IT was a homecoming of sorts for Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Jason Dean when he gave a talk at the George Town RSL last week.
The son of Windermere MLC Ivan Dean was invited to the town to share his experiences serving in the Middle East.
‘‘I lived there (George Town) as a five and six-year-old,’’ Mr Dean said.
‘‘It was funny to drive past my old house.’’
Mr Dean returned to Australia in April following five months’ deployment.
While in the Middle East, he worked as a senior maintenance manager looking after medium-sized aircraft.
His team worked in extreme temperatures and under pressure.
At times, he was forced to carry a rifle and wear 15 kilograms of armour.
‘‘There was a lot of flying around and in and out of Afghanistan,’’ Mr Dean said.
‘‘It was my first Middle Eastern deployment and my first warlike deployment.
‘‘Overall it was a great experience from a professional point of view and an experience point of view, but it was hard with the family.’’
Wing Commander Dean left at home two young sons and a pregnant wife.
He said the defence force lifestyle would be impossible without strong family support.
‘‘It puts things in perspective,’’ he said.
‘‘The simple things in life become what you appreciate – just to sit down for dinner, play on the trampoline, play cricket,’’ he said.
Wing Commander Dean will now begin work on a policy project looking at the direction the air force should take in its aircraft and technology.