Working part-time in an honorary capacity with his local RSL, Jesmond local Michael Phillips loves the beaches of Newcastle when it’s time to relax.
A pilot with Cathay Pacific, the former Jesmond Rams player and Jesmond High School student didn't start his working career with Cathay Pacific – it was much closer to home.
"Growing up in Newcastle and constantly seeing Mirages, Macchi and F/A-18s flying around looked like a great job to have, so, in 1989, I joined the ADF," Squadron Leader (retd) Phillips said.
"Looking back on my Royal Australian Air Force career as its centenary is upon us in 2021, I feel quite an honour that I was a part of its history.
"I feel privileged that I can watch the dawn of its second century and see fifth-generation technology be combined and integrated across numerous platforms."
Before taking up his current role, Squadron Leader Phillips was an accomplished Lockheed C-130 Hercules pilot who saw service across the world.
"I have been involved in a large number of unique situations and there were some standout instances," he said.
"From seeing the pure joy on the faces of special needs children in Mount Isa as we showed them over the Hercules and the bond and mateship of operational deployments.
"However, there was also the heartbreak and emotional toll of the recovery of the injured victims of the Bali bombing and the Aceh tsunami relief operation."
Air Force will mark 100 years of service to Australia on March 31. For details, visit www.airforce.gov.au/100.