Four decades full of heavy lifting
MORE than 40 years ago, 17-year-old Wayne Silverman said goodbye to his family and friends in Busselton, Western Australia, and joined the Royal Australian Air Force.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now 57, Warrant Officer Silverman from Amberley is deployed to Eindhoven Airfield in the Netherlands as a RAAF C-17A loadmaster supporting Operation Bring Them Home: the recovery and repatriation effort focused on downed aircraft MH-17.
"I actually chalked up my 40th anniversary the day we arrived in the Netherlands from Australia," he said.
"This operation is basically two major milestones for me personally. My 40 years and a tasking that I will never forget; both very significant for me."
As a C-17A loadmaster from Amberley near Brisbane, Wayne oversees and assists in all loading and unloading of the aircraft including vehicles, passengers and cargo.
In the Netherlands the loadmasters have been a vital cog in the effort to transport supplies, personnel and equipment between Eindhoven and Kharkiv in the Ukraine.
Forty years of commitment, including 30 years as a loadmaster is an impressive record in anyone's language.
"My first time working overseas was when I was deployed to the Sinai.
"That was just after I became a loadmaster. Since then it's been ongoing jobs anywhere in the world at any time," he said.
"I've had five deployments to the Middle East Area of Operations on C-130 Hercules."
It's easy to see how Wayne recently chalked up 10,000 flying hours on RAAF aircraft.
"People keep asking, 'how are you doing all this at your age?'," he said.
"I work smarter, not harder."