Legal eagle reserves judgement on daughter’s defence

Written on the 9 February 2010

MIGRATION lawyer John Lingham knew that his daughter Michelle was never going to be an ‘ordinary’ employee.

It wasn’t until Lingham joined 16 other employers to travel to the Solomon Islands as part of the Defence Department’s Exercise Boss Lift initiative that he truly understood how different her role as an Army Reserve medic is to working in the Miami-based law firm Arcuri.

Conducted by the Department of Defence’s Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division, Exercise Boss Lift encourages employers to experience first-hand their civilian employee’s Reserve role and duties while deployed overseas.

The program intends to give employers a better understanding of the added responsibilities and skill set their army reservist workers would not normally be able to display in their daily roles.

During the four-day visit to Australia’s Defence Forces in the Solomon Islands, Lingham underwent a range of experiences including school visits, battlefield tours and firing a Steyr assault rifle on the army’s shooting range.

“I think Exercise Boss Lift is excellent, I really do. It wasn’t until I got over here to the Solomon Islands, through this first-hand experience, that I realised to what extent the reservists have made a personal commitment to this country,” says Lingham.

Apart from catching up with daughter Michelle, who had been deployed for four months, a visit to a school for the deaf was a highlight for Lingham.

“The school demonstrates what can be done with limited resources for those who are handicapped in this society,” he says.

“I also enjoyed meeting all the other employers who came over on this trip with me and I think Exercise Boss Lift is one of the best kept secrets in the Australian Defence Force.”

Program coordinator Steve Smith says Exercise Boss Lift is all about facilitating an awareness of what the Reservists do.

“This awareness also includes the benefits of that training or experience that the reservist can take back into their every day jobs,” he says.


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