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February 2, 2012
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Female engagement team members, left to right, CPL Katie Lockwood,
SGT Sam Lund, SGT Bernadette Serong and interpreter Terri seek some shade during a mission in the
Karmisan Valley (above) as CAPT Lauren Brooke patrols in Tarin Kot (right).
Photos: ABIS Jo Dilorenzo
Focus on exposing life
ABIS Jo Dilorenzo spent six months last year in Afghanistan capturing images. MAJ
Lachlan Simond reflects on her achievements.
IN AN operational theatre, where
the majority of Navy personnel are
clearance divers, ABIS Jo Dilorenzo
served in a far more publicly exposed
role in Afghanistan.
ABIS Dilorenzo is a military photog-
rapher from the Canberra-based 1 Joint
Public Affairs Unit. She deployed to
Afghanistan in May last year as the single
Australian imagery specialist attached
to Combined Team-Uruzgan (CT-U) and
returned to Australia in time for Christmas.
"Working in CT-U was both challeng-
ing and rewarding," ABIS Dilorenzo said.
"It was a unique opportunity for me
as an ADF photographer because I got to
work with not only Australian personnel,
but also American military and a num-
ber of other government agencies such
as AusAID and Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade."
CT-U HQ is the unit responsible for
commanding and coordinating coalition
operations in Uruzgan province, which
meant ABIS Dilorenzo deployed on mis-
sions in support of Australian forces, the
US Army and Afghan National Security
Forces, and recorded other government
agency development and governmental
"I had the chance to record imagery of
American soldiers mentoring the Afghan
National Police as well as our mentors and
their Afghan National Army partners," she
"I also had the chance to cover
schoolchildren, development projects and
women's shuras that we've never recorded
before because of the gender of the major-
ity of deployed photographers."
ABIS Dilorenzo's imagery appeared
in Defence publications and in Australian
and international media. She was also
instrumental in developing and enhancing
CT-U's Facebook page, where much of her
work was showcased.
As well as her photographic and other
public affairs duties, ABIS Dilorenzo
became an important participant in the
Female Engagement Team (FET) mission.
ABIS Dilorenzo and a number of
other females from CT-U attended shuras
with women from across Uruzgan and
Daykundi provinces. These forums are
designed to enable Afghan women to raise
their concerns and ideas so that they can
be included in the process of stabilising
"The FET missions were amazing,"
ABIS Dilorenzo said.
"As well as photographing these unique
meetings, I got to meet and talk with
Afghan women and share their aspirations
and their frustrations. I may have been
wearing a uniform and they, the burqa, but
the connection was something I will never
ABIS Dilorenzo began life in the Navy
as a communicator before finding her pas-
sion in photography. Her change to the
Imagery Specialist trade, and her deploy-
ment to Afghanistan, meant she often
operated outside the wire with Mentoring
Task Force soldiers as they conducted mis-
sions to enhance the skills of the Afghan
National Army and to disrupt the insur-
gency within the province.
"The infantry and other Army person-
nel were incredibly friendly and support-
ive," she said.
"They realised how important it was to
record the images of what they were doing
and release them to the Australian and
wider audiences. I just hope the images
communicated to the public the great job
the guys are doing and the real success
they are achieving."
ABIS Dilorenzo's photos speak for
themselves and in many ways her images
informed people back home of what was
happening in Afghanistan and what opera-
tions looked like on the ground.
Her images ranged from the curious,
intense stares of young girls attending
school for the first time to the sad and
poignant imagery of flag-draped caskets of
soldiers going home for the last time.
In a largely Army-led environment,
ABIS Dilorenzo became an essential and
respected member of the CT-U and an
operator that every unit seeks to include on
Her reputation in the CT-U was best
summed up by the Commander CT-U, US
Army COL Bob Akam: "Give me 100 Jo
Dilorenzos and I could solve any problem
in the world, on any scale, in less than 24
HAPPY DAYS: A photo of a young girl from the Malalai Girl's
School in Tarin Kot.
Photo: ABIS Jo Dilorenzo
ON THE JOB: ABIS Jo Dilorenzo takes some photos as the
sun sets at Multinational Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.
Photo: POIS Damian Pawlenko
FINAL FAREWELL: Soldiers say goodbye to three fallen mates, CAPT Bryce
Duffy, CPL Ashley Birt and LCPL Luke Gavin, all killed in Afghanistan on
October 29, 2011, as they commence their journey home. Photo: ABIS Jo Dilorenzo
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