Leading Aircraftwoman (LACW) Jade Wildin is a long way from home but back to her roots providing medical care to Australian Defence Force personnel on Fiji’s second largest Island, Vanua Levu.
LACW Wildin, of Fijian descent herself, is a medic from the 1st Expeditionary Health Squadron (1EHS) in Amberley, and has been providing medical support to the ADF and Republic of Fiji Military Forces contingent of construction engineers who are rebuilding classrooms at the Lekutu Secondary School.
The school was damaged in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Yasa, which devastated many parts of the country in 2020.
Hailing from Kellyville in north-west Sydney, LACW Wildin studied Veterinary Nursing before joining the RAAF in 2016.
After graduating from the Army School of Health (ASH) medic course in 2018, she was posted to 1EHS.
Since then, she has deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist, Operation SURPAT and currently as part of the Construction Engineer Team in Fiji.
Wildin’s father is Fijian and her grandmother still lives in Suva, with lots of extended family peppered throughout many of the smaller surrounding islands.
Although she has visited Fiji several times to see family, this is the first time LACW Wildin has gotten to visit her ancestral home in a military capacity.
“It has been an amazing experience to be able to wear my uniform alongside the Republic of Fiji Military Forces,” she said.
“It means a lot to me that I had this opportunity to support Humanitarian work for the Fijian people.”
Wildin’s assessment of working in Fiji echoes the sentiment of other ADF personnel on the island.
“Fiji is a beautiful place, the coral and sea life is unreal here,” she said.
“The Fijian people are some of the nicest and most polite people you’ll ever meet. They have a very relaxed culture.”
After her work here with the Construction Engineer Team, LACW Wildin is looking forward to posting to the 1 EHS Detachment Townsville with her partner.