Delivering bang for buck

The Air Combat Group (ACG) headquarters has farewelled a stalwart who has devoted more than 53 years of combined service to the Air Force and the Australian Public Service.

CAPTIONAir Commodore Pete Robinson Commander Air Combat Group (right) farewells Gary Dobe on his retirement at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photo by Flight Lieutenant Sarah Reading. 

Mr Gary Dobe has concluded his Defence service as the ACG finance manager.

In this role, he was always a strong advocate for air combat capability outcomes and literally and metaphorically squeezed as much ‘bang for buck’ out of the ACG budget as possible.

Joining Air Force on July 1 1970, the 17-year-old Mr Dobe was inspired by his father and brother who both served in Army.

The fresh-faced aircraftsman’s initial mustering was as a fitter, but by the end of his RAAF days, Warrant Officer Dobe was specialising in management services teams – learning skills that would set him up for the rest of his working life.

After nearly 29 years in Air Force, Mr Dobe had a career change – albeit one that was close to home – joining the Australian Public Service, Department of Defence.

“I left Air Force on 21 February 1999 and started in the public service on 22 February 1999,” Mr Dobe said.

What followed was a further 24 years of service – out of uniform.

It was a career built on a lot of small wins along the way, but there were also significant milestones recognising his contribution to Defence.

These include being awarded an Australia Day medallion in 2000.

The medallions are awarded in recognition of exceptional performance in the workplace.

And the awards continued.

In 2011 he was chosen as the Australian Public Service team member of the year, and in 2012 he received the Chief of Air Force gold commendation.

Air Commodore Pete Robinson, Commander Air Combat Group, said Mr Dobe “played a significant part in enabling ACG to utilise the resources available to it in the most effective and efficient manner”.

“He was able to successfully interpret the strategic and operational environments and convert this into the financial information necessary for the tactical units of ACG to undertake their daily activity,” Air Commodore Robinson said.

“He has made an outstanding contribution to Defence and any who are lucky enough to have worked with him will attest to Gary’s qualities of trust, a can-do attitude, a positive persona and the source of sage advice and corporate knowledge.

“These attributes will be sorely missed.”

Mr Dobe took the moment to look back fondly on a life of service.

“My whole career has been a buzz and – moving forward – I will treasure the memories I have made,” he said.

“You cannot go back but you can remember when.”


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