From horses to horsepower
Leading Aircraftwoman Alexandra Saint-John provided essential electrical servicing for fighter jets during Exercise Red Flag Alaska 21-3, which was her first overseas deployment.
The former horse trainer ensured the aircraft were ready for the next mission.
As an avionics technician from No. 6 Squadron, Leading Aircraftwoman Saint-John’s primary responsibility was to provide specialised electrical servicing for the EA-18G Growler, as well as flightline duties such as marshalling aircraft returning from flight.
Despite a significant amount of rain during the exercise, the challenging weather conditions did not dampen her spirits.
“Working at Eielson Air Force Base was definitely a lot different compared to sunny RAAF Base Amberley,” Leading Aircraftwoman Saint-John said.
“Usually our aircraft are undercover and protected from the rain, but deploying to Alaska, we were fully exposed to the elements, so we had to manage those risks.
“It had been very much a situation to adapt and overcome – we had to remain very flexible with everything that was going on around us.
“The exercise was extremely rewarding having the opportunity to work alongside the other squadrons and aircraft, it’s been a real eye-opening experience.”
No. 6 Squadron Growlers and personnel participated in Exercise Red Flag Alaska 21-3 from August 12 to 27.
The exercise aimed to strengthen the integration between United States Air Force and RAAF capabilities.
Previously working as a horse trainer, Leading Aircraftwoman Saint-John made the switch to working on fast jets when she enlisted in the Air Force in 2018.
“I grew up in Mount Eliza, Victoria, and worked as a stablehand while I completed my high school studies before I promoted to foreman in the manager’s role for the stables,” Leading Aircraftwoman Saint-John said.
“Eventually I made assistant trainer and had a client base of about 200 people and 45 horses.
“I made the decision to join the Air Force because I thought avionics sounded like a really incredible role, and I’m really glad that I made the decision.
“Being an avionics technician is fun and rewarding, so I think getting to work on fighter jets for a career is pretty amazing.
“I haven’t previously travelled much, so I am so grateful for these opportunities and excited to see what comes next.”