Tom Dietrich, (pictured) a 27-year-old weapons technician in the RAF, is a prime example of how a passion for rugby can be combined with a great career.
Tom joined the RAF in 2001 after becoming dissatisfied with the lack of job opportunities in his hometown of Fishguard. He is now an integral part of RAF Lyneham in his role as a small arms technician servicing and maintaining equipment for personnel going out on operation. As a rugby enthusiast, Tom has developed his skills at the game throughout his years in the Service to become one of the RAF's top rugby players.
Dietrich is a battling outside centre whose RAF Lyneham side won the RAF inter-station cup last season and he describes both playing rugby and watching the recent successes of the national team as the ultimate bonding experience for him and his military colleagues.
"I've made some of the best friends I've got through playing rugby in the RAF, and success with the team only strengthens these bonds," said Dietrich.
"Our group of friends seems to be made up of little communities, and we also tend to get closer when Wales do well so there's no better feeling when Wales win.
"My best playing moment has to be when we beat the Royal Navy 24-16 in April 2005, in the inter-service championship. It was the first time in 11 years that the RAF had beaten them and I was quite proud to be involved, it was also one of the biggest crowds that I had ever played in front of.
"Watching the national side for their first Grand Slam in 2005 I was back home in Wales. I remember the atmosphere was electric, and not having performed well in previous seasons just made the Grand Slam all the more exiting.
"In 2008, I was also on leave and spent the first two matches in America, came back to work for the rest and took great joy in being smug in front of my friends from the other home nations. They would have done the same to me.
"I've obviously got a keen interest in whoever is playing in the centre, and try to watch them for the little things extra that they do, but it's the big hitters of the squad that make me happy. Tom Shanklin and Gavin Henson in particular and also Mike Phillips has something about him that stands him apart from anyone he opposes."
The RAF are a long-standing community partner of the WRU and have been associated with Youth rugby in Wales since 2005.
Group Captain Bruce adds:" The Royal Air Force is proud to provide support to thousands of young players through its relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and sponsorship of the RAF Careers Youth League. The RAF is very supportive and encourages Servicemen and women who pursue sporting interests."