Becoming a ground defence officer is no easy feat and after almost three years of training, Flying Officer (FLGOFF) Anthony Tapii from No. 3 Security Forces Squadron (3SECFOR) at RAAF Edinburgh is quickly forging ahead with his career.
“The training to become a ground defence officer is quite lengthy; I’m not aware of too many specialisations that have such a long initial employment training period outside of aircrew,” FLGOFF Tapii said.
“My training began in 2015 with four months at Officers Training School, then 18 months at the Royal Military College – Duntroon completing Army General Service Officer Training, and shortly after graduation I completed the four month Regimental Officer Basic Course (ROBC).
“After ROBC my ground defence specific training began with time in barracks and a series of training courses such as the ADF range qualification, advanced pistol, aircraft security operations, combat shooting and Certificate IV in training and assessing.
“The individual security forces squadrons also maintain specialised support capability for Air Force, at 3SECFOR it is Direct Fire Support Weapons, so I then spent 14 weeks completing basic and officer/NCO advanced courses to tactically command and employ heavy calibre weapons systems.”
His training in the Army and Air Force environments combined to set him up well for working in the joint operations environment.
“There is a certain vernacular and patter that is used in the joint space, being able to understand, communicate and execute tasks in line with my training has provided an early advantage to my career,” he said.
“In a joint environment I found that my training allowed me to effectively employ different capability outputs to achieve the intent.
“That type of critical thinking is what sets you up, as you understand that you need to bring together different elements to achieve the mission.”
Hard work and dedication during his training period led to a unique opportunity, which he now cites as one of his career highlights.
“Immediately after my specialised weapons training, I was deployed to the Middle East region,” he said.
“My journey is unique as it doesn’t usually line up that way, however for me, I had the appetite to perform and show that I had enough proficiency to be given the responsibility.
“Now I have the privilege of performing the duties of the acting Security Operations Commander and Operations Officer at my junior rank.”
Citing a desire to lead and command is what led FLGOFF Tapii to make a career change and the result of his decision was another career highlight.
“Before joining defence I was a tradesman and I wanted to know what it was like to put myself in front of accomplished and experienced men and women and inspire and lead them to achieve an excellent result,” he said.
“So, I figured an exceptional opportunity existed to achieve this through joining the ADF and ground defence officer was one of my top two options.”
“Early on as a Flight Commander I experienced troops taking a knee, whilst in the field listening to my orders and say “ACK,” and go out and achieve a phenomenal outcome.
“To actually see that materialise after many years of training, even though it was quite hard was really rewarding for me.”