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.
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.
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.
A former Muay Thai Kickboxing champion, Paul was used to physical punishment but nothing could prepare him for what he faced when he joined the Australian Army. Paul has demonstrated courageous attitude and determination after life changing injuries in Afghanistan.
Paul encountered an IED (improvised explosive devise) while on patrol in the Baluchi valley in 2009. The blast tore his right leg off and instantly killed his mate Private Ben Ranaudo. Months of recovery followed both physical and psychological as he dealt with the loss of his good friend.
Told he would never run again Paul proved Doctors wrong and competed in the inaugural Invictus Games in London 2014 and then would go on to Captain the Australian team in Orlando Florida in 2016. Paul is also a published author where he openly discusses physical injury and also mental health in his autobiography “The Fighter”.
Paul returned from a high altitude world record attempt in Chile where his team faced temperatures of - 30 degrees overnight attempting to summit the Ojos Del Salado, the highest active volcano in the world and part of the 7 summits sought out by mountain climbers.
More recently Paul has focused his efforts on designing and implementing a Veteran Engagement program with Rheinmetall Defence Australia. This program had Rheinmetall awarded the Prime Ministers Veterans Employer of the year in 2020.
As well as being a sought after corporate speaker Paul continues to work with Wounded, injured and ill Soldiers and has been part of delivering resilience presentations and developing adaptive sports and employment programs. Paul has been involved with the NQ Cowboys over the last few years as a speaker on induction week.
ADF Liaison Officer
ADF Liaison Officer
Stephen Hobday joined the Army in 2006. During his 14 years in the Army he has deployed multiple times around the globe. Stephen deployed with The 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment on OP SLIPPER MRTF2 with Combat Team Alpha in 2009/2010. In 2014 Stephen deployed over to the United Kingdom for 6 months on Exercise Long Look an exchange program between the Australian Army and the Royal Marines. During the 6mths he worked with 40 Commando Royal Marines deploying to Albania and Jordan. In 2017 Stephen deployed over to the Philippines on OP AUGURY as part of a Military Training Team, training the Philippine Army in Urban Tactics, Reconnaissance and Sniper training. Stephen has been a part of the Swiss 8 team since the start.
When we lost Jesse Bird we had had enough of losing our mates and wanted to do something about it so we all got together and spoke about how we can help the veteran community, mental health etc. I hold it very close to my heart having served 14 years and still serving and wanted to be apart of helping people get through there troubles not only veterans but everyone in that mental health space.
McQuilty Quirke has inspired many people with his courage, determination and positive mindset after battling through Post Traumatic Stress from Iraq, then the physical wounds sustained after being Wounded-in-Action in Afghanistan. He was a leader, a company medic, a soldier, and his life was in the hands of his mates.
McQuilty enlisted into the Australian Army on 7 December 1999, into the Medical Corps. He wanted to save lives, and he was very good at his job. All his training would not prepare him to see the horrors of war in Iraq in 2006 and his mind was injured. Upon returning home McQuilty delved into a nightmare ridden life, consuming alcohol to drown out the horrors of his time in Iraq. He was lucky to have his wife, who along with their two kids saved him from a perilous journey of minimal sleep, nightmares, flashbacks and suicidal thoughts.
McQuilty developed resilience, a positive mindset, and fought back to be deployed again. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. On 13 August 2011, McQuilty’s life changed again, forever. McQuilty was Wounded-in-Action by an improvised explosive device detonated under his vehicle. The vehicle was thrown ten metres from the blast site, McQuilty was ejected from the rear hatch and thrown thirty metres and landed on the side of the road headfirst.
McQuilty sustained multiple life threatening injuries to every limb, had a traumatic brain injury, and shattered two vertebrae. Due to the efforts of his mates on the ground, he was kept alive until senior medical help arrived. Shortly after, McQuilty was nil signs of life for four minutes on the ground, then four minutes on the aero medevac helicopter. He spontaneously came around and was rushed into life saving surgery where he died again. He was revived and sent to Germany. However, he died again and an emergency landing to a health facility saved him again.
McQuilty landed in Germany on 15 August 2011, and on the 16 August 2011 he had his 31 st birthday. His wife arrived on the 17 August 2011. McQuilty arrived back in Australia on 31 August 2011 and began his recovery in various hospitals. He spent 6 and a half months in hospital and has endured 27 operations. In 2013, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Showing incredible strength and resilience he learnt how to walk again and became a primary carer.
McQuilty uses his lived experiences to inspire and motivate everyone. His incredible positive mindset encourages individuals to rise up. He has spoken to local schools, NRL Toyota Cowboys, NRL Cowboys U20s, Queensland Reds, Qantas Wallabies, and Australian Kangaroos. He is currently writing a book to document his experiences in the hope of inspiring individuals to rise up and live a fulfilled life. He has a strong focus on mental health, particularly helping fellow veterans, and mentoring younger generations. He is married to Tammy and they have two children and reside in Townsville.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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