Ray Thomas joined the Royal Australian Air Force as a Security Guard, Police Dog Handler in 1969. Posted to No.1 Recruit Training Unit at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia. On completion of Recruit Training Ray was posted to RAAF Police Dog Training Centre, Toowoomba, Queensland where Ray underwent number 17 Security Guard course then posted to RAAF Base Amberley for Security Duties to safeguard RAAF aircraft and assets by handling a RAAF Police Dog and authorised to carry Australian Defence Force weaponry.
Throughout his career of 25 years as a RAAF Dog Handler, Ray served on many Bases throughout Australia and overseas in Malaysia and Singapore. Ray also underwent several advanced courses including Explosives Ordinance Recognisance Agent (EORA), a RAAF/Victoria Police Investigation course, Law of Armed Conflict (Geneva Convention Requirements), a RAAF Police Dog Advance course, an explosive building and clearance search and an advanced Explosives Ordinance Recognisance Agent course with the Australian Federal Police.
Ray was an Instructor at the RAAF Security and Fire School (RAAFSFS) as a Sergeant, training dog handlers from the RAAF, Army, Navy, Queensland Police and Queensland Prison Services.
Ray was promoted to Flight Sergeant and posted to RAAF Base Tindal, Northern Territory. Ray along with six other Dog Handlers opened RAAF Tindal Police Dog Section in 1988. Ray was in-charge of the security of the base and several combined Australian and allied forces exercises during his four year posting in the Northern Territory.
When promoted to Warrant Officer and working directly with the RAAF Provost Marshall (PM), Ray was in charge of RAAF Police and Narcotic Dog Policy and over 200 Defence Dog Handlers and dogs. The RAAF is the largest Military Working Dog supplier to the Defence Force.
Present Day, Ray is the President of the Royal Australian Air Force Dog Handlers Association (RDHA) helping other Defence Dog Handlers in Veteran’s Affairs and conducting War Dog History programs to new Defence Dog Handlers at RAAFSFS, Amberley. Ray and the RDHA is also a strong supporter of the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) in the establishment of War Animal Memorials.