Support for military past and present

‘something we can give back’
‘something we can give back’

A current Flight Lieutenant with the Royal Australian Air Force, he is also the club’s sub-branch Sergeant Major.

Flt Lt McDermott signed up on April 14, 1977 after growing up on a Queensland farm.

‘I wanted to be a heavy machinery mechanic. I thought it would take six years (but) I’m a slow learner ” it’s been 37 years. I’ve enjoyed the lifestyle since,’ he said.

Based at RAAF Pearce since 2010, the aircraft engineer has worked across Australia and internationally, including a four-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2003 and three years in the US as an aircraft maintenance leader.

He said he used to run the two-up games while based in the US, and some of his memorabilia, including an old uniform, was in the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty) corridor in the Pentagon.

The Tapping resident said his wife also served in the air force for 20 years as a clerk, and he had a son who had recently applied to join the army.

Over his career, Flt Lt McDermott said he had seen a lot of change, with personnel numbers at 37,000 when he joined but now closer to 13,000.

‘Change has been huge, especially in workplace health and safety, which is a good thing,’ he said.

‘We see things come around in a 10 to 12-year cycle ” for example restructures, squadrons forming, the chain of command.’

This Anzac Day, Flt Lt McDermott will speak at the Quinns Rocks RSL dawn service. ‘I will be talking about the history of Anzac, going through some of the conflicts from World War I to present day,’ he said.

Flt Lt McDermott said he would talk about the support veterans, particularly younger ones, received and needed.

‘It will be more relevant now that we are pulling out of Afghanistan ” those issues will become more prevalent in society,’ he said.

‘It’s something we can give back ” I haven’t missed a dawn service in the last 25 years.’

He wears his colours proudly, including a red commendation for the campaign in Afghanistan and an Order of Australia Medal for his engineering service, received in 2007.