At the Annual General Meeting in October 1990, the Australian Army Aviation Association decided that it would sponsor an annual award for the “Soldier of the Year”. All soldiers are eligible for the award, irrespective of corps or duties, however, emphasis is placed on nominations of sergeant and below. Units may nominate soldiers for the award for excellence in their soldierly qualities, knowledge of their trade or leadership. A panel of judges, comprising the RSMs of the Army aviation capability under the chairmanship of the Corps RSM, decides the winner and the award is announced and presented at the Annual Corps Dinner in July.
The list of recipients is unfortunately not complete. Several citations cannot be located and it is unclear whether the award was presented in 1997. In addition, many of the early photos are either of poor quality or missing. We continue to search to bring our records and this page up to date.
1991 | SGT S.P. Gallatly
1992 | SGT D.P. Heffernan
1993 | TPR Peter Cox
1994 | SGT Garth Bartier
1995 | SGT Malcolm Haddon
1996 | SSGT Peter Fowles
1997 | (recipient unknown)
1998 | CPL Evert Moorman
1999 | CPL Mick Booker
2000 | SGT Darren McCormack
2001 | SGT Lance Peterson
2002 | SGT Glenn Henderson
2003 | CPL David Meehan
2004 | SGT Amanda Edwards
2005 | SGT Sean Taylor
2006 | CPL Darren Lonergan
2007 | SGT Taquin Kennedy
2008 | CPL Ben White
2009 | CFN Stephen Laycock
2010 | LCPL John Keeley
2011 | CFN Lachlan Fraser
SGT S.P. Gallatly
SGT S.P. Gallatly is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Corps Soldier of the Year for service in Operations Troop, 161 Reconnaissance Squadron.
In the past year he has filled the position of acting Operations Officer and Troop SGT of Operations Troop. He has demonstrated the ability to perform his duties to a very high standard and has contributed more to the effectiveness of 161 Reconnaissance Squadron than any other soldier.
As a measure of his professionalism, he was awarded Student of Merit on his Subject One SGT Course in 1991. This in itself has brought great credit to 161 Reconnaissance Squadron, 1 Aviation Regiment and the Australian Army Aviation Corps.
SGT D.P. Heffernan
SGT D.P. Heffernan is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 1992 for service in the School of Army Aviation.
In January 1990, SGT Heffernan commenced his current posting at the School of Army Aviation (SAA) as the Aircrewman Observer Instructor assigned to Corps Training and Tactics Wing. His primary duty in this position is the management and conduct of the Aircrewman Observers Course; however, SGT Heffernan has also provided extensive instructional input into the Aircraft Handler, Refueller, Medic/Fireman Familiarisation and Regimental Officers Basic (ROBC) courses.
It is, however, in the area of course redevelopment, design and implementation that SGT Heffernan's contributions to the Corps is most noteworthy. He has worked extensively on the rewrite of the Aircraft Handler course; notably the incorporation of the Aviation Bulk Refueller course into the Aircraft Handler course as a terminal objective rationalising not only the training, but also leading to training cost savings. Other projects involving much of SGT Heffernan's personal time include the rewriting of the Subject Four for Corporal (Aviation), the recognition objectives for the ROBC and currently the Aircrewman Observer course.
Throughout the numerous writing projects with which SGT Heffernan has been involved, he has maintained his personal flying skills resulting in the award of a Category A Aircrewman Observer category on his 1991 annual recategorisation.
SGT Heffernan, throughout his professionalism, rapport with all ranks and willingness to devote many hours of his personal time to course development, has contributed markedly to the attainment of the SAA objectives for course redesign and implementation. His efforts will contribute significantly to the quality of training received by soldiers and junior regimental officers alike.
TPR Peter Cox
Citation cannot be located
SGT Garth Bartier
Citation cannot be located.
SGT Malcolm Haddon
SGT Malcom Roy Haddon enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on the 28 April 1982. He served with the Royal Australian Infantry Corps until his transfer to the Australian army Aviation Corps on 4 March 1987. SGT Haddon has subsequently served at the School of Army Aviation, 173rd Surveillance Squadron, and is current posted as Groundcrewman Sergeant, 162nd Reconnaissance Squadron.
