Flight Lieutenant Alan Turner examines a Coalition soldier with two members of the trauma team looking on in the Kandahar Airfield hospital.
Flight Lieutenant Alan Turner examines a Coalition soldier with two members of the trauma team looking on in the Kandahar Airfield hospital. Submitted

Defence doctor's honour

GUNSHOT and shrapnel wounds are a rarity for most Australian doctors.

But for Flight Lieutenant Alan Turner, those wounds became commonplace when he was deployed to the Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan from August 2009 to April 2010.

Flt Lt Turner's work during that period was enough to earn him a Commendation for Distinguished Service as a part of the 2011 Australia Day honours.

The former Shalom College student said he was extremely humbled to have received the honour.

“Whilst the deployment was extremely demanding at times, it was an incredibly positive experience that I will never forget,” he said.

“This award will be a constant reminder of my time there.”

Flt Lt Turner said he would not have been able to do all he had done without the support of those at the air base and previous RAAF doctors who had been deployed there.

While in Kandahar, Flt Lt Turner provided health care for Australian personnel and was responsible for any aeromedical evacuation of defence force personnel.

Flt Lt Turner also volunteered at a Canadian trauma hospital, which was one of the busiest in Afghanistan.

“The work was demanding, both physically and emotionally,” he said.

“The injuries we were treating were some of the most horrific that can be seen anywhere in the world and the frequency which they presented was nothing short of shocking.”

Flt Lt Turner's mother Christine Turner, who still lives in Bundaberg, could not be more proud of her son.

“It's a wonderful recognition for all the work he has done,” she said.

“It was very difficult to have him away while he was in Afghanistan, but we are getting used to it.”



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