Born in Ipswich, Wing Commander Mary Anne Whiting undertook a secretarial course at Kangaroo Point TAFE after finishing school at Year 10 - the beginning of a varied career that has taken her around the world, achieving many firsts in the process.
Starting work with a Breakfast Creek manufacturing company before "adjusting" her age to earn $75 a fortnight with an insurance company, Wing Commander Whiting has had an outstanding career in the ADF with the Air Force, where she has had three different roles.
An airwoman, a senior non-commissioned officer and officer, Wing Commander Whiting's career has been influenced by having great role models.
"Although I have been with the Air Force for a long time, to be honest with you I have not done anything extraordinary," Wing Commander Whiting said.
"I owe my longevity in Air Force to three things: my timing has always been good, there have been times when I was in the right place at the right time, but more importantly many of the great experiences I have had is because I had terrific bosses and role models who gave me opportunities and then let me get on with the job.
"I have also been very fortunate to have many good people who have weaved their way in and out of my life and career."
Wing Commander Whiting's career has seen her, on a number of occasions, a bystander to historic events such as attending the canonisation of Australia's first saint Sister Mary MacKillop (Saint Mary of the Cross).
Today, Wing Commander Whiting holds a senior position in the Air Force's History and Heritage Branch.
"Completing my full-time service, I now work as a reservist as Deputy Director Community Engagement," she said.
"Under the leadership of the Director-General Air Force History and Heritage Branch, I am responsible for advising the branch on all aspects of external and internal communications relating to Air Force history and heritage, by promoting an awareness of Air Force history and heritage as a core value.
"I am also responsible for developing, executing and evaluating communications approaches designed to inform Air Force personnel, special interest groups, and the public of the roles, activities and work being undertaken by the branch to promote and preserve Air Force history and heritage."
You can watch Wing Commander Whiting's story here.
Planning is underway to mark the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force on March 31, 2021. For further information, visit www.airforce.gov.au/100