A WANGI Wangi teenager's hopes of making it as an air combat officer in the Royal Australian Air Force have received an important boost.
Thomas Mitchell-Fuller is a year 12 student at Charlton Christian College, at Fassifern.
He described the prospect of becoming an officer in the air force as "something that I've been working towards from about the age of 10".
On Wednesday, he was visited at the school by Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), Commodore Bruce Kafer.
The Commandant was there to present Thomas with an ADFA Education Award.
The award is presented annually to year 12 students who are recognised for their leadership potential, academic performance, and sporting achievements exhibited in year 11.
The award includes a laptop computer and certificate, and a plaque of recognition for the school.
"It's great that the things I've been working towards are starting to pay off," Thomas told the Lakes Mail.
After his year 12 commitments, Thomas will study for a bachelor of arts at ADFA, in Canberra, majoring in history.
He'll also begin officer training, culminating in what he hopes will be a posting at Williamtown.
Williamtown is one of several air force sites that is home to modified Boeing 737s, known as Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, which act as flying command centres for air combat officers.
Thomas said ADFA was looking for "a unique skills set" from potential officers.
The role of combat officer involves devising the strategy for air warfare, and controlling air space.
"You have to be able to micro-manage and work in a high-pressure environment," he said.
"You're making command decisions in a stressed situation, so you have to be able to adapt."
The ADFA awards are presented on behalf of the navy, army and air force to suitable applicants who have applied for entry to ADFA.