In a fitting tribute before retiring after 27 years of service in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Sergeant Steven Grant was able to deploy on exercise with his son.

Travelling to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on Exercise Cope North 2022 as a No. 77 Squadron maintenance manager, Sergeant Grant found himself alongside his son, Leading Aircraftman Jason Grant, who was providing security for the squadron’s deployable mission planning facilities.

For the father-and-son duo, both from Seymour, Victoria, this special occasion marked the first time they worked together on an exercise.

Sergeant Grant said he was thrilled when he found out he would be working alongside his son in Guam.

“During my 27 years in the RAAF, I’ve maintained the F-111C, F/A-18 Hornet, and also did a three-year stint at No. 278 Squadron delivering technical training to F/A-18 aircraft system maintainers,” Sergeant Grant said.

“This will be my final posting, maintaining F-35A Lightning II aircraft at No. 77 Squadron, as I intend to retire in July this year.

“As a father, I’m extremely proud of what Jason has achieved and have always encouraged him to do the best he can.

“It’s been great to spend time together in a professional sense doing our jobs and seeing each other performing our roles, giving us both a greater appreciation of what the other does.”

Leading Aircraftman Grant is an airfield defence guard with No. 1 Security Forces Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown and was supporting No. 77 Squadron during the exercise.

Enlisting in the RAAF four years ago, Leading Aircraftman Grant said it was his father who inspired him to join.

“I always knew I wanted to join Defence after leaving high school, mostly to give back and to do something for others, so when I turned 30 I thought now is the time before I leave it too late,” Leading Aircraftman Grant said.

“I’ve looked up to Dad my entire life, so the day I graduated my initial training at No. 1 Recruit Training Unit and got to stand with Dad, with us both in uniform, was one of my proudest moments.

“With Dad thinking about the next stage after the RAAF it meant a lot to me to be able to go on an exercise with him before he retires.

“We see each other quite regularly at home being both posted to RAAF Base Williamtown, but to actually work together during Cope North was an experience I will cherish forever.”