Home' Air Force News : June 20th 2013 Contents 9
June 20, 2013
FLGOFF Iain Slater and
SGT Andrew McDermott
WOFF Louis Debono has celebrated
his 40th year in the Air Force.
Joining as a General Hand in
1973, WOFF Debono remustered to
a physical training instructor (PTI) in
1983 and has never looked back.
"I can still remember signing
up in Collins Street, Melbourne, in
1973 like it was yesterday," WOFF
"I regret absolutely nothing about
my career and would gladly do it all
over again -- you would not find a
better company to work for than the
He is a long-time member of
RAAF Base Wagga, having worked
there from 1987-88 and then return-
ing in 1994.
WOFF Debono is currently serv-
ing as the WOFF in charge of the
sergeants' course at the School of
Postgraduate Studies (SPS), which
also allows him to facilitate on the
warrant officer course.
He can still be seen on nearly
every sergeants' course, donning
his PTI uniform and supervising the
high ropes experimental course.
Some of WOFF Debono's
most memorable experiences so
far include Roulette trips around
Australia and New Zealand, and the
ongoing base camaraderie, especially
the 1973 and 1975 Australian rules
grand finals won by the RAAF Cats
at RAAF Base East Sale.
"The [East Sale] base worked as
one team no matter what rank, trade
or mustering," WOFF Debono said.
"I remember three times a year
we organised a spit roast on Friday
evenings to cater for RAAF fami-
lies at Paradise Valley for Saturday
meals. Times were so good I lived on
base for five years."
He believed PTI work had helped
"It helped in so many ways and
in particular to better understand the
differences between generations.
This made my work, private life and
40 years with the Air Force so much
easier," WOFF Debono said.
He reflected on how the Air
Force had changed over his
40 years. "The 'A' ranks would
try to avoid Warrant Officer
Disciplinarians in their travels -- back
then when they were God," he said.
"Written communication was
hand written or typed, backed up
with carbon paper and flying pro-
grams were typed on a stencil then
fitted to an ink-printing machine for
"Modern technology has helped
fine-tune the ADF of today and we
are now cross-trained in most work-
WOFF Debono said that he loves
what he is doing now at SPS and has
not left Wagga since 1994 because
"they kept asking me to stay".
In recognition of his service, the
sergeant course staff awarded him
a die cast model of an F-111 with
the inscription '1973 to 2013 and
beyond -- WOFF Louis Debono a
capability that outlasted the F-111'.
"I was at RAAF Base East Sale
in 1973 when I saw the F-111 for the
first time, so I guess you could say I
have outlasted the F-111," he said.
Debono on a
MANY MEMORIES: WOFF Louis Debono (pictured here as a FSGT) still loves supervising the
sergeants' high ropes experimental course at RAAF Base Wagga.
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
FLTLT Sean Watson
MEMBERS of Australian Air Force
Cadet (AAFC) 218 Squadron (218SQN)
celebrated the achievements of one of
their longest serving members at a com-
memorative dinner in Brisbane on May
18. Since joining 218SQN as a young
cadet in May 1963, FLTLT (AAFC) Ken
Brandes has served 50 years of continu-
ous service with the AAFC. He started
as a cadet, achieving the highest rank of
Cadet Under Officer after five years' ser-
vice, before joining the AAFC as an adult
instructor in February 1969.
Director General Air Force Cadets
AIRCDRE Dennis Green said FLTLT
(AAFC) Brandes had proven an invalu-
able and highly regarded member of the
"For the past 50 years Ken has self-
lessly dedicated his time and energy to
being a role model to all cadets and his
peers," AIRCDRE Green said.
"The number of young people that
Ken has positively influenced to be good
citizens, and many others who have
joined the Air Force because of his lead-
ership and guidance, are innumerable."
FLTLT Brandes spent 35 continuous
years at 218SQN, almost half of those
as the CO. After 40 years of cumulative
service as both a cadet and instructor, he
handed over command of the squadron in
The current CO of 218SQN,
FLGOFF (AAFC) Adam Taylor, said
during his tenure as CO, FLTLT Brandes'
generous and traditional approach to
leadership and organisational behaviour
was respected and appreciated by all
cadets and staff.
"The unit owes a large debt of grati-
tude to FLTLT Brandes, because without
role models like him the squadron would
not have been as successful as it has been
over the past 50 years," FLGOFF Taylor
said.FLTLT Brandes is a recipient of the
prestigious Rotary International Paul
Harris Fellow for services to the com-
munity and was awarded the Federation
Star for 40 years of service to the AAFC
in August 2008. He is due to be awarded
a second Federation Star, but said just
having the chance to contribute towards
the betterment of young Australians was
"The squadron and the AAFC have
such rich and rewarding histories helping
develop the youth of Australia," FLTLT
Brandes said. "It is very humbling to be
recognised as part of that journey."
Life as a cadet
50 years of
the AAFC at
in his honour.
RAAF Base Edinburgh barber
Kevin Murphy has retired after
38 years of service to base per-
Mr Murphy completed a
and worked for five years
in the profession before he
decided he would like to try
something else, and joined the
During recruitment train-
ing at Edinburgh, he found
the base wanted the old bar-
ber shop reopened so he dis-
charged after only eight weeks
on course and became the base
Saying farewell to a large
gathering in front of the new
base barber shop on May 30,
Mr Murphy said he planned
to relax, do some home
improvements and travel the
world before finally settling in
"I have seen a lot of changes
to the base over the years,
buildings demolished and new
ones constructed, the Army
moving in -- but the thing I will
miss most is the camaraderie of
the people," Mr Murphy said.
Support Group Chief of Staff
GPCAPT Martin Nussio said
Mr Murphy's dedicated service
to the people of Edinburgh was
an amazing achievement.
"The service that Kevin
provided was far more than
just cutting hair," GPCAPT
"The barber's shop was
home to banter about foot-
ball, discussions about cur-
rent affairs, and chats about
life -- he was part of the heart
and soul of the RAAF Base
Edinburgh community and will
be missed by all of us."
Kevin sad to cut ties with Edinburgh
GOODBYE: RAAF Base Edinburgh
barber Kevin Murphy gives AOSG's
GPCAPT Martin Nussio a final trim
before retiring. Photo: LAC Brenton Kwaterski
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