I joined the Army in 2006 as an Infantry Soldier. Deploying straight from initial employment training to East Timor in a peacekeeping role. Learning on the run, I was involved in regular presence patrolling, local conflict resolution, and screening of local gangs.
In 2009, I deployed to Afghanistan with mentoring and reconstruction task force 2.
I deployed with my home unit, The First Battalion Royal Australia Regiment (1RAR). My core role in Afghanistan was with a mortar detachment conducting vehicle-mounted patrols, deep into the Chora Valley.
This deployment exposed me to the realities of third-world living conditions, war, and loss of life.
I transitioned out of the military in 2012 after my sister lost her short battle with cancer.
I did not complete any transition training. I did not have a plan for the future.
Through lived experience and lessons learned (the hard way), myself, and a team of combat veterans created Swiss 8.
Chief People and Culture Officer
Chief People and Culture Officer
Anthony Meixner joined the Army in 2002 at the age of 17. In his 17 year career, he deployed to The Solomons, East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Anthony has experienced mental health deterioration first hand and has witnessed many brothers in arms spiral downhill, some to the point of suicide. He now has lived experienced and valuable life lessons to pass on to the next generation of veterans who are transitioning out of the military.
Ben Jones joined the Army in 1999 at the age of 18, into Ordnance Corps. Ben was fortunate enough to experience a variety of postings to combat and non-combat units in his 12 year career.
During his career, he had the ability to represent the Army and Defence Force in Services Rugby Union.
Ben deployed to Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2008.
His discharge from the military in 2011, with a plan of moving into the mining sector in the safety world. His transition was quite quick, without any great deal of support, and left to his own devices(sink or swim).
He now works as a Group Safety Manager within the Entertainment Industry.
Chief Partnership & Strategy Officer
Chief Partnership & Strategy Officer
Heston Russell joined the Army in 2003 and was commissioned in December 2006 after completing his training at the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College - Duntroon.
As a Lieutenant, Heston served within the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR), fulfilling the appointments of Infantry Platoon Commander and Anti-Armoured Platoon Commander. During his tenure at 2 RAR, Heston deployed to Timor Leste within the Timor Leste Battle Group-3 conducting Peacekeeping Operations.
On promotion to Captain in 2010, Heston successfully completed Special Forces selection and training to become a Qualified Commando Officer within the 2nd Commando Regiment (2 CDO REGT), Special Operations Command - Australia (SOCOMD). During his tenure within 2 CDO REGT, Heston completed the appointments of Commando Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer, and Adjutant. These appointments also included three Operational Deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East Area of Operations and also saw Operational Service in support of a number of Domestic Counter Terrorism operations within the Asia-Pacific Region. In 2015 Heston was posted on exchange to serve within the United States Special Operations Command, including an additional operational deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations.
On return to Australia in 2016, Heston was promoted to Major and appointed Officer Commanding the Special Forces Selection and Training continuum at the Special Forces Training Centre. Later that year he completed his final operational deployment to Iraq. On return from this deployment in 2017, Heston completed his Long Service Leave and subsequently discharged from the Australian Defence Force in January 2019.
During his long service leave, Heston partnered with and led the expansion of the US originated fitness brand Barry’s Bootcamp to Australia and Singapore with his partner Blake (also originally from the USA). Heston also works as a business consultant and coach specialising in high performance leadership & culture. Heston and Blake now live in Sydney.
Defense Meritorious Service Medal (US)
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Operational Service Medal - Greater Middle East Operation
United States Joint Service Commendation Medal
NATO Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp Afghanistan
United States of America Army Commendation Medal
NATO Non Article 5 Medal with clasp - ISAF
Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT
Clasp 'CT/SR' to the Australian Service Medal
Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste (Timor -Leste Solidarity Medal)
Australian Service Medal with clasp TIMOR-LESTE
Australian Defence Medal
Meritorious Unit Citation - Task Force 66 (Special Ops Task Groups IV-XX)
Commander 1st Division Commendation
Order of Saint Maurice - Peregrinus
Tom Hobday OAM
Tom Hobday OAM
Thomas Sidney Hobday OAM is a retired RAAF Warrant Officer Engineer.
Tom's service history reads as follows:
1992 -1995 Management of C130 operational and deeper maintenance management
1990 -1992 Management of B707 VIP and Tanker aircraft operational and deeper maintenance management
1987 – 1990 Management of C130 operational and deeper maintenance management
1986 – 1987 Defence Co-Operation C130 Engines (Indonesia)
1980 – 1986 Maintenance of C130 aircraft
1977 – 1980 Headquarters Support Command, Technical Spares Assessor
1975 – 1977 Maintenance of Mirage III Jet Fighter (Malaysia)
1972 – 1975 Maintenance of C130 aircraft
1967 – 1972 Apprentice Engine Fitter, RAAF
Post military, Tom worked with RUAG Australia as a company Quality Manager, Site Manager and Defence Contract Manager.
