Home' Air Force News : March 14th 2013 Contents 6
March 14, 2013
CPL Aaron Curran
NO EXCUSES. You can do this.
Never give in. Never take the easy
road. Don't let it get you down.
Air Force has a living example
of these never-say-die phrases and
attitudes -- ACW Yasmin Watson.
Her inspirational courage and
determination to beat the odds
to stay in the Air Force has been
perpetuated in a new trophy at 1
Recruit Training Unit (1RTU).
The trophy is awarded to a
recruit who best embodies Air Force
Values within the Recruit Physical
The idea for the trophy came
from 1RTU PTI CPL Rebekah
Allen, who trained, rehabilitated and
mentored ACW Watson while she
was at 1RTU alongside fellow PTI
SGT Jason Akarana.
ACW Watson's story and that of
the trophy is one that has touched
and inspired CPL Allen and others
"On day one of her recruit
course she failed her Initial Fitness
Assessment," CPL Allen said.
"She was then re-tested two days
later, failed that and went straight
to the Rehabilitation and Mentoring
Section (RMS) where I was respon-
sible for looking after recruits."
She said ACW Watson worked
hard under her guidance, never
complained, questioned anything, or
accepted she wasn't good enough.
"The word 'can't' never left her
mouth," CPL Allen said.
"Every session she would have
to stop because she felt sick but to
her credit she never used that as an
excuse to get out of PT. Everything
I threw at her she took in her stride
and went above and beyond what
was expected of her -- she just kept
During the eight weeks ACW
Watson was at RMS she attained a
level of fitness above most recruits
that come into 1RTU.
And then tragedy struck.
Yasmin's lasting legacy
INSPIRING JOURNEY: ACW Yasmin Watson with the trophy named after her, the Yasmin Watson PT Excellence Award. Also pictured is PTI CPL Rebekah Allen who trained,
rehabilitated and mentored ACW Watson during her time at 1RTU.
Photos: CPL Aaron Curran
We thought 'this is someone we want to keep
in the Air Force' because she wouldn't give in,
she never had an excuse and she accepted her
shortcomings and then built on them.
-- PTI CPL Rebekah Allen talking about ACW Yasmin Watson
"Unfortunately, through no fault
of her own, she got injured and
required surgery," CPL Allen said.
"As a result we had to go back
to square one and were then told
it looked like a medical discharge
could be the result. I was upset
because I had seen first-hand every-
thing she had put in and done."
ACW Watson said the hardest
part of her time at 1RTU was not
knowing what was going to happen.
"Every time I saw the doctor he
said it was looking like a medical
discharge," ACW Watson said.
"I thought 'what can I do'? I felt
at times I could not get there, but
my Dad and CPL Allen gave me the
extra push I needed."
CPL Allen said the staff at 1RTU
fought hard to keep her.
"It was because we saw some-
one who displays every single one
of the Air Force values -- Respect,
Excellence, Agility, Dedication,
Integrity and Teamwork,"she said.
"We thought 'this is someone
who we want to keep in the Air
Force' because she wouldn't give
in, she never had an excuse and she
accepted her shortcomings and then
built on them."
CO 1RTU WGCDR Billy
Merkx had to issue ACW Watson
a Termination Decision (discharge
authority) based on the recovery
time her injury was likely to require.
"I was subsequently approached
by a number of instructional staff to
have the Termination Decision with-
drawn as she was considered to be
a recruit worth keeping and worth
fighting for," WGCDR Merkx said.
"Ultimately I had to trust the
judgement of my instructional
staff and withdrew the Termination
"It turned out to be a decision,
and one of those recruits stories, that
I will relish telling for many years."
CPL Allen said with the help of
the physios and supervisors at RMS,
they helped ACW Watson regain her
fitness to eventually make it onto
another recruit course.
"In addition to all the effort she
was putting into her physical train-
ing she was one of the best RMS
members we had for morale in the
section," CPL Allen said.
"We have to prepare recruits
physically for going back on course,
but also mentally, so to have some-
one of Yasmin's character in that
group was very good for those
"I loved to go to work and see
the progress she made. I had days
where I was tired and couldn't look
at training; then I saw Yasmin and
went 'well, it could be worse and
I've got no excuse'. She inspired
me."When ACW Watson's graduation
day finally arrived, it was an emo-
tional time for everyone involved in
"Yasmin's was one graduation I
wanted to be at, to watch her march
on the parade ground," CPL Allen
said. "I'm proud of all my recruits
who graduate, but I was particularly
proud of Yasmin. Giving up was
not an option for her and that really
It was also a proud day for
ACW Watson. "When you really
want something and you know it's
going to be taken away from you,
you fight hard, persevere and think
tomorrow is just another day and
you start again, " she said.
She is currently working at
1RTU awaiting the start of her air-
craft life support fitter course.
Links Archive February 28th 2013 March 28th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page