Rob Skoda strives to support fellow veterans02 October 2019
Congratulations to veteran Rob Skoda on his new role as our General Manager Veteran Services.
For the past three years, Air Force veteran Rob Skoda has been dedicated to helping the Defence community as RSL Queensland’s Veteran Services Manager. In September 2019, Rob’s hard work was rewarded with a promotion to the role of General Manager Veteran Services.
An ex-Flight Lieutenant in Ground Force Defence, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Rob enlisted at 20 years of age and served for 12 years. He is originally from Western Australia and now lives in Queensland with his wife and two children.
Rob has continued his association with Defence as a reservist at RAAF Amberley in Force Protection and helped the RAAF deliver the 2019 Avalon Airshow.
THE GROWTH OF VETERAN SERVICES
Under Rob’s passionate leadership, Veteran Services has grown considerably over recent years. The team increased its pension and welfare capabilities, added a triage service and expanded the RSL Queensland Scholarship program.
“We have doubled our claims output and increased our expenditure on veterans tenfold. I am extremely proud of the team and the evolution of our services and professionalism.”
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
In 2000, Rob enlisted as an Officer Cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He specialised in Ground Defence and graduated as a Flying Officer from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 2004.
Rob was posted to No. 3 and then No. 2 Airfield Defence Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland. He went on to act as a Rifle Flight Commander, leading teams to secure airfields for operations.
LIFE AS A GROUND DEFENCE OFFICER
Rob worked up the ranks to Flight Lieutenant and served in several overseas operations, including deployments to the Middle East, a humanitarian deployment in Pakistan and assistance work in Papua New Guinea. In 2006, Rob took a team of 64 into Timor-Leste on the first night of Australia’s commitment to help restore the island nation’s confidence, peace and security.
“I remember when we were in Timor-Leste, there was a group of teenagers huddled together and praying. I will never forget seeing something that peaceful right in the middle of the chaos.”
In 2010, Rob led the Force Protection team in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a NATO-led security mission established by the United Nations Security Council.
In 2012, Rob discharged from the Air Force. In reflecting on his time in service, Rob said, “I miss the good times… the challenge and excitement, knowing that you’re making a difference. But you realise that the good times were when you’re actually doing the toughest things.”
Keeping the services close after discharging, Rob moved on to new challenges, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to link back to the services and help his fellow mates. This led to him joining RSL Queensland in May 2016.
In explaining what he loves about the RSL, Rob said, “There is so much value in what we do for veterans and their families. We support clients with complex issues – from processing claims, helping them to find employment and helping them navigate the complexities of life. We’re a place where you can actually deliver the organisation’s aspirations and really help people as a result.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR VETERAN SERVICES?
As General Manager Veteran Services, Rob will concentrate on listening to the changing needs of the Defence community and supporting them from service through to ex-service. A key focus will be on preventative measures to improve the quality of life for veterans and their families.
“The ultimate goal is to enable veterans and their families to lead proud and independent lives,” Rob said.
An integral part of RSL’s mission is to employ people who truly understand what it means to be a veteran and empathise with their needs. Rob is a perfect example: with his own personal service experience, he can relate to fellow veterans and work with his team to ensure services are aligned to the needs of the military community.