Following this, he worked with Logistic Solutions Australasia as a Technical Writer for the Australian Army.
Tom is now retired and volunteers as treasurer for Cooroy Pomona RSL Sub-Branch and is a board member for Cooroy RSL and Citizens Club.
Phillip Thompson OAM MP
Phillip Thompson OAM MP
Phillip Thompson OAM MP.
Member for Herbert.
Swiss 8 Patron
Chief Technology Officer
Chief Technology Officer
Ben Sutter is a software engineer with over 6 years experience.
He volunteers his time to assist Swiss 8 with the development of the website and app.
Ben understands the need for innovation in both the mental health and veteran space. His ability to problem solve and create frictionless user pathways is instrumental to the success of Swiss 8 products.
Keegan joined the Army in 2014 as an Infantry Soldier and was posted to The First Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). He served in The Battalion until 2018, where he discharged into civilian life, serving a short time at his local reserve unit in Perth, WA.
Keegan has a strong family history in the military, both his father and grandfather serving as soldiers. In 2007, his father Matthew Locke MG was killed in Afghanistan while serving with SASR.
His discharge from the Army was quick and mostly without a sustainable plan. This led to a lot of dramas. But with a healthy routine and lifestyle, he began to transition comfortably.
Steph has over 10 years of experience producing content for major global platforms including Qantas, Red Bull, UNICEF, Jaguar Land Rover, and BBC. Recent career highlights include being part of the team that created Qantas’ Centenary Safety Video and independently producing and directing a series of short videos to raise awareness for a small community in India.
Originally from London, Steph started out in British film and television before moving across to marketing and advertising. Her work has taken her across the world from the USA to India to Hong Kong to New Zealand and beyond. She’s now been in Australia for 4 years and is proud to call Sydney home.
David comes from a strong military family and is the latest in a long line of family members to have served in the Defence Force. After joining the Army in early 2007 and being posted to the 1st Battalion, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. During his time in Afghanistan, David was intimately involved in an incident that resulted in the shooting of 2 Afghan National Police Officers. This would weigh heavily on Davids's future personal and professional life. David's post deployment has seen him deal first hand with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, and Alcohol Abuse.
After Discharging from the Army in 2011 and struggling to find his feet both in a chosen career and in his personal life, David struggled until seeking help through DVA and Mental Health pathways. By 2017, David was very much stable and fully functional, often helping friends who found themselves in similar situations to his own. It is now, that with the Establishment of Swiss 8 by his former 1st Battalion Mates, that David has decided to fully commit to helping those who find themselves on the path he once found himself on.
Ana is a digital designer with over 12 years experience.
She has a unique ability to take basic concept outlines, add creativity, understand user experience, and create breathtaking designs.
Ana volunteers her time to design the Swiss 8 website and app.
Shaun (Kobes) is a former Australian Army soldier and was part of a small sniper team that was deployed to war-torn and third world countries. He understands the importance of preparing the mind and the body for anything that life throws at you. He was awarded a “Commendation for Gallantry” for actions under fire in Afghanistan.
Shaun has worked with high-level athletes and general population clients alike. The Australian Army Rugby Team, individual national representatives in the fields of rugby and hockey, soldiers preparing for war, bodybuilders pre and post contest, the weekend warrior, and leisure lifters are just a snapshot of the experience Shaun has gathered over the years.
Shaun is currently the head strength and conditioning coach at the world-renowned MMA and Muay Thai camp, Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. Due to this highly regarded position, he has more recently been focussed on preparing high-level fighters for bouts in the UFC, Bellator, ONE Championship, and other world class combat-based organisations. Petr Yan, Antonina Shevchenko, Yana Kunitskaya, Danyelle Wolf, Damir Ismagulov, Movsar Evloev, and Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu, are a crop of recent athletes that Shaun has worked closely with.
He has represented Australia in a Defence Force Rugby World Cup, along with many other representative duties, including Captaining both the Northern Territory and Tasmanian rugby teams at National and International tournaments. Kobes still plays rugby, but due to living in Thailand, it is more of a competitive/social dabble in weekend 7's and 10's tournaments, as there is no regular season in the region.
“Mindset, attitude, nutrition, and smart planning/programming are the building blocks for achieving success!”
Instagram: @kobes_pft Facebook: Performance Functional Training Email: email@example.com Website: https://www.tigermuaythai.com/trainers/shaun-kober
Isaac 'Buttsmarn' Butterfield
Isaac 'Buttsmarn' Butterfield
The politically incorrect Aussie comedian, loved by the veteran community.
Damien is a full-time Prison Officer and a Veteran of the Australian Army, serving as an Infantry Soldier. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. He credits MMA training helping him to recover from post-traumatic stress and depression after service. He would like to be the role model for the war veterans who suffer from PTSD and mental ill-health, using the cage as the platform to build support.
