Air Force Corporal Alan Stocks believes he made a better choice than his Navy sister and Army brother.
When Corporal Stocks joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2005, he was the last of three siblings to enlist in the Australian Defence Force.
His sister had signed up as a medic in the Royal Australian Navy, later commissioning as a nursing officer, and his brother served in the Australian Army as a combat engineer.
Corporal Stocks, a personnel capability specialist, -is deployed to Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East as a watchkeeper.
"There’s always some friendly family rivalry about which service is the best,” Corporal Stocks said.
“My sister will tell me all of the capabilities available on a ship and I will tell her all about my time here among some of the most capable air forces in the world.”
Deployed with the fourth rotation of the Expeditionary Airbase Operations Unit (EAOU), Corporal Stocks’ role is to monitor the daily operations of the base and to respond if there is an emergency.
He said you need to be able to adapt to succeed as a watchkeeper in the Middle East.
"Every day is unique. I have had people walk in during their recreation time to ask if I had guitar strings, and other days I have had phone calls about a potential threat to the base,” said Corporal Stocks, who hails from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
His deployment is coming to an end and Corporal Stocks said he has enjoyed a challenging and rewarding time in the Middle East.
Now, he is looking forward to returning home to his wife, Kelly, and two children, James, nine, and Lila, six.
"I have hit some milestones in my time in the RAAF so far, and to have the family support me is amazing,” he said.
"I'm excited to be getting back to the family home and seeing the kids every day. I will take my daughter to a Hawthorn game.”
The EAOU is an Air Force-led unit responsible for the provision of base support in the region.
The units ensures the base is run as a functioning airfield to support the ongoing operations.
EAOU provides base security, air movements, airfield fire-fighting and rescue and base command in its role.
It is based at Camp Baird, Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East.