Leading Seaman Braedon McGuinness stood proudly in a small ceremony at 723 Squadron this month, marking the graduation of Navy’s latest cohort of Pilots and Aircrewmen.
Despite growing up in the Shoalhaven in a Navy family, naval aviation wasn’t Braedon’s first career choice.
“It did seem really fascinating.
“My dad, Lieutenant Commander Mark McGuinness, is an Aeronautical Engineer and he definitely inspired me growing up by virtue of seeing and hearing about all his experiences overseas, close to home and working to help the local community.
“But, I still felt compelled to explore other options,” the Nowra-born sailor said.
“I tried so many different things just to be sure I wouldn’t miss out on another career that I might fall in love with, which included going to university to study business, working as an accountant, working on a cattle station, working in a car dealership and various retail jobs.
“But it became clear again and again that Navy was the perfect fit for me,” he said.
Braedon enlisted in 2015 as an Avionics Technician specialising in explosive ordnance maintenance.
“I completed my trade qualification on the Seahawk before deciding I wanted a bigger challenge.
“The Aircrewman branch seemed to be the perfect fit; it looked like a high-tempo, physically demanding and mentally rewarding job that would provide the challenge I was seeking.
“I sat the week-long selection board in June last year and started training as an Aircrewman in October,” he said.
“As for the course: I honestly enjoyed every part of it, it’s the perfect mix of being seriously challenging, interesting as well as great fun.
“Flying every day for work means it hardly feels like work at all; and to top it all off the Shoalhaven is such a beautiful region to train, work and fly in, and it looks even better from the air!
“I’ve always been passionate about my work in the Navy and the job satisfaction I’ve found in my new role has only strengthened this even more.
“Honestly, I could talk all day about it. It’s seriously been the best fun I could imagine having at work.
“As for the future, as soon as I can I’d like to return to the Romeo Seahawk platform and deploy to sea so that I can contribute to Navy’s operations in a frontline aviation role; which I see as the pinnacle of achievement for an Aircrewman and the position in which our skills can be utilised best,” he said.