My military career has been short and challenging, yet rewarding. I joined the Papua New Guinea Defence Force as a Direct Entry Officer (DEO) in 2005 due to Force requirement. It was at a time when the entire PNGDF had only five female uniform personnel and I was one of the five. The journey has not been easy.
As a female, I went through a lot of challenges. Although my participation and contributions were matched / equal to my male colleagues at work, I was considered by some in the Force not to be an ideal candidate for the next most senior post in the Air Element because I was a female and also a DEO. Doubts arose due to the Air Wing being an operational unit, as well as the fact that there had never been a female Commanding Officer in the Force. The norm would be for a man to lead. Furthermore, I was not trained as an officer for the whole 18 months. They wanted someone who had been through the entire 18 months of officer training to become the next Commanding Officer. However, this was not the view of every senior person and there were some who believed and supported females in leadership.
It was because of this belief and support that I was selected to attend ACSC. The selection to ACSC was a blessing in disguise. Despite the fact that it was the most challenging year for me personally, it was worthwhile as it was here that I gained confidence and learnt how to be firm and how to lead. Although I quietly cursed that the college didn’t allow us time to breathe, I now realise that this prepared me for the next phase of my career. For this I am sincerely grateful. The experience gained from ACSC has proved invaluable for me in my current appointment when dealing with such a heavy workload. I must say, every experience that I went through while at the college has moulded me for the better and I am truly grateful.
Additionally, the experience in working with professionals from different services and the Department of Defence has helped me greatly in understanding the important function that each play within the organisation. I now see the relevance of the joint training especially when my country is going into the National General Elections this year.
Moreover, the network and friendship forged at the ADC is invaluable. I cannot be thankful enough for the exposure I had to students from different ethnicities which really made me appreciate many different cultures. Staying in touch with them even after leaving ADC keeps me abreast with happenings in different areas of the world which I would otherwise not have known. Therefore, it is important to remain connected to the ADC Alumni and maintain the network created. We live in a global village and one day we will meet one another in the most unexpected places and that is when such relationships are useful and rewarding.
For those selected to attend ACSC, it is a privilege to receive joint military education. Be sure to make the best use of your time and balance study and leisure time. There will seem to be an overload of schoolwork, but this is to stand you in good stead for the next phase of your career. I wish you all the best in your studies at the ADC.