Realising the highlights of a career change

Realising the highlights of a career change

No. 1 Squadron Aircraft Technician Leading Aircraftman Martin Ritchie is an example of someone who can find a positive in any situation.

Taking a voluntary redundancy at the age of 46, Leading Aircraftman Ritchie decided it was the perfect opportunity for a career change.

“I had worked at the local paper mill for 21 years, so it was a bit daunting thinking about getting out there and learning something new,” Leading Aircraftman Ritchie said.

“I decided this was the time to try something I was passionate about. I knew it had to be something to do with aviation.

“Over the years I have built and flown remote-controlled aircraft and have done some flying lessons getting as far as passing the General Flying Progress Test.

“It was a nice surprise when I found out that I was still eligible to join the RAAF, so I submitted an application and here I am.

“I really enjoy coming to work each day, not only because I get to work on the mechanical system of the F/A-18F Super Hornet but because I am part of a great team and get to try so many new experiences.”

After calling Hobart home for 38 years, Leading Aircraftman Ritchie said it had been a bit of an adjustment having a job that could send him anywhere.

“In the last six years I have travelled extensively around Australia with work. I recently even had the opportunity to participate in Exercise Red Flag, which is a major international Air Combat Exercise in the US,” he said.

“This was a highlight of my career as it was the first time travelling internationally since arriving in Australia, from the UK, in 1974.

“It was also a good opportunity professionally as it gave me a chance to see how my job contributes to the broader RAAF mission.

“While on the exercise I spent time with the aircrew to get an understanding about what is involved in preparing to fly a mission. Sitting in the preflight brief was like listening to a foreign language, I almost needed a translator there are so many acronyms.”

Leading Aircraftman Ritchie said that the big career change had only been possible due to the support from his family.

“I come from a big family, so they play a big part in my life. My wife and I have seven children and 12 grandkids with the 13th on the way,” he said.

“Besides the travel, absolutely the best part is being able to share this adventure with my family.

“When I received the Airmanship award at 1RTU there was no prouder moment than having my family there to cheer me on, particularly being able to share that moment with my Dad.”

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