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One Woman's War and Peace

One Woman's War and Peace
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Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Retd.)

One Woman’s War and Peace

A nurse’s journey in the Royal Australian Air Force

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd)


“An honest and inspiring account of one woman’s life in the service of her country. Sharon has experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs yet in every circumstance, Sharon’s amazing courage shines through. A must read for anyone who has served in the ADF and those in the wider public who wish to learn more about the sacrifices made by those who wear our nation’s uniform.” - Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) 

In 1999, idealistic 23-year-old Registered Nurse Sharon Bown left her comfortable family life in Tasmania and joined the Royal Australian Air Force with the aim of providing humanitarian aid to the world. Through her 16-year military career she deployed on three operations, barely survived a helicopter crash, struggled to return to military service, mixed in political circles in Canberra and around the world as Aide de Camp to the Minister for Defence, and commanded a combat surgical team during some of the most intense fighting in Afghanistan. During this time, she lost her mother to breast cancer and almost lost her policeman father to a homicidal psychopath on his way to shoot dead his girlfriend but who decided to kill a cop instead.

From teaching East Timorese orphans to learn English to tending to wounded Coalition soldiers choppered into her surgical team from deadly battles on the Afghan dust, Sharon’s story is that of a sheltered civilian RN becoming a military Nursing Officer and a commander. Her military service was unique, varied and far-reaching but came at the cost of her physical and mental health. A broken back, shattered jaw and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are the price she has paid for a remarkable and inspirational career in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd) completed her Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Tasmania in 1995. With post-graduate qualifications in Peri-operative nursing and Advanced Nursing in Family, Child and Youth Health, she worked as a Registered Nurse at Calvary Hospital, Hobart from 1996–1999, including two years in the operating theatre, before joining the Royal Australian Air Force as a Nursing Officer in 1999.

During her Air Force service, she served overseas in East Timor and Afghanistan and was appointed commander of the RAAF Base Townsville health centre from 2008– 2011 and as the commander of surgical/critical care team deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. Aside from her military nursing service, she also served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Minister for Defence in 2006 — a unique privilege for a Nursing Officer.

During her service she suffered a number of life-altering events such as surviving a helicopter crash with a shattered jaw and broken back and having her policeman father shot in the line of duty, soon after losing her mother to breast cancer. Her service life has exposed her to the best and the worst of humanity and her life’s experiences have resulted in a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharon retired from the Air Force in 2015 and is pursuing further study towards a Bachelor of Psychology. Sharon is a passionate advocate for Australia’s military nurses and for military and veterans’ health where she hopes her experiences and Psychology qualifications will assist others. She is highly sought after as a public speaker and is often invited to speak about the unique experiences of her service career. She lives in Townsville with her husband and their two sons.

SPECIFICATIONS: Paperback | 229 x 152 mm | approx. 30 colour photographs | 248 Pages | 

WIN News Canberra:

As Featured on Channel 7's Sunrise:


Best Reviews:

Australian Defence Family Matters Magazine, September 2017

"Sharon Bown didn't feel her sixteen year career in the Air Force was more interesting than anyone else's. But a speech she gave at an Anzac Day pre-dawn service changed that"Click here to read.

Roaming Panther Magazine, May 2017

"Sharon Bown always knew she wanted to make a difference by helping others"Feature article, click here to read

Townsville Eye, March 2017

"(a) rare insight into Australian military service from a woman's perspective"

Royal United Services Institution, March 2017

"This personal account displays nothing but optimism and determination to take on whatever the future held...It is a refreshing work that makes the reader aware of the determination an individual can possess to achieve an ambition to serve others. A very readable account."

Honest Histories, February 2017

"Bown is a remarkable woman...(she) is open and honest about her feelings and how she has now found some peace. Telling her story of adversity and survival clearly helps her in the advocacy in which she is now engaged. Her story will also provide comfort and help for those who have suffered injury, mental and physical, in shocking accidents while serving their country or otherwise."

The Hive (Australian College of Nursing), January 2017

"Sharon’s story is one which encourages and inspires readers to lead within their own lives." - Click here to read the full review.

Australian Defence Magazine, January 2017

"Sharon’s often traumatic story is one of great courage and compassion and highlights how service to the ADF can come at a great personal, physical, emotional and physiological cost." - Click here to read the full review.

Australian Nursing Journal, December 2016


Portland Observer, November 2016

"This important and timely book reminds us of the value and support that our veterans require, yet don’t always receive." - Click here to read the review in full.

The Weekly Times, November 2016

"You can feel her pain following the horrific helicopter crash that left her with a broken back and shattered jaw as well as the graphic nightmares that followed ... a moving account of the sacrifices so many make." - Read the full review here.

Just So Stories, November 2016

"It has been a privilege to share Sharon’s journey and her easy style of writing made that journey an engaging one to follow. I urge you strongly to add this to your secondary collection or to put it on your ‘to read’ list for your personal edification." - Read the full review here.

PS News, October 2016

"It’s an amazing story of a sheltered civilian RN becoming a military nursing officer and a commander."

Camden Advertiser, October 2016

"I was moved near to tears, for she hits right where it counts and made me proud to be an Australian"

Collins Bookseller Camden, September 2016

"One Woman's War And Peace is truly beautiful, even in the dark and lonely times ... I dare you not to be touched or even moved after reading it through. Or even be filled with pride."


Australian Nurses Journal, April 2017

Extensive Feature Article 
"gripping autobiography"Click here to read.

2GB, December 2016

Tune in and listen to Sharon Bown, author of One Woman's War and Peace interviewed on 2GB radio.

Canberra Times (Syndicated to SMH), December 2016

"Despite spending four months in a back brace and developing PTSD which she still copes with today, she was determined to return to work as an RAAF nurse." - Click here to read the full article

Townsville Bulletin, December 2016

One Woman's War and Peace author Sharon Bown as featured in Townsville Bulletin.

OWWAP and author Sharon Bown as featured in Townsville Bulletin

Hobart Mercury - Tas Weekend Magazine, November 2016





"Sharon Bown studied nursing because she wanted to help others. And she enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force because it allowed her to save lives in some of the most challenging environments on earth In her 16 year career she served in East Timor, Bali and Afghanistan. So it seems unfair - to an outside observer -  that Bown's life of service was repaid by the universe by so much pain".- Click here to read the double page spread feature.

2UE, November 2016

Sharon Bown interviewed by John and Garry

News.com.au, November 2016

"We are trained to be strong and we need to be strong to be able to do the jobs we do ... But we also need to recognise when it’s time to stop being so strong ...”

Click here or below to read the entire article on News.com.au featuring One Woman's War and Peace author Sharon Bown.

Sharon Bown article as featured on News.com.au

New Idea, October 2016

A great feature with Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd) in New Idea
"To support our veterans we must endeavour to understand their experience of service".

Sharon Bown author of One Woman's War and Peace featured in New Idea

Talk Tonight, October 2016

Graeme Gilbert talks to author Sharon Bown about her career and her book One Woman's War and Peace

Listen to the interview here.

Light FM, October 2016

Author Sharon Bown as interviewed on Light FM

ABC 666 Canberra, October 2016

Listen in to author of One Woman's War and Peace, Wing Commander Sharon Bown's (Ret'd) interview with ABC 666 Canberra

Radio Live NZ, October 2016

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret'd) interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Radio Live NZ.

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