Above and Beyond

FLTLT Heming award

21 Nov


A talented engineering officer has been recognised for his integral role in the design, delivery and commissioning of critical F-35A facilities at RAAF Bases Tindal and Williamtown.  

Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Mitchel Heming, of No. 381 Squadron, was instrumental as the Facilities Support Officer during his posting to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Division from September 2014 until October 2016. 

While presenting a Defence Support Services Silver Commendation to FLTLT Heming at Williamtown during the base’s Site Activation Task Force activity in September, Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Terry Saunder, Director General JSF Acquisition and Sustainment, said FLTLT Heming had performed above and beyond that expected of someone at his rank level and experience, and was truly deserving of extra recognition for the work he had undertaken in keeping the F-35A facilities program on schedule. 

“In what was only his second posting after graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from ADFA, FLTLT Heming was intimately involved in the design process for the new F-35A facilities at both Tindal and Williamtown,” AIRCDRE Saunder said. 

“He was heavily involved in planning and coordinating the commissioning, handover and takeover of the new facilities, which is an extremely complex and challenging role.” 

FLTLT Heming coordinated the handover and occupancy of Australia’s first F-35A facility – the Off Board Information Systems Centre (OBISC), which opened at Williamtown on 5 July 2017. 

“In the absence of the Facilities Project Manager during two extended periods, FLTLT Heming was able to step up and fulfil the full duties of a squadron leader and perform to a high standard,” AIRCDRE Saunder said. 

FLTLT Heming said his posting to JSF Division was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a high-profile project. 

“It was rewarding seeing such crucial milestones at the beginning of construction of the new facilities at Williamtown, and seeing the results of our work as construction progressed,” FLTLT Heming said. 

“The opportunity to work closely with the fast-jet world and gain an understanding of their requirements, and how they operate, was exceptional.” 

He said the highlights of his posting to JSF Division were working with a great team and seeing the progress of construction after being so heavily involved in the design of the facilities. 

AIRCDRE Saunder said throughout FLTLT Heming’s posting, his confidence and knowledge increased dramatically – to the point where he was able to make design decisions on a daily basis and contribute at a peer level with stakeholder groups several ranks above his own. 

“Had FLTLT Heming not demonstrated such a high level of initiative and stakeholder engagement in coordinating the handover of the OBISC at Williamtown, the ability for F-35A personnel to begin operating that facility – and the information systems fit-out of that facility to commence – would have certainly been delayed,” AIRCDRE Saunder said. 

“This would have had a direct impact on the critical path to establishing the F-35A Initial Operating Capability. In this way, he directly contributed to Defence capability.”