SGT Haddon has made an outstanding contribution to the operational effectiveness of 162nd Reconnaissance Squadron, particularly during December 1993 until December 1994 when he was acting Operations Officer. He accepted the additional responsibility of this demanding position well, ensuring that the Squadron operations continued to function in an efficient and timely manner. This added responsibility often required SGT Haddon to work additional hours in his own time.
SGT Haddon's devotion to duty is typified by his efforts in improving and standardising the Squadron's Command Posts (CP). On his own initiative, SGT Haddon drafted, staffed, and following approval, implemented a redesign of the Squadron's CP layout. This redesign has resulted in not only an increase in efficiency, but also due to its functional design a decrease in operator workloads. SGT Haddon's efforts have been considered at Regimental level for implementation across 1st Aviation Regiment.
While accepting the additional responsibility as the Squadron Operations Officer until January 1995, SGT Haddon has continued to oversee the development of the Squadron's groundcrewmen. He has developed a loyal, hard working and focussed team who have consistently drawn the praise of supported units. His efforts, particularly in the area of communications training and Raven radio implementation, have resulted in a consistently high standard of performance in both the barracks and field environments.
SGT Haddon's efforts as the temporary 162nd Reconnaissance Squadron's Operations Officer and the leadership he has displayed in his capacity as the Groundcrewman Sergeant are to be commended. His outstanding performance makes him a worthy recipient of the Army Aviation Soldier of the Year for 1995.
SSGT Peter Fowles
Citation cannot be located.
Citation cannot be located. It is unclear whether an award was presented in 1997.
CPL Evert (Tim) Moorman
Citation cannot be located.
CPL Mick Booker
Citation cannot be located.
SGT Darren McCormack
Citation cannot be located.
SGT Lance Peterson
SGT Lance Peterson is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2001n for his exemplary professionalism and outstanding contribution towards the development and conduct of groundcrewman training.
SGT Peterson was posted as an Instructor to Aviation Trade Wing in January 2000. His arrival coincided with a period of great change for the Groundcrewman Trade. From the outset he demonstrated the ability to work unsupervised and seemingly unphased by the pressures of a tight schedule to develop, write and conduct the necessary training. He personally took charge of developing the communications modules within the Mission Support course. Of his own volition he sought out additional training for himself to supplement his considerable expertise in communications so as to ensure that the standard of training delivered to Aviation Groundcrewmen was the best available. Concurrently, hi also undertook a Training Technologist course to help facilitate the integrity of the course material for which he was responsible within the Wing.
SGT Peterson’s wide knowledge and practise of the many facets that go to make up his tradecraft as a soldier engenders respect from superiors, peers and trainees alike. As an individual, his work ethic, indomitable sense of humour, team spirit and integrity are no less inspirational.
Overall he is an exemplary role model for the many young soldiers who have passed through his care over the period. SGT Peterson’s contribution to the professional advancement of the Corps’ Groundcrewman has been nothing short of outstanding. Indeed, by his actions and persona he very much embodies the peace time soldier.
SGT Glenn Henderson
SGT Glenn Henderson is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2002 for his professionalism and commitment to the development of the Aviation "HGU-56P Aircrew Helment BlueFin Ensemble, Ephese Aircrew Breathing System, and HEEDS" capability.
SGT Henderson’s efforts and "can do" attitude has enabled the Australian Defence Force to expand its ability to perform Airborne Special Operations and Counter Terrorism with increased safety. His efforts and attitude were also highlighted after a recent rotation to East Timor as part of the 5th Aviation Regiment detachment. Once again the "Can do" attitude and enthusiasm contributed greatly to the effectiveness of the detachment and unit morale.
SGT Hendersen’s dedication to the Australian Army Aviation capability represents exemplary performance in the finest traditions of the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and reflects great credit upon yourself and the Australian Army.
CPL David Meehan
Corporal Meehan is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2003. He joined the Army in 1991 and served as a trooper with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Darwin before corps transferring in 1995. He was posted to the 5th Aviation Regiment as an armament Groundcrewman with Iroquois gunships in C Squadron before successfully completing a Loadmaster course in 2000. Corporal Meehan was then posted to the 171st Operational Support Squadron Aerial Fire Support Troop, responsible for training subordinates, and conducting both utility and fire support flying operations.
