Captain Caitlin McDermid was six years old when she built her first cubby house with her dad, laying the foundation for a career in engineering.
CAPTION: Australian Army Captain Caitlin McDermid on Operation Accordion for Anzac Day 2023 at Australia’s operating base in the Middle Eastern Region. Photo by Corporal Melina Young. Photo by Corporal Melina Young
The country girl from Cowra always had a hammer in her hand and loved constructing things with her dad.
“We built sheds together and did lots of renovations on our farmhouse – I really liked bashing walls out,” Captain McDermid said.
“My parents worked so hard when I was growing up to give my brother and I the best opportunities.
“These opportunities, and their work ethic, were installed in me and this is what motivated me to join the Army and become a civil engineer.”
Her biggest real-life role models are her mum, dad and brother.
“I did all the right subjects at school, and when my brother joined the Army Reserve, it motivated me to join as well,” Captain McDermid said.
Combined with a passion to design and make ideas come to life, Captain McDermid started studying civil engineering at ADFA when she was 18.
A decade later, she has deployed on Operation Accordion at Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East region as a project engineer.
Captain McDermid said it was a big-ticket item to deploy within her field.
“I’ve had previous opportunities working with international engagement, and I’ve been deployed before, but not in an engineer role,” she said.
“Although they were very good and rewarding jobs, I just really wanted to work in my trade.”
As Captain McDermid’s first deployment away during Anzac Day, this date holds significance because of the line of Anzac history in her blood – her great grandparents served in the two world wars with the New Zealand military.
“Dad’s now the custodian of my great grandfather’s medals since his dad passed away, so he and all my family back home in New Zealand are proud I’m serving,” she said.
Captain McDermid said her project engineer role involved delivering security works and infrastructure around base, and was looking forward to seeing her concepts from start to finish.
“Normally projects will go for a few years, whereas some projects on base will go for a couple of months – like a security control point and access path to the running track I’m working on,” she said.
“I’ll get to see the whole project from inception to closure in my six months here.”
Captain McDermid is currently 130km into a 1000km run/walk base challenge, with an aim to clock up to 7km a day. She’s on track to complete the full distance by the end of her deployment.