Jean Marc Bukasa

Jean Marc graduated from Cedars in 2014 and with a heart to serve and defend his new country, he became an Australian citizen and three days later was accepted into the Australian Army.   He completed his Army training in 2015.

Jean’s family, including his four brothers who also attend Cedars or have graduated from the College, originally lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo and fled to Zambia to escape oppression by the military when Jean Marc was only seven years old. Jean Marc spent many years of his childhood in refugee camps and was not always sure where his next meal would come from, often having only one meal a day.

“We loved to play soccer as often as we could as it was the one thing that took our minds off our situation or the hunger we felt.”

Cedars became a safe place for Jean Marc and his brothers and he has fond memories of his years there.  “I value the friendships I made and the teachers who encouraged me to achieve the goals I set for myself.”

Jean comes from a culture of respect and honour.  He looked up to his teachers and parents who helped lead and give him vision for his future.

Since joining the Army, Jean Marc has been posted in both Iraq and Malaysia.  Being in both countries brought unique challenges including the intense jungle training in Malaysia and seeing the war torn country of Iraq. “I became very fond of the Iraqi people.”

Jean is keen to achieve the goals he has set for himself in life. “I am studying criminology part time while I continue to serve in the Army and I hope to become a criminologist or be in the Federal Police in the future.”

He does not lack in vision or ambition to be successful in whatever path he chooses to take.  “My parents and teachers have helped teach me to be the best you can be and to pursue your dreams no matter where you have come from in life.”

Jean has kept a very strong belief in God which he has taken with him throughout his years in the Army.  It is a faith that has given him strength in the darkest of times and will continue with him into the future.

Australian Army soldier Private Jean Marc Bukasa, 19, from 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, on active service in Iraq with Task Group Taji at Taji Military Complex, 20km north of Baghdad, on 21 June 2016. *** Local Caption *** The teenage Australian soldiers are from Task Group Taji’s Training Task Unit, which is training the Iraqi Army to defeat the Daesh terrorist group. Their job is to protect the trainers and trainees. They are drawn from the Adelaide-based 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. Task Group Taji personnel, which include around 300 Australians and 100 New Zealanders, are based at the Taji Military Complex 20km north of Baghdad. They are training the Iraqi Army as part of the broader international Building Partner Capacity mission. The training includes weapons handling, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques, as well as instruction in the tactics, techniques and procedures for section through to company-level operations for use in the fight against Daesh. Australia’s participation in Task Group Taji is part of its broader Defence contribution to Iraq, codenamed Operation OKRA, which includes a Special Operations Task Group and an Air Task Group.
Australian Army soldier Private Jean Marc Bukasa, 19, from 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, on active service in Iraq with Task Group Taji at Taji Military Complex, 20km north of Baghdad, on 21 June 2016.
Australian Army soldiers from catch up on the news from home while on active service in Iraq, from left: Private (PTE) Blake Langbein from Canberra; PTE Jean Marc Bukasa from Wollongong; PTE Stuart Attleir from Mitcham in Melbourne; PTE Ashley Boyd from the Gold Coast; and PTE Lachlan McKay from Waikerie in South Australia. *** Local Caption *** The Australian soldiers are from Task Group Taji’s Training Unit, which is training the Iraqi Army to defeat the Daesh terrorist group. Their job is to protect the trainers and trainees, and they have been nick-named “guardian angels” as a result. They are drawn from the Adelaide-based 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group Taji personnel, which include around 300 Australians and 100 New Zealanders, are based at the Taji Military Complex 20km north of Baghdad. They are training the Iraqi Army as part of the broader international Building Partner Capacity mission. The training includes weapons handling, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques, as well as instruction in the tactics, techniques and procedures for section through to company-level operations for use in the fight against Daesh. Australia’s participation in Task Group Taji is part of its broader Defence contribution to Iraq, codenamed Operation OKRA, which includes a Special Operations Task Group and an Air Task Group.
Australian Army soldiers from catch up on the news from home while on active service in Iraq, from left: Private (PTE) Blake Langbein from Canberra; PTE Jean Marc Bukasa from Wollongong; PTE Stuart Attleir from Mitcham in Melbourne; PTE Ashley Boyd from the Gold Coast; and PTE Lachlan McKay from Waikerie in South Australia.
Australian Army soldiers Private Jean Marc Bukasa (left) and Corporal Stefan Pitruzzello join Iraqi Army soldiers in a celebratory dance following their football match at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq. *** Local Caption *** Australian soldiers in Iraq played a football match against Iraqi Army soldiers ahead of the 1 September 2016 World Cup qualifier between the two nations. The match was played at the Iraqi Army’s NCO Academy at the Taji Military Complex, 20km north of Baghdad. The Iraqi team won 5-2. The Australians are deployed with Task Group Taji as part of the international coalition’s Building Partner Capacity mission, which is training the Iraqi Army as it moves to defeat the Daesh terrorist group. The training includes weapons handling, combat first aid, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques, as well as instruction in the tactics, techniques and procedures for squad through to company-level operations for use in the fight against Daesh. Task Group Taji includes around 300 Australians, 100 New Zealanders, 80 Britons, and 70 interpreters. Australia’s Defence contribution to Iraq is named Operation OKRA, and also includes Special Operations Task Group and an Air Task Group.
Australian Army soldiers Private Jean Marc Bukasa (left) and Corporal Stefan Pitruzzello join Iraqi Army soldiers in a celebratory dance following their football match at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq.
Australian Army soldier Private Jean Marc Bukasa sidesteps an opponent during a football match against Iraqi Army soldiers at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq. *** Local Caption *** Australian soldiers in Iraq played a football match against Iraqi Army soldiers ahead of the 1 September 2016 World Cup qualifier between the two nations. The match was played at the Iraqi Army’s NCO Academy at the Taji Military Complex, 20km north of Baghdad. The Iraqi team won 5-2. The Australians are deployed with Task Group Taji as part of the international coalition’s Building Partner Capacity mission, which is training the Iraqi Army as it moves to defeat the Daesh terrorist group. The training includes weapons handling, combat first aid, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques, as well as instruction in the tactics, techniques and procedures for squad through to company-level operations for use in the fight against Daesh. Task Group Taji includes around 300 Australians, 100 New Zealanders, 80 Britons, and 70 interpreters. Australia’s Defence contribution to Iraq is named Operation OKRA, and also includes Special Operations Task Group and an Air Task Group.
Australian Army soldier Private Jean Marc Bukasa sidesteps an opponent during a football match against Iraqi Army soldiers at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq.

Student Interview with Jean Marc