At age 21, Private Hayley Schaefer who is originally from Mandurah in WA has the key to the door to drive army trucks.
Even younger and aged just 20, Pte Tayla Hagen also drives a Fom MAN truck and they are both based at Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks.
Big Rigs saw the young female drivers who are members of 11CSSB at a military career’s day at Jezzine Barracks Precinct in Townsville recently.
“I am a born and bred Townsville girl and love driving this MAN and we both have a medium rigid licence,” Pte Hagen said.
They get to drive the trucks on various tasks including trips to High Range which is outside Townsville beside Hervey’s Range Road.
In my travels around I see more and more female drivers behind the wheel of army trucks.
It seems many young women are also attracted to military life and wanting to drive trucks.
A week later I attended a cadets’ camp at Lavarack Barracks across town at which 350 male and female youths aged 15 and 16 were part of a rigorous training event.
They came from as far away as Gladstone in the south and Bamaga on the Northern Peninsula Area of the far north.
Scores said they wanted to gain a career in the military after leaving school driving army trucks.
One was 16-year-old Jazmen Harmon who is a cadet corporal who comes from the sugar cane farming town of Sarina which is 40km south of Mackay along the Bruce Highway.
I saw Jazmen amongst a lot of other cadets doing training at the barracks swimming pool and she told media including myself her desire to drive trucks.
“I want to join the army when I leave school and my desire is to drive trucks. I can’t wait,” Jazmen said.
Some female cadets from Bamaga on the northern peninsula area told me the same wish.
Which is probably a good ambition for these youths as over the years I have interviewed hundreds of truck drivers from around Australia who had gained jobs after leaving the military.
The training they gained driving different army or RAAF trucks was invaluable.
The latest was Kenneth Lynn who I met at a roadhouse beside the Bruce Highway in late September.
The Australian Army trains and licences thousands of soldiers to drive and operate the ADF’s extensive heavy vehicle fleet, many of whom go on to have lifelong careers in road transport when they leave.