Two Mildura locals are making a quick return home as part of the Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit’s (2OCU) 75th Anniversary parade celebrations on April 8.

Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Damon Stefani and Leading Aircraft Woman (LACW) Danielle McLeod are returning to their home town as part of the 2OCU 75th Anniversary celebrations.

SQNLDR Damon Stefani is an Aeronautical Engineer and the current Senior Engineering Officer at 2OCU, where he is responsible for 130 aircraft maintainers and the technical airworthiness of 15-20 F/A-18 fighter aircraft.

Born in 1981, he grew up on his family’s vineyard in Irymple and attended St Pauls Primary School followed by Red Cliffs Secondary College, prior to entering the Air Force in January 2000 and attending the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

Throughout his tenure in the Air Force he has worked on multiple platforms including the F-111, AP-3C Orion and F/A-18 Classic Hornet.

He has also deployed with the Air Force to the USA, Middle East, New Zealand, and throughout both the South Pacific and South East Asian regions.

Damon Stefani is a keen cyclist who was a former member of the local Mildura-Coomealla cycling club and is a three-time winner of the National ADF cycling championships.

His parents Penny and Corrado Stefani still reside in their original family home in Irymple, with his two brothers, Michael and Daniel Stefani now both residing in Melbourne.

SQNLDR Stefani is extremely proud and humbled to be bringing the Air Force back to his hometown of Mildura.

Leading Aircraftwoman (LACW) Danielle McLeod is an Avionics Technician at 2OCU where she is responsible for carrying out maintenance on the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft to ensure the jets are ready to fly on time on a daily basis.

Born April 7 1996 Danielle spent her first few years growing up on a 100 acre hobby farm on the Darling River.

Early in the year 2000 her parents made the decision to relocate closer to town to Irymple and open a Seafood Business on Deakin Avenue.

Danielle McLeod attended Irymple Primary school for four years until her parent made the another big decision to relocate to a small country town in Queensland called Childers, where she carried out the rest of her schooling years.

She participated in the Start Uni Now (SUN) Program in 2012 where she began to study for a Bachelor of Aviation. 

Her university teacher was a former American Air Force Pilot and he introduced the idea to Danielle of joining the RAAF.

On February 11 2014, Danielle McLeod enlisted at age 17 into the RAAF, and carried out 18 months of training in RAAF Base Wagga Wagga to become an Avionics Technician.

Upon completion of this training she was given the posting at 2 OCU, Williamtown where she has participated in three deployments to Townsville.

Despite the high tempo workload of 2OCU Danielle still tries her best to visit Mildura as often as possible to visit family and friends.

Her father, Vernon McLeod still resides in Mildura and owns Northwest Seafoods on Walnut Avenue. LACW McLeod is very grateful and honoured to be able to share such a memorable historic event with her 21st Birthday.