Rhys saw the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, part of Richmond’s 386 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (ECSS), training in their bomb suit.
A long family history in the military and a passion for machines could see a Sydney youngster embark on a career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Rhys Edwards says Defence is in his blood. His great grandfather served in World War 1 as did his great-great uncle who was killed at Passchendaele, France in 1917.
Rhys’s grandfather and great uncle both served at Milne Bay in New Guinea during World War 2, delivering what Rhys calls “a strong call for me to also serve”.
When he finished school in 2012, Rhys enrolled in a Mechanical Fundamentals course at TAFE, the practical part of which led him to RAAF Base Richmond, in North West Sydney.
“Being on-base really opened my eyes to the size and scale of what the Air Force does, as well as the huge number of jobs and career opportunities there are,” Rhys said.
“It was arranged for me to complete two weeks of Work Experience through MEOMS – the Mechanical Equipment Operations and Maintenance Section at 22 Squadron and I loved it,” he said.
“I got to see a Panther up close – that’s the 6 wheeled Airfield Fire Truck they use”.
“It was amazing watching the fire-fighters train. Just one water cannon on the Panther had enough size and power to bend a tree.”
“Just imagine what it would do to a fire. I was super-impressed!”
Also impressive for the 21 year old was going inside a United States C17 Globemaster as it visited RAAF Base Richmond.
“I’ve seen the Globemaster in the air before, but to get so close and then be able to climb in one was mind-blowing,” he enthused.
“Three of the crew were actually playing Frisbee inside the belly of the plane. That’s how big it was”. As a result of his work experience placement, Rhys is going to do two things.
“Firstly, I’m going to get my driver’s licence. Then I’m going to apply to the Air Force to work on aircraft – either as air crew or ground personnel”
“I want to continue my family tradition in the Defence Force.”