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Resident story: Graeme Maughan’s inspiring career

TriCare honours their veteran residents over this Anzac Day period by sharing stories of their courage, bravery and commitment.

Graeme Maughan’s military career began in 1962 at Officer Cadet School, Portsea, where he graduated in 1963 as a 2nd Lieutenant and was commissioned into the Artillery Corps in the Regular Army. In 1965 he was posted to Vietnam and saw action in the Battle of Long Tan on 18th August 1966. He remembers the “event” vividly, recalling being at the Little Patti and Col Joye and the Joye Boys Concert in the afternoon and firing artillery in the dark and monsoonal rains.

On return to Australia and promoted to 1st Lieutenant, Graeme was selected for a Flying Training Course at the RAAF Base at Point Cook, Victoria, where he gained his “wings”; his teenage dream of becoming a pilot was now a reality.

Graeme was posted to Army Aviation, then based at Amberley RAAF Base in Queensland. Just a year later, the “powers that be” saw the potential of his ability to be a Flying Instructor. so he was posted to the Royal Airforce Central Flying School in the UK for his training. He had some “interesting” experiences flying in the English weather!

On return, he had a brief stint in 161 Recce Squadron and now a qualified Flying instructor promoted to Captain; Graeme was back at RAAF Base at Point Cook as the Army Liaison Officer checking and training Army students and Airforce Cadets. His service there was acknowledged with the “Queens Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air” award.

Graeme’s two-year post as an Instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, was followed by a promotion to Major as the Senior Instructor in the Advanced Flying Training Wing of the School Of Army Aviation at the now-established Oakey Army Aviation Base in Queensland. Graeme’s dedication and expertise in this role was rewarded with an Airforce Cross (AFC), the peacetime equivalent of the active service medal Distinguished Flying Medal (DFC). Graeme was the first Army Aviator to be awarded this prestigious medal. Up until then, it was solely an Air Force Medal. It was an honour for him.

Graeme learnt to fly helicopters four years later and was later posted to the 161 Recce Squadron at Holsworthy Base in New South Wales as the Officer Commanding (OC).
A brief time in the office of Head of Corps in Canberra saw Graeme given a prize posting of Army Liaison Officer in the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, USA. It was an interesting job to keep abreast of the USA Army’s developments in equipment and methods of operation. The social life was fun, too!

Leaving the USA on promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Graeme headed to Canberra to the Directorate of Aviation, working as one of three to write the Chief of Army Exercise.
In 1984, after twenty-two years of Service, Graeme returned to civilian life to provide stability for his children’s education and to continue a career in Aviation. His time in the service provided him with invaluable experience in leadership, training and Aviation.

The civilian world welcomed his knowledge. He joined the Civil Aviation Authority as an Examiner of Airmen in Adelaide and, two years later, took on what he considered the highlight of his Aviation career – Aviation Manager and Chief Pilot of the Royal Flying Doctor Service firstly in the Central Section, South Australia and later moving to the same position in Queensland Section. He spent thirteen years in RFDS and was instrumental in purchasing new aircraft and establishing new bases. That’s another story! He was and still is passionate about the iconic service.

Graeme spent his last two years as an aviator flying commercially with Flight West in Queensland as a Check and Training Captain. On 5th March 2003, Graeme flew his last flight. After 37 years and 9,250 hours flying, Graeme retired his “wings” and embarked on a new career as a tennis coach, teaching a new generation the sport he loved.

Reflecting on the opportunities he was given and what he has achieved, plus the joy of his loving family, Graeme considers he has had a “fortunate life” He leaves a legacy of service and commitment for the future generation of Maughans.

Graeme and his wife, Isobel, moved to Stafford Lakes Retirement Village in 2020. Recently, Graeme moved into Stafford Lakes Aged Care Residence, and each day, Isobel wheelchairs him around the village, where he can enjoy chatting with residents.

Learn more about Stafford Lakes Aged Care Residence or book an inspection by calling (07) 3864 4500.