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Squadron Leader Rob Saunders

ADF Service: I joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1984 as a Technologist Apprentice and, upon leaving Wagga Wagga, posted to RAAF Base Williamtown to work on the then new F-18A aircraft.

In 1995 I posted to Canberra to work in various aircraft and air weapons projects. Involvement in these projects provided the opportunity to work in Israel and the United States.

During 2010-2012 I was heavily involved with establishing the airworthiness requirements that enabled the HERON Unmanned Aerial System to operate in Australia.

I deployed to Afghanistan in 2014-2015 with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). In 2016, I returned there to work with the Train Advise Assist Command team.

Age: 53

Hometown: Cairns, Queensland

Current town: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Competing in: Sailing

Squadron Leader Rob Saunders

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

Not all injuries are visible, but due to the fantastic support from my family and the ADF - including the opportunity to be involved with the Invictus Games - I am on the road to recovery.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

From the time I was seven years old, I have competed in sports, (soccer, baseball and sailing). However, following my last deployment, I lost interest in all recreational activities.

The camaraderie and resilience shown by the athletes at the Invictus Games has greatly reinvigorated my passion for sport, especially sailing with a great team.

For me, sport has not always been about winning. It’s about how you play the game and it’s about the social interaction.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

My family is my best and most enjoyable achievement to date. I have a very supportive wife and fantastic children.

Another achievement I am proud of is NORTHSAIL, a personal and leadership program that I developed. This program took ADF personnel (civilian and military) offshore and provided them with an environment to extend themselves beyond their perceived barriers, while growing as individuals and as part of a team.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

I have been forcing myself to get back into sport and Invictus Games 2018 was a fantastic opportunity to return to a sport that I love.

What will “winning” look like for you at these Games?

Conquering my personal challenges, while building mental strength and resilience, through being part of a team that performs to its best.

The person I most admire is…

My wife. As a family, we have faced some very difficult challenges and my wife has always been resilient, resourceful and strong.