Pamela Amber
Mabuiag Island – Panay and Samu woman
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Royal Australian Corps of Transport
Australian Regular Army

Australian Operational Service Medal – Greater Middle East Operation
National Emergency Medal with clasp NTH QLD 2019
Australian Defence Medal


My name is Pamela Amber and I am a proud Panay and Samu woman of Mabuiag Island situated in the Western part of the Torres Straits. I am the second eldest of six and was born and raised in Cairns, Far North Queensland. My Dad passed away when I was 28 years old, and I miss him a lot. He was our rock. He helped my mother, who was a single mum, raise me and my siblings from a very young age. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  He was the one who was always there when I needed support and advice. He helped me realise my childhood dream of joining the Army.

I saw the Army as an opportunity to challenge myself, and I was keen to learn where it would lead me. I attended White Rock State School from grades 1 – 7 before completing high school at Djarragun College in Gordonvale. After graduating in 2012, I studied for a couple of years until I felt it was time to take up that challenge and give myself the chance to see what life in the Military would be like.

In 2014, I was accepted into the Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Program (IPRC), a Defence run program that provides people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to explore their potential and capability to build a career in Defence. It was a six-week course based at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. From there, I was accepted into the Army as a Driver Specialist.

On January 12, 2015, at just 19 years old, I fulfilled my dream and enlisted as a Driver Specialist in the Australian Regular Army. My Family and culture are very important to me, so initially, it was quite hard, especially being away from home and living in Cairns. But I did easily adapt and overcome the challenges of living in a city and also life in the Military. It all began when I arrived at Kapooka—‘The home of the Soldier’.

After completing my training at Kapooka, it was time to head to Puckapunyal to complete three months of Initial Employment Training learning to become a Driver Specialist. In February 2016, I was posted to my first unit being 3rd Combat Signal Regiment (CSR), 3 Brigade at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville for a period of three years. At the beginning of 2019, I was posted to  3rd Combat Service Support Battalion (CSSB) on a three-year cycle. During my time at 3 CSSB in March 2021 I was deployed on Operation Accordion MSU-1 to the Middle East Region as a Driver Specialist.

For me, Culture is a big part of my life. It signifies my ancestors, my family, and my people. We need to uphold our strong heritage so that when younger generations come in the future, they will look up to us. It is important that our histories should be passed on through the Australian Defence Force to increase cultural awareness and understanding.

When I attended a Defence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Conference (DATSIN) in Canberra in 2017, I discovered that there was a whole heap of Indigenous mob from across Australia who were Soldiers, Sailors or Aviators serving in the Defence Force. There is a natural instinct to connect with with mob, that’s the best thing about us coming together as one it doesn’t matter what walks of life you come from, you become family. We are brothers and sisters now. Here we all had the chance to meet and share our experiences. It is great to learn that the numbers and percentage rate of First Nation personnel enlisting is growing.

I have been involved in the ADF Indigenous Mentoring Program with the Tiwi Island Youth Girls over the past couple of years, guiding participants and encouraging them to be confident and to grasp opportunities. I have also been a mentor to other Indigenous personnel within the Army. I am very proud to have represented the Army and ADF in Women’s AFL, Touch Football, and Rugby League.

I am currently posted to 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) situated at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera. I am wanting to pursue a future posting to Defence Force Recruiting as part of the specialist recruiting team working in the Indigenous recruitment space. This is an area which I am passionate about, and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to give back to my people, the wider Indigenous community as well as the ADF. I understand that recruitment is currently a Chief of Army priority, and as an indigenous female, I believe I would provide an excellent perspective to this team. I would also like to assist in the smooth process of applicants wanting to join the ADF.