Three Gold Coast teenagers have taken their first steps in a career in the military. 

Ethan Blackstock, from Bonogin, Ken Yamamoto, from Pimpama, and Max Brown, from Upper Coomera, are among the latest officer cadets to join the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) having achieved excellent ATAR results in their final year of high school.

From continuing on a family legacy of service, to fulfilling leadership opportunities and embracing new challenges, these young men had a variety of motivations to join Defence.

For Officer Cadet Blackstock, who will be studying a Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security in the Australian Army, the stories of his father’s career as an Air Force officer, and the ADF response to the 2019/20 bushfires inspired his decision.

“The thought always lingered in my head, from hearing my father’s stories about his time serving, but the thought became much more prominent at the end of 2019 and start of 2020 when the Australian bushfires were at their worst,” he said.

“I saw on the news how much ADF members were doing to help and began to research what officers do and what it means to be an officer in the ADF. 

“The Australian Defence Force Academy seemed almost too perfect as I’d continue to further my education, while learning to lead as an Australian Army officer.”

A desire to experience new life experiences and tackle the unknown spurred Officer Cadet Yamamoto to apply to ADFA. 

The chance to study a Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical Engineering) in the Air Force was a pathway that appealed to the 17-year-old, who is the first in his family to serve.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, and I first heard about ADFA in 2017,” he said. 

“The idea of being employed while attending university and having a guaranteed position in my dream job afterwards was very appealing to me.

“Since then, I’ve wanted to attend ADFA.”

With a mother, father and grandfather having served previously, Officer Cadet Max Brown is proud to continue on a fine Air Force legacy.

“I've been raised my whole life hearing countless stories of my parents’ and grandparents' time in the military and cannot wait to make some of my own that I too may pass down in future years,” he said.

“I decided to join ADFA early into my final year at school. 

“I am most excited for the rare opportunities that ADFA offers that you will not find in most other universities, or careers.

“The active lifestyle paired with the constant need to problem-solve is right up my alley.”

Director-General Defence Force Recruiting Brigadier Duncan Hayward said it was immensely rewarding to help facilitate career paths into the ADF.

“What we do at Defence Force Recruiting is recruit the right people, in the right numbers, at the right time,” he said.

“Training at ADFA is world-class, and I’m confident that Ethan, Ken and Max will do themselves and their families proud in the coming years. 

“They should be proud of their achievement.”

To find out more about a future career in the Australian Defence Force, visit