Elder encourages career in military
The 2015 national elder of the year Graham Taylor said he would recommend joining the military to any young indigenous person completing Year 10, 11 or 12.
“It’s a really good career,” he said.
“If they don’t know any discipline, it will help them to better themselves, to become a better person, more mature. That discipline that carries through from the navy, airforce and army, it will bring up their self-esteem .”
Mr Taylor said being in the army was a positive experience for him.
“We all had the same uniform and we all was mates,” he said.
“Being in Vietnam 46 years ago in 1971, the young fellows with me in the platoon was very good too and we’re still friends, mates, brothers, and we will be for the rest of our life.”
Mr Taylor’s comments came ahead of this week’s visit by indigenous defence force members who are in Geraldton this week to encourage Aboriginal people to join the Australian armed forces.
Leading Seaman Laura Frayling is a chef in the navy and Corporal Nathan Beck works as a dog handler with the air force.
They are conducting a Defence Careers Information Day today and tomorrow from 6-7pm at Geraldton Army Reserve Depot, 199 Lester Avenue. “This is a fantastic opportunity for locals to ask questions of serving members and learn more about a career in the ADF,” they said.
They will also be available for interviews until Thursday.
Meanwhile, Mr Taylor said he had had a long and interesting career since joining the army at 17.
During his Vietnam tour of duty with the 4th Battalion, he served for three months as a forward scout and four months as a stretcher bearer, where he saved at least half a dozen lives.
He was then posted to the RAAF Butterworth base in Malaysia for six months.
After his discharge, he worked for 10 years at the Main Roads Department, two years as a prison officer and 20 years with Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation.
Graham Taylor, in 2015, with the plaque at the RSL Geraldton, which honours the indigenous men and women of the Yamaji (Mid West) region, who served in Australia’s military services.
Graham Taylor and James Hawke with a platoon mate in Vietnam in 1971.