Two teenage boys, Jack and James, both from Perth, are in the middle of a three-year war of attrition.
They’ve just arrived at the frontline and their mission is to secure a safe haven in the city of Camp Bastion.
James, 15, says he was the first to arrive and has never really thought about it, and he says he hasn’t had the same feelings about the war as his peers, who were all there to fight.
Jack, 15 years old, says it was different.
“I was the youngest and most impressionable,” he says.
“When I came here I was still very young.
My parents were both involved in the armed forces and I wasn’t a particularly active boy.
I thought it was weird.”
I thought it wasn’t fair.
I felt like I was being thrown in a cage and it wasn’ a really dangerous situation.
“It was not until James was in Vietnam in the early 1970s that he began to think about the conflict.
After being drafted into the Australian Defence Force, he returned to Perth with his family in 1981, where they lived for two years before moving to Canberra.
He was there from 1986 until the end of his service.
He now has a two-year-old daughter, Kayla.
The war was also his first experience of homelessness.
He says the experience of living on the streets was different from his experience of being homeless in the suburbs.
As a young teenager in 1981 Jack says he couldn’t find a job, which meant he spent his nights sleeping in public parks and in basements.
His first experience was of being asked to take part in a “sport”.
Jack says he remembers being asked if he wanted to be drafted into “The Great War” by the then prime minister, Bob Hawke.
When he arrived in the Canberra area he says his life had changed.
I’d never had a job before and I was looking for one that I could have a good life for.
It just didn’t happen, he says, and the experiences of the war were not what he wanted.
Eventually, he was drafted into Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a gunner, and spent four years in the sea, including during Operation Varsity, which saw the sinking of the Japanese carrier Yamato in March 1945.
During his time in the RAN he was in charge of two battleships, the USS Yorktown and the USS San Francisco, and a submarine base at RAAF Station Dickson.
In addition to his military career, Jack is a keen sportsman.
While he’s not an elite athlete, he’s been seen in several sporting events.
For one of his favourite events he’s attended is the Melbourne Cup, which he describes as a “huge football event” held every two years.
There are four rounds and, in each round, there’s a different prize, such as a gold medal or the chance to compete in the world championships.
If he’s playing, he often participates in an indoor rugby match, but he’s also a regular attendee at the annual Perth Rugby League (PRL) tournament.
Like most teenage boys in the 1970s, Jack also participated in football.
He played in the local rugby league league for a couple of years before deciding to leave the sport to become a rugby league player.
And like most teenage footballers he’s got a passion for the game.
“And we got chatting, and we said ‘Hey, Jack, do you want to go to the stadium?’ “
They were all in the same spot,” Jack says.
Jack says the game was an absolute blast. “
It turned out they were actually all there for a rugby match at a nearby football ground, and they were going to have a special game.
Jack says the game was an absolute blast.
That night Jack was at a football match, which was also held at a neighbouring football ground.
With the game going on in the rain and the game being played in a field, Jack got his mates to bring him to the game, and after a few minutes he realised what he was going to do.
So he asked one of the other boys if he could help him.
A couple of minutes later he had his back to the field and was tackled by one of those boys.
Then he had to make sure his mates were still there and didn’t have to help him up.
But he didn’t want to give up on the game so he told them “Yeah, come on boys, let’s go and kick the ball.”
He took a couple more kicks before he was tackled again.
Finally, one of them tackled him and this time he didn’ have a choice.
He could either have kicked the ball out or not, so