15 July 2021

Alumni News

Alumni News

In a recent write up by the Hawthorn RSL Sub Branch, the Vice President talks about one of our past students Jack Leamer-Alessi a recently returned soldier from deployment in Afghanistan.

Both Jack (pictured below) and his brother Harry are College Alumni that are currently serving in the ADF and are both based at 5RAR in Darwin . 

Jack, Class of 2016 and Harry, Class of 2018.

The Article is reproduced with permission of the Leamer-Alessi family:

For Hawthorns youngest member, Jack, deploying to Afghanistan within his first 3 years in the Army was a real dream come true, “It gave me a sense of accomplishment as one of the big reasons I joined was to one day deploy overseas. It was icing on a brand new cake that I got to achieve this so early in my career and hopefully it helps set me up for the rest of it”.

Originally from Geelong, Jack now lives in Darwin and is an Infantryman in the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. Despite his imposing size and strength, he’s a generous, selfless and humble young man. “Ever since I was young, being a soldier interested me.” Jack says, “As I grew up the interest never really faded and the more I researched and found out about jobs, the more I wanted to do it. Infantry stood out for me as its tough, hard and needs real dedication. It also gave me an opportunity to serve my country which family members before me had done as well. It’s a great feeling to carry that tradition on and hopefully I live up to it.”

Deploying as a force protection Infantryman and Bushmaster PMV driver, Jack loved the opportunity to interact with the Afghan locals and see the country, especially from the drivers seat of his Bushmaster, “As much as there was a lot of downtime due to COVID, the times when we were doing things it was always really varied. There was always something new I got to experience and that makes the down times worth it in the end”. Jack explained, “Being able to watch the footy in the middle of Afghanistan was pretty crazy too, but pretty good seeing as the Cats have been doing well this year! I’d avoid checking the scores during the day, and then usually at night the boys and I would sit down around a TV or someone’s laptop to watch the replay. That made home feel a lot closer”.

Jack met the Hawthorn RSL Sub Branch Vice President during his pre-deployment training and they bonded over having excellent moustaches. While Eamon wasn’t able to convince him to Corps transfer to Cavalry, Jack was inspired to join the RSL. “I think mateship is the most important part of the Defence Force, and Hawthorn RSL is a place that has that same mateship, regardless of the generation or service you belong too. We’re all linked by service, wherever and however we served.”

Friendships are important to Jack, and he’s passionate about looking out for his mates, “Proper mateship makes everything run smoothly and the mates I have made, especially whilst being deployed, are the single most important thing I have taken from being in the army. It’s a bunch of blokes that I know I can message or call at any stage in my life regardless of how much we see each other. And that’s why I got involved with a traditional RSL Sub-Branch. Even though I’m in Darwin, I think its important to be part of a club like Hawthorn. I really believe in what they stand for. They’re not just there for when blokes hit hard time; they provide really good social networking and its a good place to just go and chill out with people who understand what its like to do this job.”

Jack comes from a big family, and said that their support has been a huge help over the past 7 months, “My family have always been really supportive, but I suspect they weren’t too thrilled about me deploying, my mum especially! Despite that, there was never a moment they would let me see it. They’ve been positive and there for me throughout. It was always ongoing support which makes it easier being away. Its great to know I’ve got them all in my corner. It really helps.”

Currently in post-deployment quarantine in the Northern Territory, Jack will be heading back to Victoria at the first opportunity, “I’m really looking forward to just taking some time off and relaxing. Nothing crazy, just seeing my family, having a few beers with the boys, and watching Geelong win the Grand Final in a month! After so long away, I’m keen to kick back and enjoy leave”

We’re proud of Jack and honoured for him to be part of our Sub-Branch. He’s a great example of what a modern service member of the RSL looks like.

Thanks for your service, Big Chisel. The first few VBs are on us when you get back down here!