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Air Force – Signals Operator Technical


Hi, I’m Eleanor Mongan. I’m a signals operator
technical. I work in signal intelligence,
specifically electronic intelligence. I analyse radar and
radar signals. It’s a top secret environment,
and the data that we produce and what we analyse feeds back
into a bigger air intelligence picture for the wider
defence force. It is hard to describe because
it is such a top secret environment that we work in. We tend to hide away in
buildings without windows. We tend to be hiding at the back
of deployments, in rooms that nobody else can access but
those that work in there. So it’s a job not many
people know about. Out of high school, I didn’t
really know what to do. I knew that I didn’t want
to go on and do uni. I went into recruiting, and I
knew I wanted to do something communications. I knew I liked the idea
of intelligence. So I ended up as a sigs op. There’s the initial 10-week
recruit training. Then I had to wait for
a positive clearance. They look at you. They look at your friends. They look at your family. They look at your complete
background. You’re given a lot of
responsibility once you actually achieve
that clearance. After I got my clearance, I
started my actual initial employment training, did six
months up at Cabarlah, which is up in Toowoomba
in Queensland. And that was a lot of basic
training, a lot of preparation for the job. And then our [? SID ?] training
down in Nara, and we did a lot more focused
electronics intelligence training. To be able to do this job, you
definitely need to have a curious and analytical mind. I was much more history and
English-based at school. I never figured myself
mathematical in any sort of sense. But I can do the job. If you’ve met the requirements
for recruiting, then you’ll learn the skills
that you need. During our training, we end up
with a Certificate III in communications which you can
then use to go on and do a certificate for a diploma
through TAFE. Making a big move away
from family, away from friends is hard. But through the Air Force, you
meet a lot of new people, and you end up with really
good, strong bonds. So you end up being closer to
Adelaide with a lot of your friends, people that you’ve
lived with for the last eight months. Biggest highlight for me was
going to the Middle East. It’s a real eye-opener for
their culture over there. And you develop a real
appreciation of what’s going on in the world. And you get a sense
of achievement. Our conditions are fantastic
when you go away. We don’t do it tough. We don’t dig holes. We work in air conditioned
offices. We don’t have windows, which you
have no idea what time of day it is half the time. For me at the moment, a typical
day is Monday to Friday, quarter to eight
to quarter to five. And outside of work, I
live a normal life. I go see concerts. I go to the movies, go out
to dinner with friends. It’s just like any job. You wear a uniform. That’s probably the biggest
difference. Definitely recommend it. It’s a great life. There’s great opportunity, so
I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t do it.

Tony wyaad

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