Muay Thai – Kickboxing – Children’s Classes – GRIT

The Iraq diaries – A PREQUEL


Click here to read part 1 if you would rather jump right into the series, or if you prefer context and timeline of how I ended up in Iraq prior to this series then read on...

The Iraq diaries (emails) where an unplanned collection of emails home during my work on deployment. After the event, I wanted to record them and was overwhelmed by the interest people had in reading them. I got questions that now seem obvious after they were released, as to how I came to be working in Iraq. You could read my short bio located in these articles or read below for a more specific recollection. People that know me know, mostly meet me through Muay Thai and other small business work and have no idea how someone could come to be qualified to do the work for which I was employed. (and why I would ever want to)

When you employ someone for a critical role as you get older, you go for competence, trust and confidence they will get the job done. I was happy working at Phoenix and growing it, competing, and building the team. I was not focused on going back to any military work then one day, someone who knew me from my time in the Army dropped in to train. We started talking about what he was doing now then bam. He asked what I was doing. He was working in Iraq as the Ops manager for Control Risk Group (CRG) and said they needed good people. (Everyone I worked with later was ex Aussie/Kiwi or British Military)  

It sounded fantastic. I could run the gym and have a back-to-back (someone I job shared with) so could come and go. The gym was good, but this was something completely different and I could still run the gym as I had great people backing me up that I could trust. It was like going on deployment but with higher pay, higher risk and more flexibility. It was not a done thing though. I had to do an interview in Sydney, get CV checked out. Fly there and on arrival – go through a quick make or break testing. Overall, it was based on the trust I could be competent from my previous work experience and references.

I was in the Army. I graduated from the Royal Military College and went on to become a Military Police Officer. I did multiple courses but specialised in threat assessments and doing personal protection work and managing it. I did state police close personal protection (CPP) and Witness Protection courses, the Army CPP course. I did them, then instructed them. I then transferred to Intelligence Corp and did some joint warfare and courses with the police again. My time was spent training and doing exercises and courses. Collaborating closely with great people and building my skills. I never got the chance to deploy and got bored in the Army as I was promoted and expected to do staff/desk work and follow a career path mapped out for me that I was too adventurous, too immature and too excited about life to do.

I then had a huge accident and shattered my right knee and a few other parts. I had to go into permanent rehab hospital for 2 months and rebuild myself. At the time I thought I could go nowhere in the Army and my world had ended. I was not fit enough to do the specialist work I was training for. I was on the edge of some great postings and work with special forces as an Intelligence officer and I was shattered about it. So, I sucked it up, rebuilt myself physically and went back to work. I got fit, really fit but I just couldn’t get fit enough to be passed for deployment. The Army at the time wasn’t going anywhere either and I didn’t feel like I was a good peace time officer (I still don’t). Management and desk jobs seemed to be my future. I did not realize at the time that I just had to keep working on my fitness and I would have been fit enough again to do anything. As I proved after I left the Army, in disappointment in my career path being limited. I was just too impatient; I did not know my own tenacity, and no one really advised me to stick it out. I had another dream, I was going to be a fighter, a champion trainer and make my own way.

Then after 5 years of running Phoenix, I got the opportunity to go on deployment and test myself in operations. I was fit, strong and keeping up my skills. I was still engaged with the Army, as I was doing contract work for Defence doing investigations into security breaches to make ends meet. What I always wanted from the Army was real work, deployment and to evaluate if I could do it. To see if I would be found ‘wanting’ or if I could deliver under pressure, under fire and test my skills and self. So, I stepped up and 6 weeks later, was in Iraq as the ‘war’ started to kick off bigger and bigger every day.

Now you know how I got there and why.


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