for outstanding performance.

In 2000, Col deployed to East Timor with Interfet as an acting Warrant Officer, commanding a Force Protection Security Team on the Indonesian border.

"On return to Australia, I separated from the Army and joined the Queensland Police Service where I was posted to Gympie in 2001,” he said.

"It was in Gympie that I met and married Trina and we now live in Pie Creek with our eight-year-old son Cooper.”

In 2006, Col separated from the police in Gympie and was commissioned into the Regular Army as a captain.

His first role was as a liaison officer between the army and Victoria Police during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, a job he was highly qualified to perform.

From there, Col served as the Intelligence Officer for the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

On return, he was transferred to the 5th Aviation Regiment as their Intelligence Officer and deployed to Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, Col's unit was under the command of the US 101st Airborne Division; and at the completion of that tour he received a United States Army Commendation Medal.

"In 2009, as a fourth-year captain, I decided to separate again from the military and returned to the police force where I accepted a posting to Kingaroy,” he said.

"I retired from the police force in 2013 and returned to Gympie.

"Since then I have been active in the community serving on the Jones Hill P&C in various roles; becoming a fire-fighter with the Southside Rural Fire Brigade; coaching junior soccer for the Diggers club; raising the Gympie Army Cadets and being elected to the RSL Club Board and the RSL Sub-branch Board.

"Currently, I am co-ordinating the Anzac Day commemorations on behalf of the RSL president.”

Story contributed by Col Morley