Jessica Muir fulfilled a childhood dream when she returned for Anzac Day at Gunnedah to march for the first time alongside her Pop and former Navy veteran, Neville Steele.

Now serving with Royal Australian Navy as a Leading Seaman Aircrewman on the MH-60R Helicopter based at Nowra, Ms Muir said this year’s Anzac Day service at Gunnedah meant a lot.

“I had the dream of serving my country to pay back the sacrifices my grandfathers made,” she said.

“Pop always inspired me with his stories and I wanted to make a difference in today’s society by serving my nation with pride.

“As a little girl, I dreamt of being in service uniform marching with my two grandfathers by my side.

“My childhood dream came true a few years ago in Newcastle where my mother now lives. Being back in my home town, in uniform and being alongside my Pop, Neville, was another dream of mine which I was able to do today.”

Ms Muir, who was born in Gunnedah and spent most of her early childhood here, has served 10 years in the Australian Defence Force.

The 29-year-old told the audience at Gunnedah’s Anzac Day lunch how her job has taken her across the world to 18 countries and two operational deployments, including the Middle East.

She described the Aircrewman role as a “specialised job” within the Navy involving search and rescue, medical evacuations, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare and employment of a range of weapons while airborne.

RAN Leading Seaman Aircrewman, Jessica Muir in Gunnedah.

When Ms Muir started in the Aircrewman role, there were 70 men in the job but only four women. On her selection, she became just the sixth female Aircrewman in the Royal Australian Navy.

“What I like about my job is it doesn’t matter about being female,” she said. “We have to conduct the job at the same level as a male. That brings mutual respect within the branch.

“The adrenaline rush from jumping out of a moving helicopter into the water to rescue people that need help, then switching mission to locating submarines underwater and tracking them.”

Ms Muir also spoke about the loss of mates in the defence force.

“This Anzac Day is extra special to me as it’s not only remembering those who have lost their lives in conflict, I’ve lost mates throughout the 10 years I’ve been serving due to unexpected circumstances and suicide,” she said.

“The most recent hurt was losing my course-mate and my instructor during the recent helicopter crash in the Whitsundays in July last year.

“We get told before it hits the media for any military helicopter ditching or crashes. So we check in on each other to make sure we are all safe but there was one that never responded.”

She also thanked all current and former servicemen and women as well as enduring support of their families.

“For those who have served, I wanted to thank you for your service and I will continue to do you proud also,” Ms Muir said.

“To the families of veterans and current serving, thank you for all your support. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you.”

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