Peewee, as he is better known in the Squadron, is an excellent door gunner both in accuracy and effectiveness of fire. He works very hard at keeping his miniguns operating and firing. He is a tireless worker, whose enthusiasm and commitment to his trade and the Army ethos has been instrumental in the success of 171 Operational Support Squadron gunship operations over the past three years. He displays leadership qualities far in excess of those required for his position, and is an outstanding role model for junior loadmasters and Groundcrewmen. In addition to his primary tasks associated with the Aerial Fire Support Troop, Peewee is also a sub-unit PTI.
Corporal Meehan has proven time and again that he is a self-starter of enduring good humour and integrity who continually seeks and accepts additional responsibilities. In short, he is an outstanding soldier, and a very worthy recipient of the Aviation Soldier of the Year award for 2003.
SGT Amanda Edwards
SGT Amanda Edwards is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Soldier of the Year for 2004 for her exemplary performance as the Senior Non Commissioned Officer of Maintenance Control Section, Technical Support Squadron in support of technical airworthiness of the Black Hawk and Chinook aircraft at the 5th Aviation Regiment.
SGT Edwards’ thorough knowledge of the technical data management systems and excellent managerial skills, capacity for work and leadership were instrumental in the Regiment continuing to achieve its goals under a high operational tempo. Her support in maintenance management systems and technical documentation directly contributed to the success of Operations CITADEL, SCRUMMAGE and FALCONER.
SGT Edwards’ dedication, professionalism and pro-activeness to address problems during the preparation and rollout phases of the new technical airworthiness management system (CAMM2) also enabled a relatively smooth and successful transition without detrimental effect on the Regiment’s technical data integrity. Her tireless work ethic was crucial throughout this time, allowing 5th Aviation Regiment to maintain its operational capability. Her performance as the Senior Non Commissioned Officer of Maintenance Control Section, Technical Support Squadron has been critical to the ongoing success of the 5th Aviation Regiment. Her personal commitment, dedication and hard work throughout the year have been exceptional.
SGT Sean Taylor
SGT Sean Taylor is awarded the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2005 for his exemplary performance as a senior non commissioned officer of Armament Systems Wing, Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance School, Army Aviation Training Centre in support of explosive ordnance awareness training for Army Aviation Technical Training.
SGT Taylor’s application of knowledge on aircraft armament systems and explosive ordnance within the development of explosive ordnance training packages for initial employment training technicians, and Corporal, Sergeant, Artificer and Engineering Officer level courses, has enhanced Army Aviation maintenance of explosive ordnance awareness and safety. The explosive ordnance awareness package that he developed has been identified by the Royal Australian Air Force Explosive Ordnance Training School, and is being utilised in the development of a tri-service explosive ordnance awareness package. This package will be delivered to all aircraft technical tradesman at the Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training in the future.
SGT Taylor’s personal commitment, dedication and hard work throughout the year has been exceptional, has brought great credit on himself, his Corps, and is in the finest traditions of the Australian Defence Force.
CPL Darren Lonergan
The Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2006 is Corporal Lonergan in recognition of his exemplary performance as the Commander of Forward Repair Team Three, B Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment in support of Black Hawk aircraft maintenance.
Through his inspirational leadership, unflagging commitment and adept technical skill he has made a significant contribution to the successful conduct of flying operations, both overseas and within Australia. In particular, his support in assisting B Squadron prepare for Operations PAKISTAN, ASSIST, LARRY ASSIST and ASTUTE has been outstanding and well above that expected of someone of his rank and experience. In this demanding environment of high operational tempo he achieved results with his Forward Repair Team that, ultimately, has enhanced the international reputation of the Australian Army’s aviation capability.
