Planning for peace in the Sinai
Major Dave Bernat is deployed as the lead planner at the headquarters of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) at South Camp in the Sinai, Egypt.
The Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (RAEME) officer works in a small planning team comprising members from Australia, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Major Bernat said he has enjoyed working in the team and the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with members from other nations.
“We are responsible for drafting and coordinating the delivery of operational orders for the MFO. It’s a busy job, but together we implement the plans that ultimately contribute to peace and security in the region,” Major Bernat said.
“As Australians we have proven our effectiveness as planners and that we can turn out high-quality staff work over in a short period of time.”
Deploying in August 2019 on Operation Mazurka, this is Major Bernat’s fourth operational deployment in a 30-year career.
“My first deployment was a four-month trip to Bougainville in 1999, followed by East Timor in 2000, and again eight years later, where I was involved in the deployment of Battle Group Tiger.”
Major Bernat joined the Army in 1990 as an apprentice, completing his trade as a vehicle mechanic and over the next 18 years served in the ranks before finishing up as the Artificer Sergeant Major of B Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment (1 ARMD).
In 2008 he was selected to commission under the Army Sergeant and Warrant Officer Commissioning scheme, taking up his first appointment as the Second in Command of 101 Workshop Company at the 1st Combat Service Support Battalion.
Both his children, Maddision and Nicholas, have gone on to make their own Army careers and as a father he had the unique opportunity to enlist his son into the Army.
“On the day he joined I happened to be the duty officer at the Army Logistics Training Centre and this duty has the added responsibility of being the local area enlistment officer,” Major Bernat said.
“He got quite the surprise when I showed up to swear him in.”
His son, Nick, is now a cavalry crewman at 1 ARMD and his daughter, Maddy, is an operator supply at the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Townsville.