NAIDOC Week is a chance for Australians to acknowledge the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

From July 7-14, personnel in the Middle East will pause to celebrate the unique skill-sets, knowledge and perspectives that Indigenous personnel bring to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Leading Aircraftman James Evans, a proud Wiradjuri man from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, is currently deployed to the Middle East region working with the aircraft security operations team. 

A part of Operation Accordion, his job is to fly with the C-130J Hercules, providing embarked security for the aircraft, aircrew and passengers at airfields across the region.

“It is important for our mobs to speak up. It is important that our voice is heard.”

For him, there are many similarities between his Defence and Indigenous cultures.

“There is a closeness I have with my workmates here. It is separate from my Indigenous family, but in a way it is a similar kinship,” Leading Aircraftman Evans said.

“It is important for our mobs to speak up. It is important that our voice is heard. We need to start acknowledging the past.”

Leading Aircraftman Evans is the first member of his family to join the military and thinks it would be a great career choice for his kin.

“To be part of Defence you have to be driven and committed; this career drives you mentally and physically because you are dedicated to a greater cause,” he said.