Dean Parker spends his days working on RAAF’s largest aircraft

A desire for a ‘hands-on’ job and inspiration from family members helped lead AC Dean Parker to a career as an aircraft technician (ATECH) in the Air Force.

AC Parker always wanted to work on planes and after two years of training is doing just that – working on C-17A Globemaster III’s at No. 36 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley.

“My grandfather told me about my great uncle Jack Parker who helped design the first turbojet engine used in the Gloster Meteor fighter in WWII, which sounded pretty interesting,” he said.

“I then participated in the Defence Work Experience Program at Amberley where I saw the KC-30As (Multi-role Tanker Transport) and met the ‘techos’.

“I thought it would be a pretty cool job so I researched it when I got home, and it came out on top when I compared it to civilian apprenticeships.

“Every day I’m getting my hands on the aircraft and always learning something new, that’s what I love about the job.”

Focused on completing his Certificate IV as an ATECH, AC Parker’s next stage of training is 10 weeks near Seattle, US.

“On return, I’ll be trying to finish my log book as quickly as I can to get my ‘trade ticket’,” he said.

“My goal is to get it done in a year – the quicker I do it, the quicker I can go on trips with the aircraft.”

Senior Australian Defence Force Officer Amberley Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) officer, Air Commodore Veronica Tyler (right) presents the 2018 JR Bartram and RA Kee Sword of Honour certificate to Aircraftman Dean Parker during the 98th Anniversary of the formation of the RAAF celebration held at RAAF Base Amberley.

AC Parker was awarded the J.R. Bartram and R.A. Kee Sword of Honour recently for his performance while an apprentice at the RAAF School of Technical Training throughout 2018.

School Warrant Officer WOFF Kevin Jago said: “We assessed a number of high-performing graduates from 2018 to determine who was the most deserving of the award.

“AC Parker demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, commitment to Air Force values and military life, and became a role model for other trainees during his time in Wagga.”

Reflecting on his whirlwind first year-and-a-half in Air Force, AC Parker said he couldn’t be more proud to have been nominated for the prestigious award in the first place.

“I wasn’t expecting to receive an award at all. The email notification came out of the blue, but it was a nice surprise,” AC Parker said.

“While in Wagga completing training, I had one goal, to get to 36SQN, and did everything in my power to work towards that.

“When I saw my course mates struggling with some subjects, we would get together and study after hours. Instead of going back to my room and switching off for the day, I chose to help out where I could.”

A highlight for AC Parker since joining 36SQN was a joy flight in the C-17A on the squadron family day late last year.

“We flew around Ipswich and the Gold Coast then overhead Wivenhoe Dam, where the ramp and door were opened at low level – my family clutched my leg pretty tight when the ramp came down.” AC Parker said.

“I said, ‘you’ll be right, you’re in a seat belt’. Looking out the back was a pretty cool experience.”

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