Katherine Furlan

Katherine Furlan decided on a whim to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), having no idea what she wanted to do. Back in 1981, job selections were limited so she decided on telephone operator. It wasn’t long before Katherine started looking at other opportunities and within three years of enlisting she remustered to clerk supply.

17 July 2020

A woman, named Katherine Furlan, standing on a road and holding a gun in combat gear. There is a coach bus and a barren field in the background.

Katherine Furlan decided on a whim to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), having no idea what she wanted to do. Back in 1981, job selections were limited so she decided on telephone operator. It wasn’t long before Katherine started looking at other opportunities and within three years of enlisting she remustered to clerk supply.

Katherine’s career saw her posted to a number of locations and roles around Australia and the USA. She was also deployed on Operations Catalyst and Slipper in the Middle East and Operation Mazurka in Egypt. In 2019, Katherine took on the role as the Cook Career Manager and said this was her most favourite posting in her 38.5-year Air Force career.

“This was a role I had always wanted to pursue. Instead of working with spare parts, I worked with humans! This made it very personal to me and one of the most rewarding roles I have had in the Air Force,” said Katherine.

Mid last year, Katherine decided it was time to transition and transfer to the Reserves. Her unit offered her a Reserve role as the Logistic Element Group Reserve Workforce Manager.

A woman, named Katherine Furlan, smiling and posing for a selfie. She is wearing a yellow, pleated halterneck top.

“I am fortunate that they support me working remotely from my retirement location on the Sunshine Coast. I still feel like part of the Air Force ‘family’ and consider myself as ‘semi-retired’ and so far the transition has been very positive,” said Katherine.

“My transition now allows me to visit my ageing parents more often and I know time with them now is precious. My family have always supported me throughout my career,” said Katherine.

Travel is a passion of Katherine’s and she hopes to explore more of Australia in the next few months and then venture out to the big wide world post COVID-19 restrictions. For the time being, she is having fun just exploring her big backyard on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Katherine’s advice to members transitioning, or thinking of transitioning, is to tap into all the ADF Transition support available. There is so much support out there, including talking to your transition coach. If you are considering Reserve work as your main source of income, reach out to the Reserve Network and access ForceNet as job opportunities are regularly being advertised.