"You do it for your mates"

EMERALD SOLIDER: Lieutenant James Wood will speak about his experiences at Emerald State High School.
EMERALD SOLIDER: Lieutenant James Wood will speak about his experiences at Emerald State High School. cont

STANDING in front of hundreds of teenagers may cause your heart to race, but not Lieutenant James Wood's.

The ex-Emerald State High School student is returning to his old school to speak about Anzac Day, after serving in East Timor for the last three months.

It is an honour for him and he has been hard at work on his speech.

“It'll be a good experience to get back there,” he said.

“I've been throwing a few ideas around.”

After finishing school, James found himself faced with the same question as the rest of his school mates: What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

He said when asked what attracted him to join the armed forces, he could never think of the right answer.

“I haven't been able to give anyone a straight answer on that,” he said.

“I wasn't sure what sort of career I wanted. I wasn't mature enough to go straight into a career.”

He said his training in the armed forces helped him find himself, and he never had a moment where it felt too difficult to get through the training.

“There's a sense of comradeship and mateship in the army,” he said.

“That's always been what it is about since the Anzacs... You do it for your mates.”

James said while Anzac Day was meaningful for all Australians, he felt it was a particularly emotional day for those in the armed forces.

“For us it's quite strong because we know someone who has fallen recently,” he said.

James joined the army in 2005 and spent three years in the defence force academy and one year at college. He is now a Lieutenant.

In February he was deployed to East Timor, which he said had so far been a benevolent environment.

James is part of the International Stabilisation Force, which is an Australian and New Zealand campaign to help build the government and allow it to support itself.

At the end of this month he will return to East Timor for another four months, following which he will return to Melbourne for career training.

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