I vividly remember the first time that I came under fire from the Taliban.
It was 2009 and I was on my first tour of Afghanistan with the Australian Army. I was a 35-year old Artillery Officer attached to the British Army in Helmand Province.
I could hear the distinctive sound of ‘crack, thump’ going over my head. “We’re getting shot at, aren’t we?” I asked my mate, Ben, who was standing next to me. He just looked at me calmly and said, “Yes”. He was relaxed about it: it wasn’t the first time he’d been in contact and we just got on with the job.
Looking back on from where I am now, at home with my family in Edwardstown, I realise my reaction might surprise people outside the military.
The reality is that we do our jobs – we don’t see ourselves as heroic or special in any way.
For me, joining the Army was something I’d wanted since I was young. Growing up in Adelaide in the 1980s, I remember seeing British troops boarding ships for the Falklands War on TV and knew that my granddad served in the British Army in France and Germany during World War II.
The military fascinated me and I wanted to be part of it. My parents weren’t keen on the idea, but a family friend said, “Give it a shot.” So at the age of 23 I joined the Reserves whilst still studying at the University of Adelaide.
It wasn’t long before I went full-time and we had postings to Darwin, Brisbane and Townsville before returning to Adelaide. My final full-time posting, before I transitioned to civilian employment, was as the Brigade Major at Headquarters 9th Brigade in South Australia with two tours in Afghanistan behind me in addition to numerous major exercises.
Every day, I am grateful to my family for the support they’ve offered me. I took out a mortgage on my marriage when I went to Afghanistan the first time – I was home for just four weeks in 14 months – and spent many months away on courses and exercises.
With a long-term plan and the help of South Australia’s ‘StoryRight’ team to translate my military skills into civilian words, I left the Regular Army late last year and moved into the private sector at the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Now I’m home for good, I enjoy spending time with my family and was recently elected Chairman of the Edwardstown Soldiers’ Memorial Recreation Ground Board to govern the brand new Edwardstown Club. I also organise the Anzac Day Dawn Service there each year.
Given the sacrifice that so many have made before me, I know it’s a privilege to come back home and continue to serve my local community. I am also proud to serve in the Army Reserve.
Scott Calvert joined the Australian Army Reserves in 1998 while studying geography, history and politics at the University of Adelaide.
He transferred to the full-time Army in 2007 as an Artillery Officer. He served in Afghanistan in 2009-10 and again in 2013-14. He returned home to Edwardstown in South Australia as his permanent base in 2017.
Today, Scott works for the Australian Rail Track Corporation after transitioning successfully from the full-time Army in 2018. He’s also the Chairman of the Edwardstown Soldiers’
Memorial Recreation Ground Board, closely involved with the Edwardstown Football Club and Goodwood Cricket Club and organises the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Edwardstown Soldiers’ Memorial Gardens each year. He also continues to serve in the Army Reserve.
Scott is married to Megan and they have two children, Amelia, 14, and William, 12.