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Features

Prize performances

The outstanding units and personnel of 2002 received accolades at the fourth annual Air Force Awards Night at the Australian War Memorial on May 1.

Reports: LACW Simone Liebelt
Photos: WOFF Ken Rowland


AVM B.A. Eaton Award: CPL Elliott

AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (military): FSGT Bernardo
AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (civilian): Mr Vlcek
ADI Leadership Award: FLGOFF Cocker
Lipshut Family Bursary: CPL Lee
Air Force Association Trophy: 26SQN
Hawker Siddeley Trophy: 323CSS
Markowski Cup: 1ATS
RAAF Maintenance Trophy: 33SQN
Duke of Gloucester Cup: 92WG


AVM B.A. Eaton Award:: CPL Elliott

GPCAPT Glen Steed, OC 86WG, congratulates CPL Regan Elliott, winner of the AVM Eaton Award, as LAC Gregory Elliott displays his wife’s prizes.
GPCAPT Glen Steed, OC 86WG, congratulates CPL Regan Elliott, winner of the AVM Eaton Award, as LAC Gregory Elliott displays his wife’s prizes.

HELPING people in need is a priority for Airman/Airwoman of the Year Corporal Regan “Millie” Elliott. After an eye-opening tour of duty to East Timor, CPL Elliott, a personnel clerk and State Emergency Service volunteer, discovered that nursing was her true calling.

She received the Air Vice Marshal B.A. Eaton award for her outstanding service in administrative management at Headquarters No. 86 Wing, RAAF Base Richmond. Her impressive performance under a demanding workload has included completion of a large archiving project dating back to the 1960s, and the finalisation of administration for the closure of No. 35 Squadron.

Referring to herself as an “average Joe”, CPL Elliott said she was shocked to discover she had won the award, but thrilled to receive recognition for her work “behind the scenes”.

“When the CO told me I’d won I thought, ‘No way! Things like that don’t happen to people like me,’” she said.

From her six-month deployment to East Timor with No. 3 Combat Support Hospital in 2000, CPL Elliott was inspired to take up nursing, and is now studying for a degree at the University of Western Sydney. While she loves the Air Force lifestyle, and hopes to serve as a Nursing Officer one day, she is unsure where her nursing career will take her.

“I just want the opportunity to help sick people and to really care for people,” she said. “That’s the avenue I have to follow.”

An active SES volunteer, CPL Elliott assisted with the Sydney bushfire crisis and storm damage in 2001 and 2002, and continues to devote time in her busy schedule to support the community. Receiving Airman/Airwoman of the Year was an unexpected but welcome reward.

“It’s been a busy, busy few years.

“I just kept plodding along, and whether I got recognition or not I feel within myself that I did a good job, so it’s just so nice to get rewarded and recognised for it.”

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AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (military):: FSGT Bernardo

FSGT Anthony Bernardo with his wife, Alicia, and children Joshua, Ryan and Abby after the presentation of the AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (military).
FSGT Anthony Bernardo with his wife, Alicia, and children Joshua, Ryan and Abby after the presentation of the AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (military).

SUMMONED into the CO’s Office, Flight Sergeant Anthony Bernardo thought he was in trouble. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh great! What have I done?’” he laughed. “No one would tell me anything so I thought I must have got a speeding fine when I borrowed the work car.”

Much to his surprise, the CO actually wanted to congratulate him on being awarded the Air Vice-Marshal Tony Dietz Memorial Quality and
Achievement Medallion for his service in logistics support of technical equipment.

Joining the Air Force in 1981 as an aircraft apprentice, FSGT Bernardo received the award for his service as Aircraft Structural Integrity Coordinator at the Maritime Patrol Systems Program Office, RAAF Base Edinburgh. In addition to his outstanding productivity, he has dramatically improved the management of tasks and information, and is considered a driving force behind the engineering support to structural integrity of the P3-C .

His Air Force career has included three postings to Edinburgh, one of which earned him an individual commendation for service at the Aircraft Research and Development unit in 1989.

A father of three, FSGT Bernardo said the highlights of his career had been winning the award, receiving his commendation, and going for a flight in an F/A-18 Hornet at Williamtown – which he admitted was quite a hard one to beat. “I’ve had such a great time,” he said. “Winning this award has been excellent and I feel very proud.”

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AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (civilian):: Mr Vlcek

CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston presents Joseph Vlcek with the AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (civilian).
CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston presents Joseph Vlcek with the AVM Dietz Memorial Medallion (civilian).

AFTER 24 years as an Avionics Technician, and three postings to RAAF Base Williamtown, Joseph Vlcek should know a little about Hornets – and the Air Force. He received the Air Vice-Marshal Tony Dietz Memorial Quality and Achievement Medallion for service as a Defence civilian at the Hornet Logistics Management Unit, Williamtown.

Mr Vlcek, who retired from the Air Force in 2000, said he still gets to use his Air Force experience daily and keeps in regular contact with friends working at Air Force sections around Australia.

