Coen Henry
Barkindji/Wiradjuri Man
Flight Lieutenant
Logistics Officer (LOGO)
Indigenous Liaison Officer (ILO)
RAAF Base Williamtown
Royal Australian Air Force

 

Medals and Awards
Australian Active Service Medal with clasp ICAT
Afghanistan Medal
Australian Operational Service Medal – Greater Middle East Operation
Australian Defence Medal

I was born in Western Sydney and grew up in Mount Druitt in the 1990s. I met Uncle Col Watego, OAM, back in 2008 during the NSW School Holidays. He was running the inaugural Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Course (IPRC), which I attended with his support and mentorship. The program enabled me to forge a better life for myself, which was destined to end up dead or incarcerated, which 90% of my friends have succumbed to as a result of the area and challenges. Retired Warrant Officer Class 1 Uncle Col and Wing Commander (WGCDR) Sonia King saved me and changed the trajectory of my life. I have the utmost respect for them and my mentors, Dave, Kim, Ben and my wife, Em; they push me to be my best.

I enlisted on 26 April 2011 with Wing Commander (WGCDR) Sonia King being my first Commanding Officer (CO) at my first posting to RAAF Williamtown to 381 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (381ECSS). She was also my CO on Operation SLIPPER and Operation ACCORDION in the Middle East Region in 2014. WGCDR King was also the MC at my wedding on Friday, 04 October 2019. She is and remains my biggest motivator, supporter and mentor today. Her character and leadership are second to none and truly inspirational. She remains a mentor and close friend even today, with all the respect and admiration in the world. It has been an honour to serve with her and my mentors.

I served a decade in the ranks as an enlisted member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It was during the 2019-2020 Bushfires and a posting into 65 Air Base Recovery Squadron that I applied for a commission as an Officer in the Air Force after my Commanding Officer encouraged me to do so. I was pleased to be selected as an Indigenous Liaison Officer and specialising as a Logistics Officer.

I am grateful to the Air Force and the mentors I gained along the way, including some of my commanders and leaders who have become close friends. They continually drive and mentor me toward achieving my full potential. The organisation has come a long way during the over ten years that I have served. It is an organisation that strives for excellence and is based upon the values of service, courage, respect, integrity and excellence. I embody these values in everyday life in order to become a better aviator and person for my loved ones and mob.

I strive to serve another nineteen years before transitioning into retirement at the age of fifty-five. Studying, developing new skills, and being promoted and travelling domestically and abroad are on my radar. I’m excited for the future and the desire to push myself in all facets of life. There is no greater honour than serving our nation and being a role model for loved ones and mob. Serving the country is a privilege that is not taken lightly and drives me every day.