Veterans Paul Davey and Adrian Bucci get 2WAY FM show

INSIGHT: Adrian Bucci and Paul Davey have been on air sharing their stories.
INSIGHT: Adrian Bucci and Paul Davey have been on air sharing their stories.

It isn't easy returning home to a 'normal' life after serving on some of the world's most fierce battlegrounds.

For army veterans, Paul Davey and Adrian Bucci, it was more than tough but they are now sharing their insights into life after service.

The Infantry Warrant Officer Class Two and Artillery Major are drawing on their own experiences of adjusting back to civilian life.

Mr Davey and Mr Bucci have started their own fortnightly community radio show, Contact Front, from 9am to 10.30am on Wauchope's 2WAY FM 103.9.

The pair use their combined 46 years of military experience to provide insight into veterans issues, current events and past military conflicts.

ON THE AIRWAVES: Adrian Bucci and Paul Davey in the studios.

ON THE AIRWAVES: Adrian Bucci and Paul Davey in the studios.

Mr Davey said volunteering and community advocacy provide a meaningful pursuit after a lifetime living in the extreme.

"When I got out I didn't do anything for a while. I spent a little while in the private hospital in Taree," he said.

"A lot of advice I got was to look for something to do with your time, in a voluntary sense.

"I made lunches at my kids' school, I worked with the RSL for advocacy and it helped fill up my time. I worked with Legacy at the odd Bunnings barbecue on a Saturday or Sunday.

"You have a lot of time on your hands and you've got to find ways to be meaningful.

"You've got to find some meaning for yourself. People can tell you what to do but if you go and seek out that opportunity for yourself it's a lot more satisfying."

REFLECTION: From Brisbane to Townsville and Timor to Iraq, Port Macquarie man Paul Davey has spent his life on the front line. Photo: Matt Attard

REFLECTION: From Brisbane to Townsville and Timor to Iraq, Port Macquarie man Paul Davey has spent his life on the front line. Photo: Matt Attard

From Brisbane to Townsville and Timor to Iraq, Mr Davey has spent most of his life abroad before leaving the Army in July 2015.

He'd signed up as an 18 year old in June, 1988 and underwent infantry school training before being sent overseas to Africa, Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On returning home, his shin had been damaged by a roadside blast and he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"I had injuries like a very badly damaged knee, but the mental side was the main reason," he said.

"I left because it was just getting a bit too hard for me, the effects of PTSD and all the rest.

"I was working 12 or 13 hour days and getting only five hours of work done, it was overwhelming.

"I took stress leave and saw a psychiatrist, that's when I was diagnosed with PTSD."

COMMEMORATION: Paul Davey attending a September 11 service in Port Macquarie.

COMMEMORATION: Paul Davey attending a September 11 service in Port Macquarie.

Radio co-host, Adrian Bucci toured Afghanistan in an exchange program with the British Army. He remembers the confrontation of close combat and the mental battles awaiting when he returned home in July 2015.

"I was medically discharged because I had a breakdown basically, similar to Paul," said Mr Bucci.

"It was a very, very punchy tour. We got shot at a lot and as an artillery man I called gunfire to within about 50 metres of our position. It was really close.

"There was a lot of little stuff adding up like picking people up after truck crashes or when we had an artillery piece explode one day.

"I was in a bad way, in and out of hospital."

Mr Bucci took up motorcycle riding as a healing process and eventually became an instructor, while Mr Davey began making and giving away surfboards as a hobby.

COMMEMORATION: Adrian Bucci attending as a guest speaker at a September 11 service in Port Macquarie.

COMMEMORATION: Adrian Bucci attending as a guest speaker at a September 11 service in Port Macquarie.

"The whole thing with the military is the comradery, the men and women you're with but when you get out you're getting out to nothing," said Mr Bucci.

"You're not getting out to regimental association or anything. That's quite difficult.

"I rode my motorcycle a lot. It was helpful in terms of concentrating on what your body is doing, is the front or rear wheel sliding? It's really the mindfulness of it.

"I went a long time not feeling particularly useful and that's quite a dark place.

"There's a dark side where a lot of guys think 'I'm no longer a functioning member of society, I'm completely worthless and I'm done'.

"I used to be a master of the universe and now I'm someone I wouldn't blow my nose on'. That transition is quite dramatic."

The artillery man recalls some words of wisdom from one of his Royal Military College instructors.

"Take some time to make some time. Take some time to work things out and really understand who you are," said Mr Bucci.

"Whether you're in the military for four years or 40 you have to know that one day you're going to leave and to prepare for that day."

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