Leaving lycra behind
2 March 2018
Former Bullsbrook local Linda Hughes left lycra and leotards of the gym scene behind when she signed up for the Air Force more than 20 years ago.
The former fitness instructor from Perth is currently deployed to the Middle East working as an administration officer at Australia’s main base in the region.
In her Middle East role she works with two clerks to managing travel, pay, leave and welfare.
Linda was convinced to sign up in 1997 by a woman who worked for Air Force recruiting and attended her classes.
Tried of running fitness sessions, Linda joined as an admin clerk and was posted to RAAF Pearce.
“I like the structure of the military, I like the discipline,” she said.
“Working as a subcontractor for a long time, I know how hard it is out in the civilian world.
“We have a voice in the Air Force. Out in the private sector it’s usually a case of put up with what’s going on at your job or leave, but the RAAF works to make life better for its members.”
Although Linda is currently posted to Canberra, she still sees Bullsbrook as her home town.
“It’s kind of country, it’s a nice small community where everyone knows each other so it’s a very caring spot,” she said.
“It’s across the road from the RAAF base so what’s not to like.
Linda’s mum served in the Women’s Royal Air Force in the UK and her uncle served in the Merchant Navy, but her family were still surprised when she signed up.
“When I was going to join, mum and dad said ‘oh, come on, really?’,” Linda said.
“But they were just so proud when I went into recruiting that day, got accepted and got on the plane.”
Linda arrived in the Middle East for her six-month deployment in October and tries to have as much contact as she can with her family including five-year-old son Henry.
“I Skype him everyday and as long as he can see me, talk to me and tell me what he’s done, he’s happy,” she said.
“He misses me but he’s with his dad and his grandad so he’s ok; I just need to see they’re ok and I’m happy.”
Linda is deployed is deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Accordion, supporting Australian Defence Force activities in the Middle East.
From Australia's main base in the region, about 500 ADF personnel provide support to Australian operations throughout the region, including Iraq, Afghanistan and at sea.