From the school yard to the “ship’s office”, Flight Lieutenant Jason Shapcott is experiencing a deployment far from his civilian life as the Principal at Caralee Community School in Western Australia. 

The Air Force reservist is deployed to Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633) in the Middle East as the administration and staff officer.  

Uniquely for a personnel capability officer (PCO), he commands three Navy writers who work in the headquarters orderly room, known in the Navy as the “ship’s office”.  

“The HQJTF633 orderly room team consists of the officer-in-charge, chief writer and two maritime personnel operators (writers) which are all Navy, so this makes for interesting days trying to understand their naval slang,” Flight Lieutenant Shapcott said.

 “My role is dual hatted. I manage the administration team as the officer-in-charge and I’m the Staff Officer to the Chief of Staff. My team provides customised admin support to the headquarters.”  

The orderly room is the glue that brings the headquarters together, providing important specialist admin functions for deployed personnel.

“It’s like a barometer for HQ morale. We are the first point of call as people come in the door and we are always up for a chat,”  Flight Lieutenant Shapcott said.

“To have the opportunity to lead my own dedicated and highly effective team on operations is the pinnacle of my 12-year ADF reserve career.”

Flight Lieutenant Shapcott’s reserve career spans more than half of his 23 professional years with WA’s Department of Education. 

This is his second operational role since enlisting in the Air Force in 2008.

“I was privileged when given the chance to serve with the ADF on Operation Southern Indian Ocean in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in 2014,” Flight Lieutenant Shapcott said.

“Being here in the Middle East I have experienced the operational environment and learnt from the command team’s exceptional leadership.”

Flight Lieutenant Shapcott said he was looking forward to returning to his role at the school, and to his wife, Renee, and three children Rachael,16, Meghan, 15 and Evie, 11.

“As a leader in the Department of Education WA, I look forward to taking back lessons learned from my work with the senior leadership of JTF633,” he said.