On 31 March 2021, the Royal Australian Air Force commemorates the centenary of service to Australia.  The Australian Air Force was formed on 31 March 1921 as an independent service and the third arm of Australia’s military forces.  The prefix ‘Royal’ was acquired with effect in August that year after approval was granted by King George V. 

 EMM’s Defence Sector Leader Victoria Buchanan commented:

“We congratulate the Royal Australian Air Force on their centenary celebration.  This is a significant milestone in the history of our nation, and we give our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have and continue to serve all Australians in the RAAF – both at home and abroad.”

To mark this occasion, we asked our retired RAAF team members Andrew Badham and Hugo Cannon to share their then, now and always reflections.

Andrew Badham 

A/Warrant Officer Base Armament Manager (21 years full time and 8 years as a reservist)

I started out as an apprentice in 1988 and went on to work on the armament systems of multiple aircraft including Macchi, PC-9, Squirrel helicopter and F/A-18 Classic Hornet. In 2001 I undertook training and graduated as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EODT). In 2004 and again in 2007 I deployed to the Middle East and was force assigned to the Multinational Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (Task Force Troy). As an EODT I managed ground operations at Delamere Range Facility for three years followed by supporting EOD operations and exercises in Australia and overseas. As an Explosive Ordnance Manager and Explosives Inspector I managed the safety, storage, handling, transportation, licencing and inspection of in-service explosive ordnance.

Then

What first led you to pursue a career with the Royal Australian Air Force? 

I attended a Technical School where there was more trade subjects than traditional academic ones. I was looking at apprenticeships and decided to seek out what Defence offered. I was successful in my application to the RAAF as well as two other apprenticeships in Geelong, Victoria. The idea of working on Air Force aircraft was a strong determining factor for me.

Now

How have your skills and experience assisted you in your career as a consultant? 

The skills and experience I gained whilst serving in the RAAF have assisted me greatly in my transition to becoming a consultant. Understanding what Defence does, how they do it and the needs of users within Defence has been paramount to my role as a consultant. Training, qualifications and experience in WHS and in all facets of explosive ordnance management (from concept to conclusion), which I gained initially whilst in uniform, are all put into practice delivering projects and programs for Defence and other Commonwealth, State and private clients. Skills obtained through promotion and other training courses, and the consolidation of these, has assisted me in the management of all facets as a consultant.

Always

Do you have a message to share with the community as the RAAF celebrates 100 years of service to Australia?  

My time as a uniformed member of the RAAF was a great experience and one I still strongly promote to others when asked. I received exceptional support and guidance from many experienced mentors as I progressed through my career. There were challenges and some difficult times and experiences and I see these as part of the job when you sign up to wear the uniform. Many more occasions were enlightening, humorous, created special memories and helped form me throughout my 20’s and 30’s. I enjoy the opportunity to catch up with former colleagues (mates) whenever the opportunity arises and have the utmost respect for those who have served, those who continue to serve and those that will serve in the years to come.

Hugo Cannon 

Weapons Engineer (22 years in the RAF and 3 years in the RAAF)

I started out as a weapons Mechanic in 1988 and went on to work on the armament systems of multiple aircraft including Jaguar, Tornado and F/A-18 Classic Hornet. I spent three years in Germany from 1989-1992 then In 1994 I undertook training and graduated as a Weapons Technician. I reached the rank of Sergeant before moving to the RAAF in 2010.

Then 

What first led you to pursue a career with the Royal Australian Air Force? 

Joining the RAAF came about through an exchange program called Long Look, where members of the Australian Defence Force and UK Defence forces swap places for 4 months. I took part in 2008 and was posted to Williamtown which is when I met Andrew Badham.

While on Long Look I was advised of the lateral system and expressed an interest, before I returned to the UK.

From there, I received an offer from the RAAF to move over. I spent just over three years on 77 Sqn and 2 Operation Conversion Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown before leaving in 2013.

Now

How have your skills and experience assisted you in your career as a consultant? 

The skills I have learned in Defence, working with many different nations and in different theaters of war, have put me well placed in the Work Health and Safety environment, as you can never take things for granted when it comes to Weapons and the associated systems.

Always

Do you have a message to share with the community as the RAAF celebrates 100 years of service to Australia? 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the RAF and RAAF and would recommend it as career in a heartbeat.