From the beaches of Coffs Harbour to the sands of the Middle East, Royal Australian Air Force Corporal Callen Burmester is flying high.  

A C-130J Hercules loadmaster, Corporal Burmester is responsible for the cargo and personnel flown around the Middle East in support of Defence Force missions. 

“This is my first deployment as a loadmaster and it’s extremely different to anything I have experienced before,” Corporal Burmester said. 

“My role is a small but vital piece to the puzzle. Knowing my role helps achieve mission success is a good feeling.

“Not only has COVID-19 changed our day-to-day routine on base, it has changed our operating procedures within my working environment, which has its challenges.

“Our biggest achievement so far was how quickly we managed to withdraw equipment and personnel out of Iraq as part of the change in mission on the ground.” 

For 14 years, Corporal Burmester was part of the movements mustering before becoming a loadmaster, deploying to East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.  

“No one day is the same, which is cliché but the best part,” Corporal Burmester said. 

“My previous job gave me a great introduction into the military and gave me the exposure to my current mustering.” 

Corporal Burmester never imagined he would serve for more than 16 years. 

“I initially joined for something to do while I figured out what I wanted as a career, long term, but I decided I was really enjoying my role and stayed serving,” Corporal Burmester said. 

“I would highly recommend the Australian Defence Force and my role to friends and family.

“It has been a great organisation to be a part of and, like any job, there have been some moments which have not been great but these are insignificant compared to the positive and rewarding times I have had.”

Corporal Burmester will return to Australia in a few months.

“I am looking forward to spending time with my partner that isn’t through a screen and also surfing to feel the saltwater on my face,” Corporal Burmester said. 

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