Medic shows the best of Australia in Iraq

Sarah Longshaw
Corporal Sarah Longshaw NSC
Nursing Service Cross (2004)
Corporal Sarah Longshaw NSC (Nursing Service Cross, 2004)

Corporal Sarah Longshaw is an Army ‘medic’ (the equivalent of a registered nurse in civilian life)

After serving with the Australian humanitarian mission in East Timor, Sarah was deployed to join Australian forces in Northern Iraq.

At times, she says, she wasn’t sure that she’d be coming home.

When a barrage of mortar rounds struck the army base where she was stationed, she was called to help seriously wounded Iraqi soldiers and civilian workers.

They were the worst injuries, she says, that she had ever seen.

Her professionalism in this perilous environment was described as ‘inspirational’ and resulted in the saving of a number of lives. On a second occasion a bomb blast caused further serious injuries to soldiers and staff who came under her care.

‘If I was asked, I’d go there again,’ says Sarah. ‘I learned enough Arabic to greet people, and we communicated by signs and drawings – often just using a stick to scratch a drawing on the ground.

‘We were met with amazing friendliness by Iraqi and Kurdish families. They shared their homes and their food with us and made us so welcome,’ she says.

Sarah’s actions in Iraq accord with the finest standards of the Medical Corps Service in the Australian Army.

Corporal Longshaw was awarded the Nursing Service Cross for outstanding service as the Medical Assistant on Operation Catalyst with the Australian Army Training Team in Northern Iraq.

Corporal Sarah Longshaw is an Army ‘medic’ (the equivalent of a registered nurse in civilian life)

After serving with the Australian humanitarian mission in East Timor, Sarah was deployed to join Australian forces in Northern Iraq.

At times, she says, she wasn’t sure that she’d be coming home.

When a barrage of mortar rounds struck the army base where she was stationed, she was called to help seriously wounded Iraqi soldiers and civilian workers.

They were the worst injuries, she says, that she had ever seen.

Her professionalism in this perilous environment was described as ‘inspirational’ and resulted in the saving of a number of lives. On a second occasion a bomb blast caused further serious injuries to soldiers and staff who came under her care.

‘If I was asked, I’d go there again,’ says Sarah. ‘I learned enough Arabic to greet people, and we communicated by signs and drawings – often just using a stick to scratch a drawing on the ground.

‘We were met with amazing friendliness by Iraqi and Kurdish families. They shared their homes and their food with us and made us so welcome,’ she says.

Sarah’s actions in Iraq accord with the finest standards of the Medical Corps Service in the Australian Army.

Corporal Longshaw was awarded the Nursing Service Cross for outstanding service as the Medical Assistant on Operation Catalyst with the Australian Army Training Team in Northern Iraq.