Brown started Zen Do Kai martial arts training when he was a kid. After returning from Afghanistan Damien joined a local Kickboxing school as part of the rehab program to improve his physical fitness. This is where his professional career began. Damien went on to fight in the UFC and is now fighting for the RIZIN.
Kieran served in the Army for 14 years, as did four of his brothers. He has deployed 5 times on operations.
After discharge, Kieran experienced poor mental health but worked on himself and is doing well today. He has studied psychology, consciousness, and worked in suicide prevention in hyper-masculine environments. To date, he is a lived-experience peer, advocate and mental health trainer for the veteran community.
Tristan served in the Australian Army for a decade, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.
After discharge from the Military, he went into a career in Deep Sea Commercial Diving, specialising in Underwater Explosives.
Whilst operating offshore, he heard of his thirteenth colleague who had taken his own life. This is when he decided it was time to share the tools that helped him in difficult times of mental health deterioration, recovery, injury rehabilitation, and improvements in his overall wellbeing.
What was effective were the teachings of Yoga and Meditation. Founding and the Lead Facilitator of his company Blind Tiger Yoga, he specialises in teaching to Veterans and Emergency Services. He has taught to over ten thousand members in the first three years of operation and counting.
Tristan has written programs for Coalition Forces in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia wide. Teaching internationally to high-performance athletes and Veterans and Emergency Services (VES) members in various countries, hospitals, studios, and government organisations.
Tristan has several undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications and considers himself a lifelong student. Tireless dedicating himself to further education and practices that will assist him in providing the best quality of training and education to the VES community.
Tristan is a mental health advocate and is always open to share his teachings in a light-hearted manner to whoever wants to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Will Paton joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1999 when he was just 17 years of age. Once completing initial training, Will began his Military career as a Boatswains Mate and served on his first ship HMAS Canberra. Whilst serving as a BM Will was deployed to the Solomon Islands and the Middle East Area of Operations.
In 2004, Will went onto successfully completing the Clearance Diver Acceptance Test (CDAT) and becoming a Navy Clearance Diver in 2005. As a Navy Clearance Diver, he served at Australian Clearance Diving Teams 1 and 4 (AUSCDT 1&4), Australian Clearance Diving School, Tactical Assault Group East - Water Platoon, HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Stuart. He was deployed multiple times to the Middle East Area of Operations and the Solomon Islands.
In 2013, Will successfully completed Special Forces selection and training to become a Qualified Commando within the 2nd Commando Regiment (2 CDO REGT). As a Commando, he specialised as a Special Operations Military Working Dog Handler/Trainer/Instructor. He was deployed multiple times to the Middle East Area of Operations. Will completed 20 years of service and discharged from the Australian Defence Force in 2019.
With his passion working with canines, Will is now Managing Director and Head Trainer for Master Of Puppies dog training on the Gold Coast. Master of Puppies and Will are aspiring to help and support war veterans who suffer from PTSD and mental ill-health, by teaching veterans and their families how to train and create a closer bond with their canine, also in the near future training service dogs and their handlers.
Nadine Muller commenced her RAAF service career at 17, joining the permanent Air Force enlisting as Aircrew in 2007, and later commissioned to Nursing Officer in 2013 after completing her degree. She comes from a long linear of serving members within her family heritage and is honoured to uphold the proud traditions. Residing on the Gold Coast with her husband and two young boys, Nadine is a wearer of many hats. Aside from her full-time service career, Nadine is a Qualified Personal Trainer and Coach with a firm commitment to health and fitness. Over the years she has established herself as an authority online. As a small business owner, she has built her presence in the online space and with a light-hearted, enthusiastic but honest voice within her sphere - she uses her platforms to share valuable and life learned lessons to motivate and empower her audience, to check in with themselves and each other often and take a proactive approach to navigate the many challenges that life, in general, can bring. She explores it all; good, bad, and indifferent, we’ve all been down a trodden path before, some more than others, but a path nonetheless and she knows that we needn’t walk that trodden path alone.
Understanding through lived experiences and exposures derived from her personal and professional pursuits particularly in her specialty of critical care, trauma and emergency nursing – the power of leaning on your mates, human connection albeit face-to-face and even online, investing into a discipline and harbouring routine and a wellness lifestyle can aid towards combating some of the biggest mental health challenges veterans and civilians alike face today.
With a 13-year full-time service career as it stands currently, Nadine has plans in the coming future to transition into a Specialist Reserve Capacity as a Nursing Officer whilst she extends her nursing practice in her area of expertise. Nadine knows the journey through her transition - like most - may not be linear, however as a mental health advocate herself and with the framework of Swiss 8’s model along with its ethos, Nadine knows this will set her in good stead along the way.
Subscribe to our newsletter