David Mayo
A descendant of the Mudburra and Jingili peoples of the Northern Territory and the Wagadagam Clan of the Torres Strait Islander peoples of Mabuiag and Badu Islands
5th Combat Engineer Regiment, 4 Squadron
Royal Australian Engineers
Australian Army

Medals and Awards
Australian Operational Service Medal – Border Protection
Australian Defence Medal
ADF Bronze Commendation

I was born in 1972 in Darwin (Larrakia Nation); a place now considered my family’s home after my Grandmother was forcibly removed from her homelands to Kahlin Camp in Darwin. Both my Grandmother and Father are recognised as members of the stolen generation. Military service came to me later in life as I sought new opportunities to challenge myself and wanted to give back to the community. Both sides of my family have a history of military service, and my wife suggested the Army Reserves, so with her blessing, in my late 30s, I had a go.

During the recruitment process, I was asked how I would feel about being older and fitting in with younger recruits. I explained that growing up I was the oldest of 10 boys and that I felt it would be fine, having previously shared a room with 4 of my brothers. When I arrived for training at Kapooka, that’s exactly how I felt! I celebrated my 40th birthday at Kapooka while on picket. Later that day, with my section, we competed in and won the Kokoda Cup. At the end of the recruitment process at Kapooka I was awarded with the Most Outstanding Soldier award.

I enlisted on 13 March 2012 in Canberra and, over time, was promoted to Lance Corporal and then Corporal. When concluding my reserve service, I was fortunate to have participated in several domestic operations, which satisfied my desire to contribute and give back to the community. During Bushfire Assist, I was warmed by the gratitude of those whom I could assist with the skills I had directly obtained through my service.

I’m grateful for the Army Reserve, the challenge it gave me, the opportunities I had, the people I met, and the lifelong friendships that I made.