Army’s captain courageous
GROWING up in the South Australian country with roaming horses and wideopen spaces, the thought of confining herself to a classroom never appealed to Lacey Western.
So once she finished her teaching degree, she followed in her father’s path. She was in the army by her 22nd birthday.
“As a kid, I was very much into reading,” Captain Western said. “I think it surprised everyone when I joined the army.”
The now 31-year-old is an Australian army captain, a war veteran, and a Claremont business owner.
Capt Western entered the Defence Force in 2007 as an education officer and later transferred to public affairs.
The Scarborough resident was in the army for four years before she was deployed to Afghanistan.
She was deployed there twice, first as a military media escort officer for seven months and then as a public affairs officer for the special operations task group for six months.
Capt Western said the experience was challenging but also rewarding.
“The challenges are being away from your family for such a long time and wanting to stay connected but being really consumed by the environment and the job,” she said.
“The highlights are the amazing experiences of finally taking all that training and doing your job for real in an area where you can see the amazing contributions that we’re making.
“For me, I got to travel so much around Afghanistan and see how much was being achieved.”
About 12 per cent of people in the army are female but Capt Western said no one cared about her gender, they just expected her to do her job well.
“I want women to know that you can be young and smart and beautiful and you can be in the military; the glass ceiling is only there if you perceive it to be,” she said.
“I’ve never felt held back or restricted from achieving what I wanted.
“You’ve just got to work hard, as a man does, there’s no difference.”
Despite wearing khaki and boots, Capt Western appreciates the finer things. That is why she has purchased Morph Quarters Hair and Beauty in Claremont and Cannington.
She plans to juggle life in the army with life in the salon.
AN all-Australian Defence Force team will take part in a surf boat race in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
In partnership with Soldier On, the surf boat team will participate in the Gallipoli 100 Surf Boat Race alongside teams from New Zealand and Turkey.
Captain Lacey Western will act as support crew.
The Rising Suns Surf Boat team is hoping to raise $150,000 for Soldier On, Legacy and the Urunga Surf Life Saving Club. To donate, visit https://soldieron.giveeasy.org/campaigns/gallipoli-100-surf-boat-race/.
Carol Lake and Freedom Centre co-ordinator Dani Wright Toussaint advocate for gender equality. Inset: Isabelle Lake and Dani.
Captain Lacey Western.