EXPLOSIVES ARE A WAY OF LIFE FOR THIS ARMAMENT TECHNICIAN IN HER AIR FORCE CAREER
Canberra Girls Grammar School graduate and now Air Force technician, Bethany Magner always knew she wanted a career in the Air Force, ultimately choosing a high pressure career in armaments.
DefenceLife: What is a typical day for you?
LACW Bethany Magner: Our section starts physical training at 7am, run by our combat fitness leaders. Our training block varies and can consist of strength, cardio, endurance, HIIT sessions and pack marching.
We brief at 8.30am and plan our work for the day. This can range from maintaining our equipment, such as the Talon Robots and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) bomb suits, continuation training lectures, live demolitions on the range, through to running training scenarios to keep our skills up to date.
After work, I usually do my own fitness training too.
DL: What led you to the job?
BM: I wanted to join the RAAF from the age of four, through an interest in aircraft and the military. In my formative years I found a passion for building and repairing things, so a technical role made sense.
During the Australian Defence Force application process I was most interested in the Aircraft Armament Technician (ARMTECH) role, due to a broad range of skills and training. As an ARMTECH you have to work on aircraft before you are able to move in to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal field (not every ARMTECH takes this path with most remaining on aircraft), and then pass a number of courses and complete training to become qualified.
The fact that there are always goals to aim for and something new to achieve keeps me motivated.
DL: How do you prepare yourself for the psychological challenges of the role?
BM: I believe it all comes down to how you approach each day, and training. People figure out fairly quickly if they are suited to the role or not. We always work in teams, so having a tight group you can trust makes it easier.
DL: How do you keep yourself motivated in a pressure filled environment?
BM: In my mind, I’m always cognisant of improving my skillset and myself to stay up to the challenge. I use the quote “stay hungry”. There’s always something you can do better than last time. I try to use that pressure in a good way, driving towards improvement, towards that next goal.
DL: What do you consider the most important aspect of your job?
BM: Having the training and experience behind me to make the right decision at the right time. There is not much time to make the call in a high-pressure environment, so taking the time to train and expand my knowledge to be in the best position when that call has to be made is critical.
DL: What are some aspects of your work you never expected?
BM: I made sure I did a lot of research into the role prior to joining, internal and external to Defence Force Recruiting so I haven’t really come across anything I wasn’t prepared for.
DL: What is the most enjoyable part?
BM: I get to work outside every day, usually in the field. No day is the same, and there’s always a new challenge to strive for.
DL: What would you consider your greatest career achievement?
BM: Successfully completing the Tri-Service EOD Mod 2 Course, qualifying me as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, a course that was up until recently reserved for senior Corporals and above.
DL: What are the greatest challenges?
BM: Maintaining a high standard in all aspects of my career (physical fitness/qualifications/trade knowledge) in a high tempo environment for extended periods of time. Also having to integrate myself into teams with people who have vastly different experiences and career backgrounds, which can lead to challenges during task execution.