Home for Christmas: Family to welcome returned soldier

BENDIGO man Damien Allen is looking forward to spending time with his family this Christmas, when he returns home after five months of duty in Afghanistan. 

The 23-year-old private said he joined the army after taking a year off when he finished secondary school. 

Damien said joining the army was nothing like he expected. 

“It’s not like how I imagined it,” he said. “You think it will be how it is in the movies, but it’s not.

“It’s a great life, an unreal lifestyle that I never would have had if I didn’t join the army.”

Damien’s trip to Afghanistan was his first deployment overseas. 

While in the Middle East, part of his role was with the 3RAR, mentoring taskforce training with the Afghan National Army. 

Damien’s father, David Allen, said he was looking forward to seeing his son, who is now based in Townsville. 

He said people could not imagine what it felt like to have someone you love fighting in Afghanistan. 

“It was a trying time,” David said. 

“No one can imagine the highs and the lows we have felt.

“We had never watched so much news than during the time Damien was over there.

 “Every time Afghanistan was mentioned in the news our ears would prick up and listen to it, just in case.”

David said this Christmas would be extra special, with festivities planned for the time his son was in town. 

“Damien loves life, he’s always having a laugh and playing a practical joke,” he said. 

“It’s going to be a great Christmas.”

- The Bendigo Advertiser series Home For Christmas features people returning for the festive season. Do you know someone coming back to spend time with family? Email details to cos@bendigoadvertiser.com.au

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