Legends of the grim fighting in Papua New Guinea during World War 2 might have shocked some boys, but one Tasmanian lad used them as a springboard to a quarter-century career that has him deployed to the Middle East.
Growing up in Claremont, Squadron Leader Brett MacDonald said he was interested in joining the Defence Force primarily because of his grandfather.
"My grandfather had a massive influence on me growing up," Brett said.
"He served in Papua New Guinea during World War II and I wanted to follow in his footsteps and do my bit and serve my country.
"My father also served in the National Service during the Vietnam War so we have a fair bit of military service in my family."
After graduating from Rosetta High School and later Hobart College, Brett spent three months working at Claremont Purity.
Having gained insight into life in the Defence Force from several years in the Air Force Cadets he decided to work full-time in a tougher role.
"I wanted to challenge myself and to experience life in a different environment," he said.
"I spent the first 17 years of my Air Force career as an Airfield Defence Guard and for the past nine years I've been a Personnel Capability Officer.
"My roles have been so different over the years and I've had so many incredible experiences in the Air Force.
"Apart from the friendships that you build within Defence, the Air Force has provided me the opportunity to broaden my skills in a wide range of different roles.
"Most of the days can be challenging but every day has been rewarding."
When he returns home from this second operational deployment Squadron Leader MacDonald is looking forward to spending time with his family and getting involved with his local football team.
"I really enjoy being involved with my local footy team back home," he said.
"I played for the Claremont Juniors and Lindisfarne Seniors growing up, and both my boys played football for their local team wherever the Air Force took us."
Squadron Leader MacDonald is currently serving in the Middle East as the Detachment Commander for the Expeditionary Airbase Operations Unit supporting the Air Task Group for Operation OKRA.
His role involves delivering workforce management expertise including human resource and complex case management, knowledge management and finance.
The Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East region.
The ATG comprises seven RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the 'Kingpin' US tactical Command and Control Unit.