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Role of nurses in Air Force honoured

To mark the Air Force Centenary, members of the Defence Service Nurses gathered for a luncheon at Brisbane’s United Service Club this month to pay tribute to the role Air Force Nurses have played in the organisation.

Defence Service Nurses, an RSL sub-branch, is a triservice association made up largely of former service nurses but includes current serving members from all services. 

As well as performing commemorative activities on special occasions, such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, the sub-branch performs other activities, such as providing mutual support to members, breaking down social isolation and providing assistance with pension entitlements and related matters. 

The Air Force was represented by Wing Commander Merilyn White, Health Services Wing, who gave a speech on the history of RAAF Nursing, and her own service.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me as a nursing officer in the Air Force,” she said. 

“I have experienced the happiest, saddest and most challenging times in my life. As a nursing officer I have had the great privilege of coming to understand exactly what it means to serve and to understand some of the sacrifices made by so many of our colleagues.”

The occasion also recognised triservice nursing during the Vietnam era and included an informative Q&A session with former members. 

Flight Lieutenant Kimberley MacDonald, from 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, said she enjoyed the Q&A session.

“It’s really fantastic to hear what it was like back then,” she said.

“We can relate bits and pieces to what we do now and see how far the military has come in the nursing space. It’s been really empowering to hear their stories today.”

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