Glen Ferrarotto - Joining the ADF
I grew up in Greensborough or northeastern suburbs of Melbourne. Father's an Italian immigrant, Mum's a Kiwi immigrant, so a good mix. Primary school in Greensborough and then secondary school in the city, Trinity Grammar.
I had aspirations to join the military in some degree. I think originally, I wanted to be a fighter pilot because I think that's what every young kid wants to do but the aptitude was never there and so I did about four or five years in Air Force Cadets and the idea was that I'd leave school and go up to ADFA, that was the plan but that didn't eventuate. And in fact, there were about five or six of us that became very close mates in Air Cadets, and we all ended up joining the Army instead of the Air Force.
So I finished school, I finished year 12 in 1997 and Mum and Dad had suffered and worked very hard to send my sister and I to private schools and they'd sacrificed a hell of a lot, so they really had their hearts set on us going to university and all I wanted to do of course was join the Army.
So that was a pretty difficult conversation to have, especially with my old man, who was a national serviceman during the Vietnam War. And so he'd had a pretty rough experience of Army and in particular, the Army training environment. He was a skinny little Italian immigrant who was really kicked around a lot during basic training but that was then and obviously times had changed a lot. But to appease Mum and Dad and to at least give it a go, I did go to university, I got into an arts degree, barely, at La Trobe Uni but prior to starting, I went off to Kapooka to do recruit training as a Reserve soldier.
So when year 12 was finished, the majority of people I went to school with went up to the Gold Coast to hit Schoolies and other places and I went up to Wagga Wagga to recruit training and I came back. I loved being in the Army but I had to go to university, so I tried to balance the two, Army Reserve and university but the university life, it just didn't work for me and so I think about six months in, I transferred across to the regular Army and I went up to Latchford Barracks, where I trained as a mechanic.