Born in the rural Queensland town of Proston, 20-year-old Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pilot Officer James Madden soon will be playing a crucial role in ensuring the safety of Australia’s military aircraft.

The recent Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) graduate will begin training as a RAAF air traffic controller next year.

“The training will see me qualified to coordinate aircraft movements, both in Australia and on operations overseas,” Pilot Officer Madden said.

He and about 300 of his Navy, Army and Air Force classmates graduated from ADFA on December 6.

After finishing high school at Brisbane Grammar School, Pilot Officer Madden joined the RAAF in early 2018.

He began military training at ADFA in Canberra and simultaneously started a Bachelor of Business at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Besides his studies and military training, Pilot Officer Madden was active in extracurricular activities, including with the ADFA Rowing Club, the performing arts committee, and being the trainee officer in charge of the academy’s social media accounts.

“It’s been really interesting and rewarding to show ADFA off to the world through our Facebook and Instagram pages,” Pilot Officer Madden said.

It’s been really interesting and rewarding to show ADFA off to the world through our Facebook and Instagram pages.

He said the friendships and opportunity to develop as an individual were his favourite experiences at ADFA.

“I’ve really enjoyed the mateship and bonding. You get to watch your mates grow and mature while also growing yourself,” Pilot Officer Madden said.

A sense of service inspired Pilot Officer Madden to join the RAAF.

“Joining the RAAF gave me an opportunity to serve Australia and protect my family,” he said.

“Even if you are just considering joining the Australian Defence Force, give it a go.

“The people you meet and the things you get to do are second to none.

“It’s never too late to join.”

Before beginning air traffic controller training at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria next year, Pilot Officer Madden will head home to Proston, where his family still resides, for Christmas leave.