Our People in VICFrancis Alcantara - Prahran
Prahran’s Francis Alcantara has travelled far and wide since his birth in Spain. After settling in Australia with his family in the 1960’s he and his brother won scholarships to Melbourne Boys High School. Now he’s a grandfather and featured in a book by defence journalist Ian McPhedran.
“I cannot remember a time I did not want to join Defence,” said Francis, now a Flight Sergeant in the RAAF. “You could say I achieved my school boy dream as this is all I have ever wanted to do.”
Francis first joined the Royal Australian Navy, then left to undertake Nursing Studies at Preston and Northcote Community and the Alfred Hospitals in Melbourne. “I chose to re-enlist in the ADF in 1986 and selected Air Force as most of my mates that I knew in the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm had come across to RAAF,” he said. “I have been with Air Force ever since and have no plans to leave until I retire!”
Having trained as an Advanced Medic, Francis also qualified as a Pathology Technician, ADF Survival Instructor, Aeromedical Evacuation Nurse, ADF Driver Training & Testing Officer (DTO), and Registered Medicine Endorsed Nurse.
In thirty years of service Francis has served nearly everywhere that the ADF could send him. These experiences have included Rwanda, Timor, the Bali Bombings, Malaysia, chasing illegal fishing boats, and Iraq to name a few.
“My stand out military moments would have to be both my service in Rwanda, and chasing the boat Viarsa 1 which took us through the Great Southern and South Atlantic Oceans - it was the longest sea chase in Australian maritime history,” he said. “These two trips and others have made me the person I am today.”
Flight Sergeant Alcántara’s exploits have now been featured in the upcoming book Air Force by Ian McPhedran, available since 1 August.
“I believe in old fashion values,” he said, “duty, honour and country, and I’m proud to serve under those beliefs.”So what does the adventurous father and grandfather like doing with his free time? “The thing I like doing the most is spending as much time as possible with all my family,” he said.