RAAF teen worried he might be a soldier

RICHMOND, NSW—at first glance, Airman Luke Donald, 18, seems like any ordinary Airforce teen. He’s a member of RAAF Base Richmond Golf Club, enjoys shopping at the mall, and enjoys video games with other males his age. But lately, a growing worry has begun to plague this Airforce man.

A gnawing feeling that, deep down, he may be a soldier.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” Donald admitted to reporters on Monday.

“It’s like I get these weird urges sometimes, and suddenly I’m tempted to go behind my friends’ backs and attend a Basic Fitness Assessment for no reason, or read military strategy books in the base library in secret. Even just the thought of organising a drill lesson gets me excited.”

Added Donald, “I feel so confused.”

The openly Airforce teen, who came out to his parents that he wanted to join the Air Cadets at age 14 and has had a steady RAAF career for the past seven months, said he first began to suspect he might be different last month, when he started feeling an odd stirring within himself every time he passed an Armoury.

“When we load ASLAVs and Bushmasters in the C-17s”, Donald claimed, “the stronger my desire was to enter them”.

“It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore,” the frightened teenager said.

“Keeping this secret obsession with the Army hidden away from my parents, my chain-of-command, and workmates is tearing me apart.”

According to Donald, his first experience with the Army was not all that different from other RAAFies his age.

“Sure, I looked at the Army News once or twice—everybody has,” Donald said.

“We all experiment a little bit with that stuff when we’re growing up. But I was just a kid. I didn’t think it meant anything.”

Donald’s instinct was to deny these early emotions. But recently, the Richmond teen admitted, the feelings have grown stronger, making him wonder more and more what life as a hard-working Grunt would be like.

plan_mission“The other week, I was this close to picketing the front of the base,” the mortified teenager said, his eyes welling up with tears. “I know it’s wrong, but I wanted so badly to do it anyway. I even made one of those Viewee Twoees with tab data of various weapons and hid it in my closet. I felt so ashamed, yet, at the same time, it was all strangely titillating.”

Donald’s parents, although concerned, said they’re convinced their otherwise typical Airforce son is merely going through a rebellious phase.

“I caught him watching ‘Platoon’ once when he thought he was alone in the house, and last week, I found some paperbacks from the Andy McNab books hidden in his sock drawer,” his mother, Elizabeth Donald, said. “I’m sure he’ll grow out of it, but even if he doesn’t, I will love and accept my son no matter what.”

Donald’s father was far less tolerant in his comments.

“No son of mine is going to try to get masculine design into a military career,” Gregory Donald said. “And I absolutely refuse to attend his parade if he decides to go to one of those training grounds like the School of Infantry where they’re just going to fill his head with a lot of crazy soldiering ideas.”

He added, “I just want my normal Airforce son back.”





Andrew DouglasAndrew Douglas is a long-suffering Aussie Digger who, after many hours of sitting in a pit with a notebook and pen writing his woes, has turned his hand to writing for leisure and entertainment in the comfort of his lounge room. He and his partner, Sonia, live in a 100-year-old home in southern NSW, where Andrew uses his home-repair skills to make improvements, such as being able to flush the toilet by turning on the garden tap.



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11 thoughts on “RAAF teen worried he might be a soldier

  • 12/07/2016 at 9:55 pm

    Have been a RAAFie for nearly 31 years and I thought the article was a beauty!

  • 03/07/2016 at 5:10 pm

    I wear “green” with pride and when I was deployed worked with colleagues who wore “blue” and “white” as well as one APS dude. We were all members of the one team, who did a great job together. Like good mates we would have the occasional “shot” at each other over the differences between our Services. This article seems to rely on Aussie humour. It’s great. It doesn’t denigrate the RAAF. It DOES highlight some of our differences. It’s light hearted! Enjoy it in the way it was meant to be. Oh, and I have no connection that I know of to the author of the original article or anyone associated with him.

