Air Force Recruit - Sarah Alcorn

How Sarah Alcorn will carry on her family's service legacy

JUST over 30 years ago, Peter Southern put his name down to join the army in Maryborough.

Today, his daughter Sarah Alcorn is following in his same footsteps, signing up to join the Air Force in the very town she grew up in.

It's a historical step for the 27-year-old mum of three, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of her parent's military service after they joined in 1989, with Major Southern still an active member of the Australian army.

"What makes it even more special is the anniversary; it's exactly 30 years since my dad joined, and now I'm joining myself," she said.

"He was born here, grew up here, and went to the military from here - now I'm doing the same."

The family ties to the military run deep, with her great great grandfather serving in World War One and great uncle fighting in Vietnam in the 1970s and returning.

Ms Alcorn's father remains in service, having been experienced fighting in East Timor between 1999 and 2000.

 

Peter Southern pictured with the Maryborough Army Corp in 1987. Mr Southern is on the right end of the second row.
Peter Southern pictured with the Maryborough Army Corp in 1987. Mr Southern is on the right end of the second row. Contributed

Her acceptance into the forces come after a full year of waiting, following the gruelling training she endured to pass the tests, of which includes a physical, mental and emotional tests.

But they can be confronting.

On her estimations, only one in 15 people that undertake the assessment into the army make it through.

"That's an achievement in itself - whether it means that others have pulled out, or just aren't fit enough, I don't know," Ms Alcorn said.

"You need to be physically and mentally tough; it's about pushing past the pain threshold. It's definitely not as easy as it seems.

Being a woman going into the army hasn't bothered her either, with Ms Alcorn going right to the heart addressing the stigma around women in the defence force.

Even with the attitudes towards women serving in the defence force, she hasn't let any criticism or limitation stop her from doing her job.

In her words, it doesn't matter about genders.

"What matters is if you can meet the standards; if you meet the standards, you can do it. Don't think that because you're a girl you can't," she said.

"Some people don't want women on the front lines - who wants to see a mum or sister come back in a body bag?

"But it's what you want to do."

Family remains the core reason for Ms Alcorn signing up, stating she took a lot of pride in the service her father has given for the country.

"If I could be half the soldier my dad is, that would be okay. He's done our country proud, and he takes it really seriously," she said.



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