Travel and social-distancing restrictions didn’t dampen Aircraftman Taylor Porta’s graduation from the RAAF Security and Fire School. 

He is one of eight Aboriginal students who graduated on July 6. 

Growing up in Koonibba, a small Aboriginal community about 800km west of Adelaide, South Australia, Aircraftman Porta said he had to pay extra attention at school to learn English.

“My first language is Wirangu, which is my dad’s language,” Aircraftman Porta said.

He said a visit by Air Force representatives at his high school, Ocean View College, sparked his interest, which led to Aircraftman Porta spending a week at RAAF Base Edinburgh to get a taste of life in the Air Force.

“We learnt all the basic stuff, including how to march – it was an amazing experience and I still keep in contact with the corporals I met there,” Aircraftman Porta said. 

He enlisted on January 21 2020 through the ADF Gap Year Program and is now posted to No. 1 Security Forces Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. 

Aircraftman Porta said he hadn’t stopped learning and was enjoying the experience. 

“I love it, it’s like a whole new family,” he said. 

Aircraftman Porta is now qualified to conduct airbase protection. 

“I’m here to show people that regardless of their experiences, they can succeed in their goals and their dreams,” Aircraftman Porta said. 

“I want to be the role model that I never had for my nieces and nephews, generations to come and non-Indigenous people - I want to be somebody greater for them to look up to.”