RAAF Officer Rosemary chooses to ‘love thy neighbour’ this Anzac Day

By Jordan Grantham, 25 April 2017
Flying Officer Rosemary Taouk on the flight line at RAAF Base Richmond with a Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan battlefield air lifter aircraft. Image: © Commonwealth of Australia 2015

FLGOFF Rosemary Taouk is an aeronautical engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force. Read more here about her life as a Catholic in the Air Force. 

Flying Officer (FLGOFF) Rosemary Taouk is a young Catholic aeronautical engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force, at RAAF Base Richmond.

This Anzac Day, Rosemary is proud of the Australian Defence Force’s history of service, which inspired her to enlist, as well as her father’s example of service.

“The ADF has also been part of multiple humanitarian relief operations and exercises, and has been at the forefront of providing support in times of crisis not just to our country, but others that have needed it,” Rosemary said.

“My father is a military man, and I had gazed in awe at him in uniform growing up and consider him one of my childhood heroes. I always admired his discipline and the way in which he conducted himself, and that was part of the appeal of military life to me,” she said.

“The ADF has also been part of multiple humanitarian relief operations and exercises, and has been at the forefront of providing support in times of crisis not just to our country, but others that have needed it”

Rosemary sees the virtues exemplified in the RAAF’s work.

“In my short time with Defence, I have already seen countless examples of ‘love thy enemy,’ and ‘love thy neighbour.’ In a nutshell, I feel immensely proud,” Rosemary said.

Rosemary draws a parallel between the benefits of military life and religious discipline for individual character.

“In the same way that fasting during Lent helps Christians gain discipline, overcome worldly needs, and subsequently grow in faith, I do believe that a regimented lifestyle elevates a person to their highest self physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and even professionally. Nothing in life can be achieved without discipline and commitment, and I do believe that growing as a person and pushing yourself is God’s desire for everyone,” she said.

Chaplains have been present at Gallipoli and most conflicts of the Australian Defence Force.

A less well-known part of military life is the role of chaplains or ‘Padres’. Chaplains have been present at Gallipoli and most conflicts of the Australian Defence Force. The role of chaplains is crucial in the ADF, an arena where people put their life on the line and death is an all too present reality.

“Military chaplaincy has been a significant part of ADF history, and I feel so inspired by vintage photographs of chaplains on the frontlines,” Rosemary said.

An Austrian Catholic priest says Mass in a military hospital. Circa WWII. Image: Wikimedia Commons

“Chaplains are present on every base and are always there to listen and provide support to anyone who needs it, regardless of creed. Additionally, there is Mass on base twice a week which I will often attend.”

Fr Raphael Abboud is one of the Catholic Chaplains at RAAF Base Richmond.
“We are proud that we now have a Maronite Catholic priest chaplain in the RAAF,” Rosemary said.

“To this day, chaplains are ever-present to support serving members whenever the need arises. Even in my short time with Defence, I have seen chaplaincy in all training establishments for when trainees feel stressed or in need of support.”

Rosemary has a strong sense of purpose thanks to the mission of the ADF and her faith.

“I think it is pivotal for any person to have something to hold on to during trying times. Irrespective of religious affiliation – or lack of it rather – feeling like you are a part of something bigger than you can instil a sense of purpose in many people. That is part of why many serving members, me included, will often feel like Defence is a family to which we belong.”

“My faith is similar; I feel anchored in the belief that there is a higher plan for my life and a higher being at the helm as I navigate the stresses of daily life. With Him as the captain, whom then shall I fear?”

With thanks for the assistance of Defence Media: www.defence.gov.au/NewsMedia/

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