Deborah Carter | 61 | Royal Australian Air Force

Deborah Carter | 61 | Royal Australian Air Force

Served 7 seven years - 2 permanent, 5 active reserves.

Direct Entry Nursing Officer, Flying Officer

Primary job: Nursing Officer - your first priority is that you’re an Officer of the Air Force, and a nurse second.

Whatever you do, just don’t create war, it’s not worth it.

What do you want people to remember about your service? Even though it was a relatively short term, I had just as strong a commitment and signed up with the same passion anyone else does when they want to join the military

What was the best and worst 'military' food you were served, and why? Officer training course when we went on bivouac we were given ration packs, I swear they were left over from the second world war, they were hideous.

Best food, Officer training, we were given generous supplies, and I cooked an absolute marvellous beef wellington in a camp oven, and I won for our group the best award for the best meal, for the whole camp.

When we got invited to the Sergeants Mess, it was the best food - Non Commission Servicemen ran the defence force, and we got the best dining food

What effect did your military experience have on your life? Joined as a 26-year-old - got rejected. I did the course they recommended, and I went back 7 months later, I really wanted to join the Royal Australian Air Force. They were impressed that I was awarded a Queen’s Guide at the age of 16. They said, “it shows commitment”.

I’ve always had that military experience inside me. It’s allowed me to grow as a person, to learn how to take care of junior people under me, you do that as a senior nurse anyway, teaching junior nurses. It's the way you feel in life. It’s a commitment. I was sad at first when I had to leave my military career due to family commitments, that’s why I love my work as the President of Pittwater Sub-branch. I’m the first female President there, and in the whole Northern Beaches District Council; there are 10 subbranches. I was the Junior President of the District Council as well. The many hours of volunteer work for the sub-branch is fulfilling the role that I feel like I left when I left the defence force.

During this terrible time of COVID-19, we’ve got people around us, the news, the internet, so much connection.

Our WW2 veterans were so stoic. Especially the POW, they had nothing, no communication, they were locked up for years and terribly beaten, and they, in my belief, can teach us a thing or two about getting through this virus. If we can be as stoic as they were, we will beat COVID-19.

Funny recollection during time of service:

Officer’s training - first learning to fire a weapon, I had a lot of problems. Warrant Officer said to me “you just got to shoot the gun”. I said, “how can I, my role as a nurse is to take care of people and you're asking me to shoot people, I just can’t do it.”

He said, “let me put it this way ma’am, if you’re in a war zone and you’re in a hospital, and the enemy tried to attack your patients, what would you do?”. I said, “I’d pick up the gun and shoot them”. He said, “well shoot the gun”. So I shot the gun, but the funny side is I only just made my marksmanship award, and he said “you know what ma’am, next time you’re better off throwing the gun at them”, because I was such a bad shot.

But I threw worse than I could shoot.

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