Small rural townships provide Australians of all backgrounds a rich and relevant background to succeed at whatever they do, and Lindenow's John Fountain is no exception.
Educated at Lindenow State Primary School and High School at Bairnsdale High has given Flight Sergeant John Fountain the start he needed to pursue a career with the Royal Australian Air Force and now deployed in the Middle East Region with Australia's Air Task Group.
In the critical role of Watchkeeper, FSGT Fountain is a crucial link in keeping communication and information flowing between all Australian and coalition partner elements in the Middle East Region.
"I joined the Air Force in 1993 for a change of career after working with VIC Roads and QLD Transport as a surveyor," said FSGT Fountain.
"I was looking for job satisfaction – the type of satisfaction I had received from 20 years playing with the Lindenow Cricket Club and the sort of satisfaction you get from being involved in team activities such as those I had with Lindenow, Bairnsdale and Paynesville Football Clubs.
"I figured that the Air Force, with the opportunity to travel and the very interesting and challenging Air Surveillance Intelligence work they offered, would give me the sort of satisfying experience I had with my sporting interests.
"I have got to work with, and meet, a broad range of people through exercises, deployments and now on operations with Air Task Group on Operation OKRA.
"Air Force has allowed me to travel to every state in Australia except Tasmania and to add even more job satisfaction I received an Australia Day medallion, and the Operational Service Medal (Greater Middle East Region) along the way," he said.
FSGT Fountain was inspired by his father's Second World War service in joining the Air Force, but family is still the main focus in his life.
"My wife Sandy and I have four children and when we are not doing what families do, we enjoy fishing, golf and camping.
"This is my first deployment on operations and when it is over Sandy and I will hit the golf course, drop a line in the water and cook up the fish we catch on our camp Bar B Que," FSGT Fountain said.
The Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East Region (MER).
The ATG comprises six RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the ‘Kingpin’ US tactical Command and Control Unit.