Brent Jeffrey from Patterson Lakes has come a long way since being crowned Australian ballroom dancing champion and joining the Royal Australian Air Force.
Leading Aircraftman Jeffrey, 28, has been working deep inside the Australian Defence Force’s communications nerve centre in the Middle East, where his work supports operations in Afghanistan.
A command centre at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates is probably the last place you would expect to find the 2007 National Ballroom dance champion.
But since joining the Air Force in 2010, Leading Aircraftsman (LAC) Jeffrey has relished being an ordinary person who does extraordinary things for his country.
“It is an extraordinary job to be the Communications and Information Systems Controller (CISCON) attached to Headquarters Joint Task force 633 (JTF 633),” he said.
LAC Jaffrey said he joined the Air Force because he wanted to be a jet pilot, but instead became a communications specialist.
“My job is to establish deployable networks capable of supporting hundreds of deployed members in remote locations across the world,” said LAC Jeffrey.
LAC Jeffrey underwent 36 weeks of initial instruction, followed by two years of training on network routers, switches and windows servers before delving into the world of satellite communications.
That is not bad for someone whose career began servicing colour printers in central Victoria.
“Before joining the Air Force I was a member of a Colour Management Cell that installed, configured and serviced large format printers for big name press house and photographers all around Victoria,” he said.
When LAC Jeffery returns home early next year he is looking forward to four-wheel driving and camping throughout rural Victoria and New South Wales.
LAC Jeffrey is particularly interested in visiting his parents, Sharryn Lowrie who lives in Gippsland, and Tony Jeffrey, who lives in Patterson Lakes.
“I will have a lot of stories to tell my family and friends when I get back home, because this deployment to the Middle East is something I will never forget,” he said.
“It’s been a real challenge but working with a great bunch of people and always having a laugh has made my time here extremely enjoyable.”