Ex Cadet Leah Swain Commissioned in Royal Australian Armoured Corps

I joined 13 (City of Exeter) Sqn ATC in 2002 when I was 13 years old. I joined with other like-minded teenagers who wanted to fly or even just make friends outside of school.

Ex 13 Cadet

PICTURE: Me (left) and my older sister Sophie (right) immediately after my graduation parade 28 Jun 2016.

I moved to Australia in 2005 when I was 15 but continued to pursue my interest in flying by taking lessons in my school holidays. When I applied to the Royal Australian Air Force I was just under the maximum height restriction but I failed the aptitude test. I went back a year later and I had grown ¾ of an inch so it seemed that I was destined not to be a pilot after all. I returned to the recruitment process several years later with an open mind and ended up enlisting as a Telecommunications Systems Technician in the Australian Army in 2011. 3 years later I decided to transfer to become and Officer. I wanted more of a challenge, and I certainly got it!

I was accepted into the Royal Military College-Duntroon (RMC-D) in Canberra, Australia. It is the premier leadership training centre for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and its curriculum is derived from West Point, the Royal Military College-Canada and, of course, Sandhurst. The 18 month course is designed to take both civilians and existing serving soldiers and teach them everything that they will need to know to become junior Officers. Subjects range from military history, strategic studies and tactics to physical/ mental toughness training and ceremonial and protocol lessons. We worked 6 day weeks and often 16+ hour days. We started with 130 members in our class and graduated with 96 and our course had a reasonably low attrition rate compared to some.
So what you’re probably thinking at this stage is ‘how does this apply to me?’. Well its simple, I spent nearly 3 years in the ATC. I made friends that I still keep, I learnt skills that I still use but, most importantly, I made memories that I will never forget. So as I begin the next phase of my career as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps I can’t help but ask, where will your time in the ATC lead you?