  • 03/07/2016 at 4:14 pm

    (Note from author).
    While I understand and respect some offense taken to this blog post I can assure you that this article was written with tongue-in-cheek. In fact, if the reader observes a little closer you can see that I’m taking a dig at the Army too (to a lesser extent of course).
    Anyone who is familiar with my work knows that I frequently take digs anything and everything (myself included).
    My career has spanned some 25 years and I would not have lasted this long without developing a thick-skin. I’ve seen it all; barbs, criticisms, jabs, jokes, insults and abuse. Another secret to that longevity is the ability to have a sense of humour. Something that the Australian military has been famous for well over a hundred years.
    While you may question this piece, and that is fine; I completely understand. But you cannot question my sense of pride in all three branches of the ADF. We are world class and that is for damn good reason.
    Over the years I have worked very closely with members across the three services on various tasks and I have been left with an overwhelming sense of awe and pride at the dedicated team of professionals I have had the absolute pleasure to serve alongside – and yes, that compliment of course extends to our RAAF brothers and sisters.

    • 04/07/2016 at 1:46 pm

      Thank Christ someone flying in the face of political correctness. I’m ex RAAF and I had a wry grin on my face the whole time I was reading this 😄
      I too had many a crack at army and navy colleagues, I discovered though that it was a way of ‘laughing off’ some of the crappy situations we found ourselves but I think there is no greater respect among service arms. Irreplaceable bond and I’m very glad I got to experience it 👍

  • 02/07/2016 at 11:25 pm

    Comment removed by editor.
    Contact me if you have a problem with this.
    And you can start by explaining your accusation of plagiarism.
    Brian Hartigan
    Managing Editor
    0408 496 664

  • 02/07/2016 at 9:40 am

    He could always re – muster and become an Adgie

  • 01/07/2016 at 11:43 pm

    Look on the bright side – at least he doesn’t want to be a sailor!

  • 01/07/2016 at 7:10 pm

    ^^haha someone can’t take a joke!!

    • 02/07/2016 at 5:21 pm

      I didn’t intend to get into an online discussion on this topic, since it will prove to be a pointless exercise. I will however indulge myself with one further remark to address your response, Anonymous.

      I actually have no time for any of the stereotypes levelled against all three Services. I have enough of a shellback to have worked alongside colleagues from the Navy, Army, Air Force and APS employees of the Dept to have observed, and gained an appreciation for, their strengths and their weaknesses. As I stated before, military operations are a team sport and I still scratch my head at how some people portray their Defence colleagues in word and print; we have enough adversaries in the world.

      It might be a reflection of my old age, observing the effects of long term sustained operations on so many ADF members or the impact of having lost too many mates and colleagues along the way but, yes, I do feel protective of our fantastic Servicemen and women of all Services – particularly my own. And no, I don’t find the article funny; I don’t understand why it was written; and I’m disappointed it has been published here, by a publication I have always held in the highest regard for it’s treatment of Defence.

      • 03/08/2016 at 12:23 pm

        Your a goose mate, it’s called bloody humour

  • 01/07/2016 at 6:16 pm

    Really? While I’m sure I’ll receive numerous replies informing me that this is intended as light hearted inter-Service banter and that I need to get a sense of humour, I’ve spent 28 years watching Air Force members do what they do best – generate air power.

    No, most RAAFies don’t bust out 20 chins when they pass a heave bar; nor do they have the collected works of Andy McNab, Clausewitz and Bernard Cornwell on their bookshelves. Many of them view their annual weapon qualification as a necessary evil and some of the have to hunt through their garage to find their webbing.

    But they bust their hump to make sure that those Hercs and C17s can launch at short notice in response to the never ending range of disasters that hit our part of the world. They spend hours in P-3s halfway to Antarctica looking for disabled yachts. They keep their sortie generation on OP OKRA at some of the highest rates known in a modern Air Force. And they support all of that with intel analysis, fuel supply, catering, personnel support, logistics, security, air traffic control, firefighting and a hundred other jobs without which we could not maintain our status as a world class Air Force.

    So I’ll keep wearing the blue with pride and hope that one day every ADF member may realise that military operations are a team sport and that, while I hold the Australian soldier in the highest esteem as among the best in the world, we don’t all fantasise about joining the Army as the pinnacle of a military career.


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