He has earned the respect and appreciation of his co-workers through his technical proficiency, dedication, and significant productivity while implementing changes required by the Hornet upgrade program. “I was very surprised to receive the award, but proud as well,” he said. “I would like to think that the experience I gained in my Air Force career is of benefit to the unit, but I believe most of the credit should go to the staff who I work with, for without them and their dedication we would not have achieved our aims.”

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ADI Leadership Award:: FLGOFF Cocker

FLGOFF Brett Green congratulates FLGOFF Matthew Cocker after his receipt of the Australian Defence Industries Leadership Award.
FLGOFF Brett Green congratulates FLGOFF Matthew Cocker after his receipt of the Australian Defence Industries Leadership Award.

INVESTIGATING a career in the Air Force was the right decision for Flying Officer Matthew Cocker. A civilian police officer of 12 years, FLGOFF Cocker saw the change to Air Force as a natural progression, providing the opportunity for his wife and four children to see Australia while doing a job he thoroughly enjoys.

FLGOFF Cocker’s display of professionalism, leadership, and dedication on his initial officer training course last year made him an outstanding role model among his peers and earned him the course Leadership and Military Qualities award. With no other student of Officer Training School assessed higher in leadership ability in 2002, FLGOFF Cocker was awarded the ADI Leadership Sword and Queen’s Gold Medal.

Based at Headquarters Northern Command Darwin, FLGOFF Cocker is happy doing any job, but looks forward to serving as a base security officer. He said he was proud, but surprised to receive the award.

“Winning this award was an outstanding feeling, and something I never expected,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for everyone who went through my course, and all the other courses, as I know that they had high quality personal attributes and dedication to their new chosen profession.”

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Lipshut Family Bursary:: CPL Lee

CPL Jillian Lee, the recipient of the Lipshut family Bursary, is congratulated by her fiance, LAC Ben Dempster, and her mother, Rita Lee.
CPL Jillian Lee, the recipient of the Lipshut family Bursary, is congratulated by her fiance, LAC Ben Dempster, and her mother, Rita Lee.

LIFELINE counsellor Corporal Jillian Lee is dedicated to helping the community and her career.

Striving towards a commission as an administration officer, CPL Lee’s schedule involves juggling her service career with university study and volunteer social work. A clerk supply at No. 1 Combat Communications Squadron, Richmond, she has been awarded the Lipshut Family Bursary, a scholarship offered to airmen or airwomen undertaking a degree with the view of obtaining a commission.

CPL Lee describes her volunteer work with Lifeline as rewarding, as it enables her to put her study into practice, while also helping people in need. “You’re mainly there to listen to their problems,” she said. “You do generate options and solutions for them, but usually they just need someone to talk to.”

In applying for the bursary, CPL Lee has demonstrated her ambition and determination to become an officer, while displaying effective organisation skills. With demanding work and study commitments, the bursary will allow her to complete the remainder of her Bachelor of Social Science degree full time with financial support from next year.

She paid special thanks to her fiancé, Leading Aircraftman Ben Dempster, for providing full support and encouragement throughout her studies.

“It’s so great to have all your hard work recognised and rewarded,” she said.

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Air Force Association Trophy:: 26SQN

Members of 26SQN are elated at claiming the Air Force Association Trophy for the second year in a row. Pictured with them is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence Fran Bailey, who presented the awards on the night.
Members of 26SQN are elated at claiming the Air Force Association Trophy for the second year in a row. Pictured with them is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence Fran Bailey, who presented the awards on the night.

NO. 26 (City of Newcastle) Squadron has been awarded the Air Force Association Trophy for the best reserve squadron for the second year running.

One of 10 reserve squadrons around Australia, 26SQN has retained the trophy through continued personnel support of the PAF and its operational tasks. With more than 80 per cent of its personnel trained and fit for deployment in 2002, the squadron provided support to many RAAF Base Williamtown units throughout the year, as well as Op Bali Assist.

26SQN members trained a number of PAF members on courses and the squadron was actively involved in the Reserve Forces Day in Newcastle. Members also participated in a fundraising charity walk from Sydney to Newcastle.

Squadron Leader Paul Burnham, Commanding Officer 26SQN, said every squadron member was delighted to see the trophy awarded for the second time in two years. He acknowledged the outstanding leadership provided by the then CO, Squadron Leader Linda New, and the XO, Squadron Leader Trevor Alley. “As an incoming CO, the award of this trophy makes me even more aware of the high levels of performance shown by the personnel that make up this very professional unit,” he said.

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Hawker Siddeley Trophy:: 323CSS

323CSS members proudly display the Hawker Siddeley Trophy. They are joined by Peter Lindsay MP and Heather Krause, wife of Base Commander WGCDR Glendan Krause.
323CSS members proudly display the Hawker Siddeley Trophy. They are joined by Peter Lindsay MP and Heather Krause, wife of Base Commander WGCDR Glendan Krause.

IT might be small compared to other Air Force bases, but RAAF Base Townsville has made a big impression in 2002.

