Sky High Tales

This week at the joint meeting of the Hyde Park and Adelaide Parks Rotary Clubs at the Naval and Military club, we were taken to “New Heights" when the guest speaker, Wing Commander Darren Jones, presented his tales of life in the Australian air force.
Wing Commander Jones is the “Commander Officer”of the Wide Area Space Surveillance Unit RAAF Edinborough SA.
Having convinced his parents at the tender age of sixteen to let him follow his dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, he began his career in Laverton, Victoria. Not all of those who joined the air force would go on to be pilots and many of his fellow recruits consisted of carpenters, plumbers, radiographers and other skilled apprentices.
The young recruits were given milk and cookies every night to help them grow. In the early days there were at least 800 female staff including nurses and 2,000, 19-20 year olds in electronics.
Shenanigans between the female and male staff ensued and although the quarters were separated by an oval, “Special Cuddles" were often obtained in the dark of night.
A move to Sale Victoria and Edinborough in SA followed and tales of ejection situations and the importance of communications reminded us of the vulnerability we all face each day.
When in East Sale we heard how Ansett airlines folded and how many of our military aircraft were used to  fill the void.  G Suits, and life support maneuvers were described in detail with one colourful  story about search and rescue operations involving vomit to catch fish in desperate situations.
Wing Commander Jones then continued to take us to new heights  speaking about topics such as the Air Force evolution since 1987, exciting search and rescue situations, Military crashes and their causes and culminating in a picture of our new Air Force which is highly reliant on cyber space and skilled IT personnel.
Having been re posted every three years, he found himself in San Antonio Texas working with US soldiers many of whom worked in Silicone Valley, where they were working on building firewalls for cyber warfare and hacking into the servers of enemy systems.
They worked on jammers, incendiary devices and satellites and scanners that could detect enemy missile launchers and detect signs of offensive cyber warfare.
Australia’s borders are monitored by satellites and are covered by a “Cone of Protection"
Commander Jones was a very interesting speaker who kept us not the edges of our seats and gave us a very intimate insight into the workings of our defence forces and the invaluable role they play in defending and protecting our culture and way of life each day.