Port Stephens raised Paul Jensen on first deployment with the RAAF in the Gulf States

Leading Aircraftman Paul Jensen looks forward to getting home from first deployment later this year.

The family man calls Port Stephens home and joined the Air Force in 2010.

He jumped at the chance to serve in the Middle East, as hard as it’s been.

“It has been a very rewarding experience but I am looking forward to getting home and seeing my wife and daughter,” he said.

“This is my first deployment and when I left I asked my daughter to give me one of her toys to take with me.

“She gave me her Woody doll from Toy Story.

“My workmate has made him a little RAAF uniform like mine, and I use him to make it easier to talk to my daughter when I video chat back home.

“She is only three years old so it has helped make it easier for her.”

Paul deployed to the Middle East as part of the Expeditionary Airbase Operations Unit serving on Operation Accordion, the name for the headquarters and logistic support function supporting Australian military operations across the Middle East and Afghanistan.

As his job description suggests his role was providing “refuelling and de-fueling services” for Australian and Coalition aircraft operating over Iraq.

“We work closely alongside the United States Air Force,” he said.

“It’s such a great opportunity not only to learn from them but also to teach them our way of doing things.”

Paul said one of the reasons he wanted to join the Air Force was to work overseas and meet Coalition personnel.

“This deployment has allowed me to do that,” he said.

“It is a rewarding experience knowing that after I have refuelled a jet ready for its mission, I’m directly supporting its ability to carry out a mission to support the Iraqi Security Forces on the ground.”

His dedication hasn’t gone un-noticed. Paul was identified for promotion to Corporal while serving in the Middle East.

This, combined with being on his first operational deployment, allowed him to achieve two of his career goals.

Paul will end his six month deployment in November, if not October.

He said he was looking forward to being with his family, going to the beach and spending time with all people he grew up with in Port Stephens.

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