The eternal mateship of our trans-Tasman family
Australia and New Zealand have a proud history of shared military endeavour for more than a century.
This year, Anzac Day will be like no other but nothing will dampen Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant Lisa Johnson’s Anzac Day spirit.
“Anzac Day for me is about reflecting on the supreme sacrifice that so many men and women have given for their country during times of conflict over the last 120 years,” Sergeant Johnson said.
“As a mother of three boys, I feel it’s very important to pass on the Anzac Day tradition and as a family to remember all of those who served and died in all wars and conflicts.
“Their ultimate sacrifice has allowed us to live as we do today and has taught us to uphold those strong Anzac values of courage, humour, endurance and mateship.”
Born in New Zealand, Sergeant Johnson moved with her family to Melbourne when she was six.
She has enjoyed a long and diverse career with the Australian Defence Force since enlisting in 1992.
“My Grandfather was in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was always retelling stories of his time during his service,” Sergeant Johnson said.
“I also thought it sounded exciting to be part of the Defence Force.
“After spending a few years in the Army as a transport driver, I started to look at other jobs in the ADF.
“I was interested in policing and the Air Force Police seemed the perfect job to go into as I could still serve in the ADF and perform a policing role so I made the leap from Army to Air Force in 1995.
“The Air Force has such a rich history and is amazing to be a part of.”
Based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, Sergeant Johnson is a member of the Range Control Management Flight at Air Force Test Range Squadron. It’s responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) with both uniformed Defence personnel and APS who patrol the WPA to monitor compliance with permit conditions.
“I also participate in trials planning and coordinate the Regional Compliance Officer Program, which involves a number of Indigenous personnel who have been recruited from the six traditional owner groups within the WPA,” Sergeant Johnson said.
“I transferred to the Reserves in 2005, which allowed me to stay in Adelaide, a place I now call home.
“I have been playing, umpiring or coaching hockey since I was 15 and have been involved with Gawler Hockey Club since 2002.
“I have been involved with junior hockey for a number of years and I’m very passionate about junior development in the local area.”
Throughout her military career, Sergeant Johnson has had many challenges and highlights, with her deployment on Operation Slipper in 2010 being the most memorable.
“Deployments were very limited in the 1990s during my full-time service so to be able to finally go away on a deployment was very memorable but challenging at the same time,” she said.
“I had three young boys at home [seven-year-old twins and a two-year-old]. It was hard to be away from them and my husband for quite a few months.
“In these unprecedented times, it’s important we unite.
“This Anzac Day, I will be standing at the end of my driveway holding a candle with my family at 6am and observing a minute’s silence.
“This is different to previous years but we are still able to honour all those who have served our country.
“Lest we forget.”