Base visit inspires future Indigenous aviators

Participants in the Indigenous Youth Program visited RAAF Base Townsville from September 20-22 to experience Air Force life and possible career options.
Indigenous Youth Program student

The program is a crucial part of Defence work experience, but this was the first time it has included a visit to RAAF Base Townsville.

The Townsville-based students visited all the No. 27 Squadron sub-units, the Combat Survival Training School, the health centre, and Nos. 65 Air Base Recovery Squadron, 383 Squadron, 2 Security Forces Squadron and 452 Squadron.

Mirani State High School student Andrea Cole said she was inspired to join the ADF because of her great-grandfather, Keith Payne VC, who served in Korea and Vietnam, and her great-grandmother, who was a nurse. Andrea said she would like to be a mechanic.

“My favourite part of the visit was to experience the automotive side of things – I got to visit the trucks and start them up,” she said. “I want to be a mechanic working on big trucks one day.”

Students participated in physical training sessions and ate in the aviators’ mess, with the opportunity to have a one-on-one lunch with Air Force members to discuss career paths and get advice on the service lifestyle.

This program also gave current serving Indigenous liaison officer Flight Lieutenant Tramaine Dukes the opportunity to mentor, support and inspire the Indigenous youths.

Kirwan State High School student Lachlan Adidi said he wanted to join the Air Force as aircrew in the future.

“I do love a good challenge, something that can push me further to my best self,” Lachlan said.

“I want to join Air Force as a loadmaster, avionics technician or pilot, or in any other aircrew role.

“I was inspired by seeing many jets flying over Townsville, especially during Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 when I saw the [United States Marine Corps] Osprey at night time.”

The RAAF aviators at Townsville created a positive environment for the students to showcase the Defence lifestyle and prepare the students for future careers.

Story by Flying Officer Veronika Koroleva - September 2021