Darren Moffitt

Bidjigal Gweagal of Wallangang of the Eora Nation
Retired Warrant Officer Class 2
Air Dispatcher
Royal Australian Corps of Transport
Australian Army

Medals and Awards

Australian Active Service Medal – Clasp East Timor
International Force East Timor Medal
Defence Long Service Medal – 2 Clasp
Australian Defence Medal
Soldiers Medallion for Exemplary Service
Chief of the Defence Force Commendation
Returned From Active Service Badge
Army Combat Badge

I was born in 1968, in Sydney NSW. My mother grew up on the Aboriginal Mission at La Perouse, Botany Bay, where my Grandmother and generations of her family lived. My Grandfather, a World War II veteran and member of the Stolen Generations, made La Perouse his home after discharging from the Army in Sydney in 1946. My father was an Underwater Medic in the Royal Australian Navy and was already a Vietnam Veteran by the time I was born – he served as a sailor in the Navy for 22 years.

My father’s Navy service and my grandfather’s Army service had a significant influence my decision to join the Australian Defence Force. I wasn’t an academic student and I found Year 12 difficult and by February 1985, I decided that I would join the Army rather than finish High School. I knew I wanted to parachute, and I read about an infantry unit based at Holsworthy – the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) – joining them was my goal. Back in those days, you joined the Army first, then during basic training they allocated you to whatever job roles were going at the time, mostly infantry.

I enlisted on 24th April 1985.  I was 17 years, 1 month and 8 days old – just a kid really. I was the youngest Recruit at Kapooka and as far as I could tell, the only black fulla. I was in 14 Platoon, Bravo Company and I found basic training tough. Some of the more senior instructors and other staff at Kapooka were Vietnam veterans and they were hard. Our Platoon was allocated jobs in almost every other Corps, except infantry. The only job that was on offer to me that included parachuting was a role called ‘Air Dispatcher’. This was in the Corps of Transport and from what I read, sounded pretty good because they parachuted, flew in planes airdropping equipment and worked with helicopters.

1992 – seven years later, my daughter was born, Larissa Jane – I was a junior NCO, a qualified Air Dispatch Crew Commander and had racked up 90 or so static line parachute jumps, living my dream, but looking for bigger challenges. I attempted the SASR selection course and failed after ‘pulling the pin’ halfway through – that was early 1993. Around about this time the ADF was going through a major restructure and the Air Dispatch Squadron was being reduced by 50%. To save Air Dispatcher positions, a high level decision was made to send a group of 15 Air Dispatchers to 3RAR to take on a dual role of operating as the Battalion Transport Platoon and also delivering an integral aerial delivery capability for the Battalion during Company level parachute operations without having to rely on the Air Dispatch Squadron, who by now at half normal strength was heavily committed supporting Special Operations units on the Western and Eastern seaboards.  I hit a fork in the road – the first posting to 3RAR with one of my great mentors, Sergeant Jim Prien or apply for the Army’s only other ‘selection’ course – the Recruit Instructor Selection Course (RISC).

I decided being a Recruit Instructor might be a bit more challenging and in late 1993, I finished the RISC and was selected. I spent the next two years at Kapooka training recruits (just happened to be in 14 Platoon, Bravo Company) and while living in Wagga Wagga, I married my beautiful wife Kim in the Botanical Gardens and Larissa Jane was our Flower Girl. In 1996, I was posted back to 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, which by this stage had moved to the RAAF Richmond Air Base. My second daughter was born in August that year – Emily Jean and the next two years were spent as an Air Dispatch Crew Commander at the Squadron.

In 1998, I was posted to Air Movements Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) on promotion to Sergeant as an Army Instructor and later that year, my son Ethan James was born. In July-August 1999, East Timor was all over the national news and by late September of that year, Australia was leading an International Force to restore peace in East Timor. At this time I was completing my second year as an Army instructor at AMTDU, when I received an early posting order – I was finally being posted to 3RAR as the Air Dispatch/Transport Platoon Sergeant and I would deploy to East Timor in December 1999. Serving on operations was a highlight in my career.

My posting to 3RAR felt like it went too quickly and in 2002, I was posted on promotion, back to AMTDU as an Aerial Delivery Project Officer. My next posting would see us move to Albury-Wodonga in 2004, where I took up a position as a Training Developer for the Air Dispatch trade at the Army Logistic Training Centre (ALTC). We built and moved into our first home by May 2005 and decided we were making Albury Wodonga our home. I managed several local postings in the Albury Wodonga Military Area (AWMA) and in 2009, I met WO1 Col Watego – he was single handedly delivering an Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Course (IPRC) in Newcastle and I went up to meet him and let him know I was keen to assist where I could. I supported the delivery of four more IPRCs as a military mentor over the next few years, which is another major highlight in my career. In 2012, I transitioned out of Army after completing 27 years.

In April 2022, my son Ethan James enlisted in the Army as a Combat Engineer, he completed Kapooka in July and his IET course at Holsworthy in November and was posted to 2 Combat Engineer Regiment at the end of 2022. Our family history of military service has no doubt influenced his decision to serve country.

My Grandfather, Harold James Stewart – Gunner, 4th Field Regiment, Australian Army.

My son, Private Ethan Moffitt