Awarded the Hawker Siddeley Trophy for the base of the year, No. 323 Combat Support Squadron at RAAF Base Townsville was recognised for its strong support of ADF and international operations.

In 2002, 323CSS provided combat support to Op Bel Isi in Bougainville, Exercise Swift Eagle and No. 5/7 Royal Australian Regiment’s deployment to East Timor, with a number of squadron members deploying to operations in Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Butterworth and the United States.

The squadron earned accolades for its innovative maintenance solutions on fire trucks, benefiting the entire Air Force fleet, and opened several new complexes, including new Ordnance Loading Areas, which were used for the first time with the Hawk aircraft during Exercise High Sierra.

Wing Commander Glendan Krause, Commanding Officer 323CSS and Townsville Base Commander, accepted the award on behalf of the squadron and RAAF Base Townsville.

“While the trophy is awarded to 323CSS as the unit that manages and coordinates base activities, the achievements of all units on base are being recognised,” he said. “The outstanding efforts of a great many people, military and civilian, in all the units on the base have led to this award.”

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Markowski Cup:: 1ATS

1ATS representatives celebrate after receiving the Markowski Cup for being the most proficient unit in the Air Force in 2002.
1ATS representatives celebrate after receiving the Markowski Cup for being the most proficient unit in the Air Force in 2002.

MEETING the challenges of an operationally intense year, No. 1 Air Terminal Squadron has been awarded the Markowski Cup for the best unit.

With the reformation of the air movements sections at RAAF Bases Richmond, Williamtown, Amberley, Townsville, Darwin, Pearce and Tindal in 1999, in its short but proud history the squadron has been involved in a number of ADF operations.

In 2002, 1ATS supported Ops Slipper, Relex, Cranberry, Bel Isi, Tanager and Citadel. During Op Bali Assist, squadron personnel provided 24-hour air terminal support to Air Lift Group operations, resulting in a number of commendations. The Pearce detachment was awarded the City Swan Award for the most proficient team at RAAF Base Pearce.

1ATS also established an air terminal support standardisation process, providing a significant increase in proficiency and standards for fixed base and deployed operations roles.

“The outstanding achievements of all 1ATS personnel have been recognised by this award,” said Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Peter Noake. “While the spotlight normally focuses on personnel who deploy overseas on operations, I would like to pay special note to all the squadron personnel who kept the air terminals running back in Australia. They really had it tough at times to keep normal day to day operations running at home.”

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RAAF Maintenance Trophy:: 33SQN

33SQN representatives are delighted at their squadron’s success in winning the RAAF Maintenance Trophy for the most proficient unit that undertakes technical equipment maintenance.
33SQN representatives are delighted at their squadron’s success in winning the RAAF Maintenance Trophy for the most proficient unit that undertakes technical equipment maintenance.

ACHIEVING a mission success rate of more than 98 per cent on deployment, No. 33 Squadron, RAAF Base Richmond, is the worthy winner of the RAAF Maintenance Trophy for 2002.

The award recognises 33SQN’s achievements in maintaining the B707s while deployed on Op Slipper in the war against terrorism. During the six-month deployment to Kyrgyzstan, major servicing maintenance and modifications were completed under demanding environmental conditions.

Earning a Meritorious Unit Citation for its involvement in Op Slipper, 33SQN also participated in Op Guardian, providing air-to-air refuelling support to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Queensland.

Wing Commander Richard Lennon, Commanding Officer 33SQN, accepted the award on behalf of the airmen and airwomen who support the B707, describing their commitment as second to none. “Their personal sacrifices are many, while tangible rewards are few; so it is fitting that their efforts are recognised by the award of this prestigious trophy,” he said. “Teamwork is essential to their mission, not just in the area of operations but at Richmond as well. Every man and woman in the flight can be equally proud of their achievements and rest assured that their contribution counted.”

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Duke of Gloucester Cup:: 92WG

CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston congratulates members of 92WG after presenting the Duke of Gloucester Cup for 2002.
CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston congratulates members of 92WG after presenting the Duke of Gloucester Cup for 2002.

NO. 92 Wing continues to live up to its reputation of “silent achievers”, receiving the Duke of Gloucester Cup for the best flying squadron of 2002. During a year in which valuable resources were reduced significantly as a result of the ongoing transition to the AP-3C, the wing met all its operational tasking and exercise commitments. It also established a benchmark flight safety program and provided significant support to the local community and national charities.

In accepting the award on behalf of 92WG, Officer Commanding Group Captain Steve Martin said the award reflected the wing’s unique operating framework to produce Air Force’s maritime patrol capability. He described 2002 as a very busy year, with the wing operating at near maximum capacity.

“To have chosen to nominate one specific squadron, or team, within the wing for this prestigious award would have meant ignoring the equally significant contributions of the remaining elements. We operate a close-knit and professional team and this year clearly reflects that fact,” GPCAPT Martin said. “This award represents public acknowledgement of our achievements and justifies our own view that 92WG continues to lead the way.”

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