Josephine Naawi
Masig Island
Torres Strait
Charlie Company
51st Battalion Far North Queensland Regiment
Australian Army

Australian Operational Service Medal – Border Protection
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal


In July 2024, I celebrated my 40 years of service in the Australian Defence Force. Over that time, I have been to quite a few places around Australia, but the longest time I was away was when I went to the Kaltjiti Community in¬†Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara in South Australia. When they saw me, they thought I was a local person, but when I spoke at the school about my experiences in Defence, they learnt I was not from the desert but from a small island, over 3400kms away, called¬†Masig Torres Strait. We connected really quickly again when a little girl in the class called out to me, “My name is Josephine, too.” They asked me lots of questions, and I answered every single one. For me, it was really cold there and I wore a jumper day and night! I missed my family, but it was a great trip that I will always remember.

It is important that our youth, no matter where they are from in Australia, understand the opportunities and benefits of joining the ADF. They can learn discipline, find a purpose, and stay out of trouble. It does not matter if they stay three years or forty years; it will change their lives in a good way. I am trying my best to encourage our youth to sign up and make the most of their lives. My three brothers, Monty, Arthur and Simon, also served, and my grandson Tim is currently serving.

Defence is a huge part of my life. The people I serve with are also my family. I don’t see myself retiring yet, and the Officers here say I am “a part of the furniture.” My heart will hurt a lot when I finally walk out that gate and retire.