A long career behind the camera

20 November 2023

After more than 47 years behind the lens, Warrant Officer Don Kenny still likes nothing more than to take the perfect shot.

Warrant Officer Kenny’s long-term service to Air Force and the broader ADF was formally acknowledged with the recent awarding of a second Federation Star, which recognises 45 years in the military.

Growing up in Geelong and moving to Queensland to finish his senior schooling in the late 1970s, he enlisted in the Citizens Military Force in November 1977, now known as the Army Reserves.

After graduating from Year 12 and a short stint as a cameraman with Channel 9, he followed in his father’s footsteps to pursue his photographic passion by transferring from Army to the permanent Air Force in 1979.

“This started a 27-year service in the permanent Air Force, which was a great thing ‘being paid to do your hobby’,” Warrant Officer Kenny said.

His service career includes 13 postings, served in all states of Australia, as well as tours overseas.

Reflecting on his time in Air Force, he said two career highlights stood out.

“My most memorable experience was during 1994 when I led a small team in looking at alternative camera systems for 92 Wing maritime patrol,” Warrant Officer Kenny said.

“Eventually the Navy funded my project of the first maritime digital camera system to the RAAF. For recognition I partook in the first operation patrol, using the new Kodak/Nikon system.

“The other highlight was in 2003 when posted to be the Officer-in-Charge of the Air Force’s Photographic Flight at East Sale. I noted the school still did not teach digital photography on the basic course, so I undertook discussions with the Australian National Training Authority to develop a training package to align with current workplace requirements within the ADF.

“This achieved more current vocational education and training that was in line with modern work practices.”

Despite a career spanning five decades, Warrant Officer Kenny said he had no plans to pack away the camera and retire in the short term.

“While I am blessed with good health, I would like to continue serving the nation, both as a reserve liaison officer and imagery specialist,” Warrant Officer Kenny said.



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