Bill Sandstrom

Bill began his military career not in Australia but Norway where he lived from age ten to twenty. Having been called up for national service he was posted to His Majesty the King’s Royal Guard, which is responsible for safeguarding Oslo and the Norwegian Royal Family in times of peace, crisis and war.

After completing his 12 months national service he returned to Australia with two things in mind: to study international studies at university and sign up for officer training with the Army Reserve – a process he began the day he arrived.

‘I was drawn to the idea of leadership and the challenge and growth that it offered,’ Bill says. ‘But it was also about being part of something larger than yourself, and serving that cause.’

He joined the Army Reserve in March 2017 and remains in it today, proudly working with tenacious men and women as the Platoon Commander in Bathurst NSW. Bill has served on various domestic operations, including Operation COVID-19 Assist, and Operation Bushfire Assist on a Continuous Full-Time Service contract. There he had the opportunity to work with ‘salt of the earth Australians’ in the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Australian Defence Force. He found they embodied the values of mateship, dedication and optimism in the face of adversity.

In 2020, he joined DVA as part of its graduate program and now works on the department’s Transformation program, an experience he finds very rewarding. As a fellow veteran, he is part of the support network for participants in the DVA’s Veteran Employment Pathway (VetPaths).

Bill’s advice for others when leaving the Australian Defence Force is to know that the skills and core values fostered through military service are highly valuable in the civilian workforce and he recommends selling these skills with confidence in interviews.

‘Members of the Defence Force are dutiful, hardworking, loyal and hold strong values – that’s proven; it goes with the job. The challenge is communicating this effectively when applying and interviewing for jobs. So reach out to anyone you know who’s made that transition and the different support networks out there. The Support For Employment program DVA offers can also help here.’

Bill is passionate about organ donation and encourages others to register as a donor on the DonateLife web site.

We are grateful for your service, Bill.

Bill Sandstrom standing in a smoky bushforest and looking quite serious. He is wearing Australia Army camouflage uniform.

Bill in Lithgow, NSW in January 2020 as part of Operation Bushfire Assist

Bill Sandstrom sitting down at a desk in an office environment. He is wearing a slate blue suit and navy blue shirt.

Bill at his desk at DVA head office, Canberra