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AIR FORCE February 18, 2010
By LAC Aaron Curran
A LOT can be accomplished in 40
years and WGCDR Ian Warburton is
living proof of that.
WGCDR Warburton reached 40
years of service on January 9 and
became eligible for the Federation
Star.He joined as an apprentice air-
frame fitter on that date in 1970 and
was not to know that four decades on
he would still be wearing blue.
"I never had any ambition to stay in
for a long time," WGCDR Warburton
said. "I operated on the rule that as long
as I enjoyed it, I would hang around."
His large smile and good sense
of humour testify that his time in the
Air Force has been kind to him and
his career has given him opportunities
and experiences that have made him
who he is today.
After graduating from Wagga in
1972, WGCDR Warburton posted
to RAAF Base Amberley where he
worked on F-4E Phantoms. It was
there that he experienced one of the
highlights of his career.
"I was part of the support team
that went over to the US for a month
and brought the first F-111s back to
Australia," he said.
"All of us in the support team were
still over the ocean in a Herc while
the first six F-111s landed to a big
ceremony at Amberley. We arrived
several hours later, after the celebra-
tions were well and truly finished."
In a twist, WGCDR Warburton
said that before they went to the
US, they did all their training on the
F-111 without ever physically setting
eyes on the aircraft.
"We only had training aids back in
Amberley," he said. "The instructors
went to the States and took hundreds
of slide photos of the aircraft, so in
the end we did it all with training aids
After a posting to No 2 Aircraft
Depot in Richmond in 1975, he
returned to Amberley briefly before
starting his pilots course in January
That's when things really took off
"I flew Iroquois, Chinooks, Black
Hawks and finally HS748s," WGCDR
"During that period, I did six
months in the Sinai with the Multi-
National Force and Observers flying
Iroquois. It was just fantastic and I
had a ball."
Some of the places he has
been include PNG, Fiji, Malaysia,
Singapore, Egypt, South Africa,
Ireland, UK, USA, New Zealand,
Brazil, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei,
Vietnam, Thailand, France, Germany,
Netherlands and Denmark.
"Apart from the travel, the other
highlights that come to mind were a
rescue that involved a mobile oil rig
off the coast of Perth in 1983, and
the investigation I led into the F-111
crash in Malaysia in 1999," WGCDR
For his work on the F-111 acci-
dent he was awarded a Chief of Air
"An old friend of mine, WGCDR
Ian Gibson, passed 40 years [service]
last year and I kept telling him he was
old and decrepit, so I guess now I will
expect a similar response," he said.
"But to tell the truth, it is just a
case of having too good a time here;
I enjoy what I do and I never came up
with a good reason to leave."
By FLTLT Skye Smith
RECENT Australia Day Medallion re-
cipient CPL Jarrod Nikolsky celebrated
Australia Day in style while anchored at
Darling Harbour after an 11-day voyage
on the Young Endeavour.
The avionic technician from 75SQN
was selected as Air Combat Group's sec-
ond recipient of the Young Endeavour
"I was very excited, surprised and
honoured to be selected to represent the
Air Force," CPL Nikolsky said.
"I've spent some time sailing in the
Whitsundays, but I couldn't wait for the
challenges that lay ahead."
Those challenges started with torren-
tial storms on the first day at sea, but that
didn't dampen his enthusiasm.
CPL Nikolsky enjoyed the leader-
ship and teamwork exercises during the
voyage from Newcastle to Sydney from
January 17 to 27.
The lack of personal space took a
while to get used to, but "with 27 youth
crew and 13 staff on board it meant eve-
ryone got to know each other quite well
by the end of the voyage".
Sail handling, rigging and naviga-
tional skills were just some of the new
skills CPL Nikolsky put to the test as the
ship headed south and sailed through two
nights of unforgiving waters.
Still enjoying the good life four decades later
EVERYWHERE MAN: WGCDR Ian
Photo: LAC Aaron Curran
The ship arrived in Sydney Harbour
at about 1am and the crew went straight
to work to clean her in preparation for
Navigating the ship into Sydney
Harbour during the early hours of
Australia Day and climbing nearly to
the top of the mast while sailing was the
highlight of his Young Endeavour voyage.
He said he "had a blast" taking in
the Australia Day fireworks on Darling
Harbour, following a win in the tall ships
race the Young Endeavour participated in.
"It was a once in a lifetime experi-
ence," he said. "I have met some inter-
esting people and made some great new
friends and I would strongly recommend
all eligible people to give it a go."
HIGH GUYS: The budding sailors stand in the Young Endeavour's rigging for all to see. The red circle
shows CPL Jarrod Nikolsky with his arm out on the top right.
Photos: courtesy CPL Nikolsky
DOWN ON THE DECK: GPCAPT
Jen Fantini, HQACG, meets CPL
Jarrod Nikolsky in Sydney.
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