Aircraft with sunset

Legacy of service: from RAAF to RFDS

Date published

25 Apr 2024

ANZAC Day is a day that holds personal meaning to many individuals and families across Australia and New Zealand.

Brad in RAAF uniform

For Brad Kay, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Maintenance Watch Engineer, this day holds deep significance, combining personal experience with a proud legacy of service spanning across generations. 

“This is a very special day,” Brad shared. 

“From the dawn service to marching through the streets, it is a time to give thanks for so many who died for our freedom, along with the many who suffered for years post-war.

“This day is an important part of our past that I am proud to honour.”

Encouraged by his father and following in the footsteps of his grandfathers and great-grandfather, Brad joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at the age of 20 as an Aircraft Technician.

“My grandfathers and great-grandfather all served in the World Wars, and it gives me great honour and pride to have their medals,” Brad shared.

“I have always been very proud to serve my country and am still an active reservist.”

Brad in OCC

Brad’s connection to the RFDS traces back to his childhood when his fascination with aviation began.

“As a kid growing up in Townsville, I used to see the RFDS King Airs flying over my house,” he remembers.

“I have always loved anything that was even remotely mechanical, anything that goes fast too.

“I did work experience in year 12 at the RFDS Townsville base on one of the King Air aircraft.

“After 26 years with the RAAF, lots of overseas deployments and a few tours in Iraq, here I am finally working for this fantastic organisation.

“The experience, skills, knowledge, and leadership I have gained over my time in Defence has led me here, to the RFDS.

“I feel like this is where I am meant to be.”

Brad in RFDS uniform

As Brad reflects on his years of service, he is proud his children will continue to carry the family legacy of service.

“I am so very proud of my three children; they are amazing humans,” he beamed. 

“My eldest, Hayden has been serving for four years now and is starting a new position as an Airborne Electronic Analyst.

“My daughter, Sophie has just started her training and then will soon be posted to Amberley.

“My youngest, Ashton, will be starting his training in a couple of weeks and is studying to become an Aircraft Technician like I used to be.

“I find it hard to find the words of how proud I am of them signing up to serve their country.”

Through his service in Defence and now with the RFDS, Brad embodies the values of courage, compassion, and community that are at the heart of ANZAC Day.