Home' Air Force News : March 14th 2013 Contents 9
March 14, 2013
DEFENCE and Veterans' Affairs
have over the past few years quietly
been implementing changes to better
support wounded, injured or ill ADF
Working under the name Support
for Wounded, Injured or Ill Program
(SWIIP), a better coordinated
approach has been achieved to make
the existing support mechanisms
even better for those that need them.
For FLTLT Steven Andrews, this
support and coordinated approach
from both departments has proven
vital in his recovery from an aircraft
On May 18, 2011, FLTLT
Andrews was flying in a PC-9
undertaking his flying instructor's
course with qualified flying instruc-
tor SQNLDR Bruce Collenette when
catastrophic engine failure forced
them both to eject near RAAF Base
Soon after take-off, the aircraft
lost power and was turned back
towards the base. The pilots were
unable to restart the engine and
immediately followed the engine
shutdown procedures checklist.
They ejected safely at an altitude
of below 1000 feet.
Following a rapid search and
rescue response by base emergency
personnel, they were treated at the
scene, assessed by medics as being
in a stable condition and were then
transferred to hospital for treatment.
FLTLT Andrews said it was a
lucky escape as ejecting from an
aircraft provided an uncertain chance
"For me, the combination of the
force of the ejection, the parachute
opening and the landing left me with
six spinal compression injuries and a
broken neck," he said.
"But I was lucky; I am now back
walking and in the air flying again."
Back in the pilot's seat
ADF personnel and veterans are set
to gain better care and support ser-
vices under a new Memorandum of
The new MOU has been devel-
oped to better coordinate the deliv-
ery of care and support services
between Defence and Veterans'
Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon said
Veterans' Affairs and Defence were
both strongly committed to deliv-
ering the best possible outcomes
to all ADF members, past and pre-
sent, and their eligible dependants.
"While both departments have
a long history of providing quality
care and support, this MOU for-
mally recognises that the provision
of quality care and support to ADF
members, and their dependants, is
a shared responsibility and com-
mits both Departments to a closer
and more integrated working rela-
tionship," Mr Snowdon said.
The MOU sets out the key prin-
ciples which will govern the coop-
erative delivery of care and support
and establishes effective govern-
ance arrangements designed to
ensure that the support arrange-
ments remain effective.
This MOU also introduces
the concept of the 'Support
Continuum', the structure of sys-
tems that extends across both
Defence and Veterans' Affairs to
deliver the seamless care and sup-
port our servicemen and women,
and their dependants, deserve.
"Having the various systems
and processes that support and
care for ADF members, and their
dependants, as a single continuum,
Veterans' Affairs and Defence are
able to ensure that the delivery of
care and support remains effective
and adapts to individuals changing
needs," Mr Snowdon said.
found at: http://www.defence.gov.
A copy of the Framework of
Roles and Responsibilities within
the Support Continuum can be
found at: http://www.defence.
A copy of the Summary of
Key Principles that underpin the
Memorandum of Understanding is
included as an insert to this edition
of Air Force News.
Defence and Veterans'
Affairs forge closer ties
PC-9 pilot FLTLT Steven Andrews has
a new lease on life after the ADF and
DVA helped get him flying again
still came away with a lot of posi-
"The support I received from
all the people who have helped me
and continue to help me during
my recovery has taught me what is
really important in life, and for that
I am very grateful," he said.
For more information on SWIIP, visit
Spending months in a neck and
back brace, followed by many more
months in rehabilitation, FLTLT
Andrews said it made him realise
what was really important.
"I learnt a lot about myself very
quickly during those first two to
three months following the acci-
dent," he said.
"There was a lot of soul search-
"I've really come to appreciate
what I have and what really matters."
Too much paperwork and red
tape have been complaints heard for
a long time regarding the processing
of claims for ADF personnel, but for
FLTLT Andrews, the process was a
lot easier than expected.
"The process is nowhere near
as hard as we have all heard and
Veterans' Affairs are there to help
you with your claim," FLTLT
"Compared to what I had heard
in the past, and therefore had expect-
ed, the experience I've had with
Veterans' Affairs has been really
good. They didn't hinder me at all
and were really helpful -- letting me
know whenever there was a problem
with the paperwork and helping to
get it fixed as soon as possible.
"The people I've seen with major
issues tend to be those that leave
putting in a claim years after the ini-
tial incident has happened and then
they find that they can't get doctors'
reports, or people they need to verify
parts have left Defence.
"I would really recommend put-
ting in your paperwork early."
Support for FLTLT Andrews dur-
ing his recovery after the accident
came from many areas -- family,
friends, the Air Force and Veterans'
"The support I received from the
Air Force to me appeared seamless,
although later I learnt there was a lot
of running around behind the scenes,
not least because I was due to be
posted a week after the accident,"
"Support from within Air Force
started quite early on when two peo-
ple came and spoke with me after I
had been moved into the rehabilita-
tion facility and they let me know
what could be done and laid out the
process for me.
"The Air Force people assisted
me with all the paperwork for
Veterans' Affairs; they helped make
sure I had all the documentation I
needed and ensured the process went
smoothly for me."
While some of FLTLT Andrews
plans for the future are different
from before the accident, he said he
LUCKY ESCAPE: The dramatic scene at RAAF Base East Sale on May 18,
2011, where a CFS PC-9 crashed about 1km short of the runway shortly
after take-off. Instructor trainee FLTLT Steven Andrews, pictured right, and
his instructor SQNLDR Bruce Collenette safely ejected from the aircraft.
Photo: LAC Oliver Carter
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