Erina resident, David Ball, has come along way since joining the Royal Australian Air Force as a reservist and undertaking his first operational deployment with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
David is now Flight Lieutenant Ball, who is serving in the Middle East as a medical specialist.
He has come along way since taking leave earlier this year from his full-time job as a Gosford hospital nurse and a specialist flight nurse for Careflight.
David, 41, is currently serving with the 3rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, which is based at the headquarters of Australian Joint Task force 633 in the United Arab Emirates.
David is the second in command of the health facility, which is based inside the ADF compound at Al Minhad Air Base.
The job has many challenges.
“I coordinate the treatment and ongoing care of Australian and Coalition forces throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan,” he said.
“I also provide Airfield Emergency Response and undertake Aeromedical Evacuation of patients.”
To be qualified for the specialist position, David had to complete the Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation and Aviation Nursing Officer courses, as well as extensive trauma and critical care training.
David said working on deployment comes with a very special set of rewards.
“The teamwork and camaraderie within the medical section and the wider task unit is amazing,” he said.
“All members are from different units across Australia and there is a sense of working with ‘like minded’ people, in serving and enabling operations.”
An experience like this does not come without a cost particularly in regards to loved ones back home on the Central Coast.
“I really appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of my family back home in Erina, specially my wife, Kylie,” he said.
“It is not easy to have your partner serving his country while far away from home for months on end.”
As an air force reservist, when David completes his deployment he will return to Gosford Hospital and his role with Careflight. But not before receiving the Australian Active Service and Afghanistan Campaign medals for serving his country.