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Matthew Burke - Maryborough

Maryborough State High School 24 graduate Matthew Burke says training and travel motivated him to undertake a trade as an Aircraft Technician.

Matthew joined the Air Force after realising he could not only get trade training in a worthwhile career, but also be able to access travel opportunities.  Now a Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) specialising as an Aircraft Technician on Australia’s iconic AP-3C Orion aircraft, he has already travelled to most parts of Australia.

Matthew and his colleagues in No.11 Squadron are presently training with the United States military in Exercise Talisman Saber 13 and based at the RAAF Base at Garbutt in Townsville.  As they do every day, the crew ensures the aircraft are ready for missions related to the exercise, but more importantly ready at very short notice in case of a sudden search and rescue mission in the oceans surrounding Australia.

“A normal day’s work on exercise is pretty much the same as any other day; we make sure everything is in working order to ensure a safe flight for the crew”, LAC Burke said.

“Whether it is looking for wear and tear on components or replacing parts according to our maintenance schedules, we make sure the aircraft is always ready to respond to the task it is allocated”.

Because safety at sea is a 24-hour task, during maritime patrols or exercises, a lot of Orion flights take place at night and crews work shift work.

“We get to travel across the country and the bonus of working on aircraft is, that it isn’t boring like working on cars can be”, LAC Burke said.

“I like to get home to the farm and family and enjoy the 100 acres we share with our beef cattle in southern Queensland.  It’s also good to occasionally catch up with mates I used to play league with at Rovers Rugby League Club”.

Matthew is one of  7000 Australian Defence personnel taking part in Exercise Talisman Saber 2013, a biennial combined Australian and United States (US) training activity, designed to train our respective military forces in planning and conducting Combined Task Force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between our respective forces.

 This exercise is a major undertaking that reflects the closeness of our alliance and the strength of the ongoing military-military relationship.