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David Jobson - Broken Hill

As a young boy in Broken Hill, David Jobson used to race down to the local airport and watch the planes take off, which fuelled a passion for aircraft and wanting to fix them.

Today, Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Jobson is deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan on Operation Highroad, providing mentoring support to the Afghan Air Force.

He is embedded with the USAF 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Train Advise Assist Command – Air (TAAC-Air) team, developing training packages for the Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators (ATACs).

At the age of 16 David broke with Broken Hill tradition and enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force.

"Back then, the tradition was that if you didn't go on to Year 12 you left school at the end of Year 10 to do an apprenticeship either at the mines or local council," he said.

"A friend of mine said he was joining the Air Force, so I resigned from my apprenticeship at the zinc mine and followed suit to embark on an adventure."

FLTLT Jobson said that a long career working with aircraft weaponry and as an instructor qualified him for his deployed role.

"I joined the Air Force in 1987 as an aircraft armament technician and went on to work at the Defence Explosives Ordnance Training School as an instructor where I reached the rank of Sergeant before commissioning as an Armament Engineering Officer in 2007," he said.

"Here I'm using my instructional and training development background to enhance their training program and to develop an appropriate training curriculum for the ATAC course."

Over the next few months, FLTLT Jobson will spend much of his time in the classroom or on Hunter Range where the Afghan students will practice calling-in air weapon strikes.

"The Afghan Air Force is relatively young and needs more air-ground controllers to conduct close air attack strikes in support of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces operations," he said.

"My role is to assist training ATACs to a mission qualified standard and also instruct qualified ATACs so that they can then teach and assess other Afghan officers to become ATACs - basically it's 'teach the teacher'.

"The goal end-state is to get as many ATACs out there as possible so that their Air Force can become self-sufficient."

Despite having been deployed to Afghanistan twice previously in his career, this will be his first six-month deployment working alongside the Afghan military.

"In 2011 and 2012 I deployed on Operation Slipper to conduct explosive ordinance risk assessments, however this is my first time being on an extended deployment working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghans," he said.

Recently, FLTLT Jobson spent Anzac Day in Kabul commemorating those who have served the nation before him.

"I was quite excited to be in Afghanistan for Anzac Day - I felt there was a lot more significance being here," he said.

"Being on operation you feel a lot closer to those who have been here before you and who sacrificed their lives.

Despite the satisfaction he feels with helping the Afghans, FLTLT Jobson said he is missing his family back home.

On his return to Australia he will look to catch up on time spent apart from his wife and children and perhaps visit Broken Hill airport to watch the planes take off, where it all began.

"Broken Hill is a very small and close-knit community. I am very proud to be from Broken Hill and take every opportunity I can to tell people I'm from there," he said.