“Flying Colours” – Meet our Residents, The Village Taigum

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Ex Fighter Combat Pilot, Fred Freeman, saw his career soar to new heights over 35 years in the Defence Force.

With a career spanning 35 years travelling the globe, a series of accolades to his name, and a heart of gold, it’s safe to say Fred Freeman’s journey has been like no other. Born and bred in Rockhampton, the veteran kick-started his career after completing his senior exams in 1954 when he was accepted into both the University of Queensland and the RAAF College.

Ultimately opting to enter the RAAF’s four-year course offering university level education in aviation engineering, Fred’s career was ready for take-off. “I chose this because it did not put any financial burden on the family,” he says.

“The four-year course also offered pilot training and in the first year there was flight grading to assess aptitude as a pilot. Once I had the flying experience, I lost all interest in engineering.”

After graduating as a general duties pilot, Fred spent a decade serving in four operational squadrons in the Malaysian Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation, and Thailand where he accrued command responsibilities seeing him become a Category A Fighter Combat Instructor. “I was one of the most experienced sabre pilots in the RAAF at the time and it will always remain my favourite aircraft, most likely because it did not have the vast technology of the later fighter aircraft and one had to rely on the human touch,” he says.

Spending time in formation aerobic teams perfecting flight proficiency and technique, as well as continuing training in mirage aircraft operation, Fred well and truly occupied his time and developed his repertoire with a wealth of skills and invaluable knowledge.

With 35 years of defence force service in the bank, Fred has difficulty isolating a fondest memory, but there are a few that go down as significant highlights. “How does one compare the satisfaction of commanding the base support squadron at Amberley, the RAAF’s largest operational base, charged with the responsibility of providing the total logistic support for its operations with the Marksmen’s card-five loops and rolls?” he says.

In tandem with this, preparing senior officers and students from the pacific, Asia, Europe, the USA, and Canada for strategic policy-making positions as commandant of the Australian Defence Force’s Joint Services Staff College was unquestionably another feather in his cap.

Though he’s now been out of the defence force for almost the same time he was in it, Fred may not have the same level of involvement, but he remains highly regarded amongst the broader community for his extensive contributions and series of achievements.


Fred is a resident at The Village Taigum. This article originally featured in edition 1 of The Village Retirement Group’s resident magazine, “Village Living.” Request your copy of the magazine today when you enquire below.

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