Home' Air Force News : September 17th 2009 Contents ONE of the most fulfill-
ing things you can do is
to make a sick or scared
Due to the generosity of a couple of
Air Force members, that will be a real-
ity next time a little child is taken to
Gove District Hospital in Nhulunbuy
(Gove), Northern Territory.
Eight Air Force personnel were
in Arnhem Land between August
24 and September 4 with the Air
Force Balloon taking part in Exercise
Arnhem Drifter 2009 (AD09).
For CPL Blake Reeve, a medic
from No. 2 Expeditionary Health
Squadron Detachment Tindal, the visit
to the hospital was especially fulfill-
ing.Taking time out from his duties
with the balloon's crew, CPL Reeve
went to the hospital because he was
born there 26 years ago.
"I went back to the hospital to see
Reports by LAC Aaron Curran
THEY say not to take your job
home with you, but what if
your job is who you are?
That question is relevant
to LACW Deborah Booker, a Security
Police member from RAAF Base
Amberley who was part of Exercise
LACW Booker represents one of
Defence's lists of recruiting targets -- she
is an indigenous Australian.
She accompanied the Air Force
Balloon up to Arnhem Land as an
Indigenous Liaison for Defence
Indigenous Affairs (DIA).
With her home town being Alice
Springs, she was well placed for the task
of speaking to the people in the remote
communities of north-east Arnhem Land.
"My tribal name is Gidja and my
Aboriginal name is Ngalia," she said.
"After being posted to Amberley in
2007, I received an email asking for
indigenous Defence members to get
involved in indigenous recruiting and it
has been all go since then."
Although she had never been to
Arnhem Land, once she was on the dirt
road out to Gapuwiyak, it was just like
When the crew was settled in
Gapuwiyak, LACW Booker went straight
to work, explaining the balloon and the
ADF to all who would listen.
"The elders said to me that it feels
like someone is taking notice of them and
taking the effort to come out and talk to
them as well."
By the end of the three days, LACW
Booker was adopted by a multitude of
kids. Being an indigenous member in
the ADF pays very large dividends in
situations like Arnhem Drifter and it is
a role that can be utilised in any remote
There is an eight-week program that
goes to remote localities and gets 20 stu-
dents that are nominated by the schools to
get an insight into the three Services.
"They also do aptitude testing and PT
and then they get to go to Canberra for a
"We also give them our phone num-
bers so that if a good relationship is
formed with them they can ring us for
advice or mentoring."
She said indigenous recruiting would
be a long process for the Air Force and
Defence, but you had to start somewhere.
"The rewards are there.
"They respect the military because it
has a similar structure to the ones they
have in their communities."
Right at home on indigenous ground
18 Arnhem Drifter
AIR FORCE September 17, 2009
LABOUR OF LOVE:
LAC Deborah Booker
with Justinal Barra Barra
at Nhulunbuy Primary
Birthplace comes to bear
where I was born because we left Gove
when I was three," he said.
"I spoke to one of the midwives
and she suggested I should try and find
my birth register."
To CPL Reeve's astonishment they
found it with little hassle and he said
he was emotional when it was in front
So to give something back to the
hospital, CPL Reeve and balloon crew
member, SGT Paul Thorpe, came back
with 24 Air Force teddy bears for chil-
dren who are admitted.
There to receive them was a sur-
prised emergency ward nurse, Janice
"The bears are going to be really
good for the kids who will be com-
ing into the hospital because a lot of
the time they are not just sick but also
scared," she said.
Due to its remote location, the hos-
pital rarely receives gifts like the bears.
Mrs Hill-Jones said the teddy bears
would be fantastic for the kids and
make it a positive experience going to
CPL Reeve and SGT Thorpe left
the hospital with satisfied looks on
their faces and a thank you from the
administration and medical staff.
"You know, at the end of the day it
feels good to give a nice gesture once
in a while," CPL Reeve said.
OUR NEWEST FANS:
Above, SGT Paul Thorpe
with school children from
Year 3 at Nhulunbuy
Primary School who were
given Air Force bags,
stickers and posters.
BALLOON: Left, children
from the Wandawuy
(Boruwuy) Homelands with
the balloon on Gapuwiyak's
BURNING LOVE: Right,
WOFF Steve Mountstephen
sets up the balloon's
HIGH GUYS: Alexandra
Manwaring, 9 (left), and Maggie
Nash, 9 (obscured), up in the
balloon with pilot, SQNLDR Michael
OH WHAT A FEELING: Ellie Noble,
8, from Nhulunbuy, checks out the
SPREADING THE WORD: Senior Constable
Mark Ryder, a federal policeman seconded to the
Northern Territory Police, with an Air Force cap.
SHEER JOY: Balloon
pilot SQNLDR Michael
up, from left, Yimin
Mununggurr, 10, Max
Mununggurr, 5, and
11, from the Wandawuy
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