Back in 1977, I was in Tasmania. Mum and Dad had parted ways etc. and I was living with Mum and I went down there for my last two years of matriculation, years 11 and 12. We lived on a farm, we rented a farm out of Launceston, 1500 acres, and it was really cool, living on the farm and doing stuff, but we were still going to school in town.
I had not really decided what I wanted to do at that stage, I was pretty keen on being, of all things, a forest ranger. I was very environmentally hooked up then, I was pretty keen to do the right thing by the environment, so forth, back in those days.
And I went along, and I was chatting with my mates and then they said, "How about you come down to the recruiting office, they want a bunch of Navy pilots". I went, "Ah yeah".
I really didn't want to have anything to do with that, because I'd grown up during Vietnam as well. I was a bit "Hmm, don't really want to be in that". And we went to the recruiting thing, and I sort of thought, "All this is looking a bit of alright, this is quite interesting stuff". And we were interviewed and so forth and because I wear glasses, and my Mum's background of working in hospital, of all things, they decided to suggest that I become a medic, and I was a bit, "Huh, okay". I basically said, "Okay, I'll do the test for that.
My mates did their tests and of the six of us that went down, I was the only one that passed. And suddenly I'm looking like becoming a medic. Finished off school, matriculated and in between waiting for them to call me up. I worked on a chicken farm of all things in Longford, in Tassie, in the big sheds that were doing all the, churning them through and literally killing chickens to get them through to the markets.
The police came and saw me one day and said, "Navy want to talk to you". And on the 7th of February 1978. So it was just after Christmas. I was called up and signed on the dotted line and flew to Melbourne and it started from there.