As we celebrate the value of women on Mother’s Day this May, Lifestyle Queensland spoke witn Wing Commander Rosemary Dyke, Commanding Officer of No 23 Squadron at RAAF Amberley.
As she approaches her 22nd anniversary with the RAAF, WGCDR Dyke shares her motivations behind joining the Australian Defence Force, her role entails as a commanding officer and her message for young women wanting to pursue a career in the military.
LQ: What was your motivation for joining the RAAF?
WGCDR Dyke: “I joined the Air Force as a supply officer in 1996. Before that, I studied to become a medical laboratory scientist. Once I finished my degree, I began working in the field of microbiology and as part of looking for work I actually went into Defence recruiting to join as a laboratory officer in the Air Force.
“I was interested in being in a large team environment and the opportunities in a large organisation that would allow me to embrace a lot of variety and challenges. I didn’t get the opportunity to apply because that was something that wasn’t on offer at the time.
“Upon exploring other options, the supply officer [now titled logistics officer] opportunity appealed to me for the fact there were many different roles that you could do as a supply officer. It did open a whole range of opportunities to really challenge me as an individual and allowed me to have a long growth path in the organisation in a range of different environments.”
LQ: What is your message to young women wishing to pursue a career within the ADF?
WGCDR Dyke: “When I was at school there was an army cadet unit and it didn’t have any girls in it, only boys. At the time, my older sister and one of her friends did a lot of educating to allow girls to join the cadet unit.
“The initial round of girls allowed to join included my sister, myself and probably around five others to join the cadets. Right from back then, it was an opportunity to push forward a little into the space of allowing opportunities for girls in roles that were otherwise considered out of bounds or non traditional.
“As a female in this [military] organisation and as I’ve progressed to being a female leader in a male dominated environment, and my experience has been a fabulous one. I’ve had some fabulous male and female bosses and I’ve worked in some mixed teams, whether they be mixed by gender or civilian and military.
“The integration that is encouraged by the Australian Defence Organisation, the positive working environments that are not only encouraged but also expected is really the foundation for a fantastic place to work.
“I certainly invite all young women to seriously consider a career in our Defence Force.”
LQ: How has your career lead you to your current position?
WGCDR Dyke: “There’s been a lot of postings that have led me to this point, the way in which I approach this job and how I move forward with it.
“As a logistics officer I’ve had a range of jobs in both tactical logistics activities, I’ve also had roles in major acquisitions so some of the larger aircraft such as the Airborne Early Warning & Control Platform, the E-7A ‘Wedgetail’ and the P-8A ‘Poseidon’, our new maritime surveillance aircraft.
“Some of the key roles that I think have led well for me to come into my current role have been in the personnel management sphere as well as a couple of key roles in the training environment as well.”
LQ: As Commanding Officer, what are your responsibilities?
WGCDR Dyke: “In this role I’m responsible for the base being able to support flying operations. A big part of that job is facilitating communications between all of the stakeholders on this site, there’s over 7000 people who work here as well as 52 residential units, a big presence of the Defence Civilian organisation supporting the Base and contractors here doing a lot of construction work as well. Another vital part of my role is providing information to Amberley’s Air Commodore so he has a common picture of what’s happening.”