Elder encourages career in the military

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian

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 were in Geraldton to encourage Aboriginal people to join the Australian armed forces.

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.

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