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John Youd - King Island

A King Island resident is working to bring peace and security to the Middle East.

Royal Australian Air Force Warrant Officer, John Youd, is currently deployed as a Base Armament Manager in the Middle East Region where he reports to the Commanding Officer on all matter to do with explosive ordnance.

His job involves storage, accountability and employment of explosive ordnance across all Australian Defence Force (ADF) platforms in the area of operations. He also deals with their disposal when required.

“I am currently undertaking my career-long dream, which is to be deployed to the Middle East Region,” John said.

“This is my first operational deployment of my career, although I have deployed on dozens of exercises in such places as Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Guam, New Zealand and extensively around Australia.

“To be a part of Operation Accordion and in turn represent my trade, service, the ADF and the people of Australia makes me very proud,” he said.

In a career spanning almost forty years John has served in both the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force, in his current job.

After completing early schooling on mainland Tasmania he moved to King Island to eventually graduate year ten.

Life on King Island, with its clean environment and friendly locals, is idyllic, according to John who said there are a diversity of things to do in the un-spoilt landscape including fishing, diving and shooting.

John said while growing up he had many part time jobs from working in Hobart during the school holidays to labouring on his grandparent’s farm.

“I used to shoot and skin possums to sell their hides, obviously it was a different time back then,” he said.

“My main part-time job was working at the local shop where I was responsible for fuel and shop sales.

“Any till discrepancies came from my meagre 50c per hour wage, so I had to be on the ball.”

John joined the Navy in 1975, at 16, as a junior recruit at HMAS Leeuwin, where he spent 12 months before posting to HMAS Albatross, Nowra to join the Fleet Air Arm.

After training as an Air Technical Weapons Ordnance sailor John said his favourite posting was on the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, from 1978-9.

“I worked with the A4 Skyhawk jet aircraft, this was a fantastic period of my life,” he said.

“I was trained in all kinds of explosive ordnance, munitions, weapons systems and ejection seats”.

By November 1984 John had transferred from the RAN to the RAAF and found himself enjoying a posting to a fighter squadron as an armament technician.

“I spent from 1988-2000 with 77SQN working with the ‘classic’ FA-18 Hornet aircraft,” he said.

“In 2014 I was posted to 75SQN, again on the classic Hornets, at RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory.

75SQN Armament technicians, or Gunnies as they are known, are responsible for the safe fitting of bombs, missiles, guns and counter-measures to the ‘classic’ FA-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, as well as the arming, de-arming and servicing of the ejection seats.

John said another career highlight was his time spent in operational fighter squadrons where he got to consolidate his training in seeing Australia’s strike aircraft, the FA-18 Hornet, armed and used in its primary role.

John plans on returning to King Island after completing his fortieth year in the ADF. This will earn him one of Defence’s highest long-service accolades, the Federation Star, which will go on his Defence Long Service Medal alongside his Australian Defence Medal and Operational Service Medal, which he has qualified for while on his current deployment.