Despite the fact that he lived in a "desperately unequal" society, Australian Aboriginal Warrant Officer James Geedrick put his hand up to defend his country six times.
Now his story, and those of others who have served their country in multiple operations, are being showcased in a new exhibition - 'A lifetime of service'- at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
"Every one of the stories that are told here and the personal artifacts, relics and letters that are displayed gives Australians an insight into a very special kind of service," AWM director Brendan Nelson told reporters on Thursday.
The stories, such as those of WO Geedrick, demonstrate an unwavering commitment to following the call of duty, Dr Nelson says.
"This Aboriginal Australian, still living in a desperately unequal Australia served and fought in the Second World War, then he served in the British Commonwealth and Occupational Forces," Dr Nelson said.
"He fought in Korea ... then the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, he fought in Vietnam and he was wounded, he went back to Vietnam and fought again - he's just one example of a lifetime of service, literally."
Having himself served in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel David McCammon knows firsthand just how hard that lifetime of service can be.
A father to four small children, he's proud of his years of service but says it's always hard to leave.
"When you're younger not so much, but now as my children get older, departing becomes more difficult," he said.
While he's missed out on many family moments Lt Col McCammon knows that things could be worse.
"I think about when we had a satellite phone that was as big as a suitcase with about a five-minute delay and you got, sort of five minutes conversation once a week," he laughed.
"Compared to the last time when I was in Iraq where you've got wi-fi and Facetime. But again, it's far better when you're back."