Damian Thomas O’SHEA was interviewed by Margaret Tickle for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) in August 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Damian Thomas O’Shea was born in 1971 at Maryborough in central Victoria.
He schooled at Maryborough and Ballarat and left at the end of Year 11. His emphasis at school was on physical fitness and playing a variety of sports, especially Australian Rules football.
A friend suggested he should enlist in the army and, after recruit training at Kapooka near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, he was streamed to infantry. He went to Townsville as part of the 1st Battalion Bravo Company. He found no difficulty in keeping up with the demands of obstacle courses and exercises and enjoyed the discipline of army life.
In response to an appeal for humanitarian aid for Somalia, in January 1993 Bravo Company 1st Battalion flew to Mogadishu and travelled by road to Baidoa in the central part of the southern section of the Somalia.
Their mission was to secure an area of roughly 17 000 square miles around Baidoa for the distribution of food aid to the impoverished people. War lords had taken control and gang violence and fighting had seen the infrastructure brought to ruin. No schools were operating and the hospital was compromised.
The army provided security around the airport and for food distribution trucks. They patrolled urban areas and the countryside setting up roadblocks and searching vehicles and people, mainly for firearms.
Damian left the army six months after the 17 week deployment in Somalia.
He married Natalie and has two children. They moved to Busselton in 2001.
Damian plays golf, is a contributor in coaching junior sport and is involved in the Busselton Surf Club. His son umpires junior football following the example of his dad in service to the community.