CPL LOnergan’s dedication, skill and tenacity in the most difficult of conditions has brought great credit upon himself, the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and his Regiment and reflect the finest traditions of the Army aviation capability’s soldier/tradesmen
SGT Taquin Kennedy
SGT Tarquin Kennedy is the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2007 for his exemplary leadership, commitment and technical proficiency as a CH-47D Loadmaster for C Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment and Task Group 637.3, Operation SLIPPER
SGT Kennedy’s inspirational leadership, professional excellence and dedication to duty have resulted in several outstanding contributions to 5th Aviation Regiment and the aviation capability. Most notably, his highly-developed individual skills and trade knowledge allowed him to rapidly master the M-134D Minigun weapon system and act as a mentor to other Aircrewman. Over and above his routine duties, he experimented with the fit of the M-134D weapon system and associated equipment during its introduction. Through these efforts, he ultimately developed an optimised layout that resulted in greater weapon proficiency and significantly fewer weapon stoppages; thereby resulting in increased protection for the aircraft, crew and passengers. The procedures and training methods that SGT Kennedy developed were subsequently adopted for all operators within the Army Aviation capability.
Whilst deployed on Operation SLIPPER, he consistently displayed an extremely professional and mission-focussed approach to flying operations. Notably, his courage and composure under fire during an Australian-led air assault mission into a heavily defended landing zone were beyond reproach. Since returning to Australia, he has continued to demonstrate a level of leadership and enthusiasm that has set him apart from his peers. This was highlighted by his enthusiastic involvement with the 5th Aviation Regiment obstacle course team and his efforts to improve the C Squadron outdoor training and recreation area during personal time.
SGT Kennedy has brought great credit upon himself, his Corps and his Unit. Your efforts reflect the finest traditions of the Army aviation capability’s soldier.
CPL Ben White
CPL Ben White is the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2008 for his exemplary leadership, commitment and technical proficiency as a FARP Team Leader for 171st Aviation Squadron, 6th Aviation Regiment and the Timor Leste Aviation Group, Operation ASTUTE.
CPL White displayed great courage and determination as a soldier and demonstrated significant leadership under adversity as a team leader. He has consistently demonstrated a thorough understanding of his trade, shown professionalism under trying conditions, and proven his value to the aviation capability in all aspects of his work. During his deployment on Operation ASTUTE in November 2007, he undertook an extensive review and audit of the state of the FARP equipment, procedures and processes, and discovered that critical requirements for the quality and safety of aviation fuel were not being satisfied. When faced with this situation he demonstrated moral courage and insisted that aircraft refuelling could not take place until the situation was rectified. CPL White then worked assiduously to rectify the technical, procedural and regulatory issues that affected the capability. In so doing, he demonstrated outstanding trade skills as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the external agencies and regulations that govern the provision of aircraft refuelling.
During his posting, CPL White also demonstrated a high level of dedication and leadership in support of Black Hawk operations in the 6th Aviation Regiment. This is made all the more significant given the increasing issues with availability of fuel assets within the unit. Despite the number of serviceable fuel vehicles reaching critically low levels, his inspiration leadership has helped to ensure that motivation and compliance with standards has not been compromised.
By demonstrating leadership, commitment and technical proficiency at levels well above worn rank CPL White achieved exemplary results. His service has been in the finest traditions of the 6th Aviation Regiment and the Army Aviation capability.
CFN Stephen Laycock
The Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2009 is CFN Stephen Laycock for his exemplary performance in carrying out your duties and responsibilities as an Avionics Technician at the 1st Aviation Regiment.
CFN Laycock’s contribution to the introduction of the ARH capability at the 1st Aviation Regiment has been invaluable. He has conducted your duties to an excellent standard and demonstrated outstanding devotion to duty during high tempo periods. He directly contributed to the improvement of avionics maintenance procedures and notably, the availability of serviceable aircraft during Exercise Possum Guns.
In addition to his primary duties as an avionics tradesman, CFN Laycock concurrently assumed the roles and responsibilities of an ARH avionics mentor. The coaching and mentoring he provided to junior craftsmen within the Regiment is of the highest standard and a direct reflection of his inherent leadership ability and knowledge of ARH avionics systems.
CFN Laycock’s achievements are of the highest order and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force. He is an ambassador of the emerging ARH capability.
LCPL John Keeley
The Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2010 is LCPL Joseph Keeley for His outstanding performance of duty as the Information Systems Technician within the Rotary Wing Group on deployment in Afghanistan. Throughout the deployment he made a significant contribution to mission readiness and the conduct of operations through his work maintaining the Group’s information systems.
His efforts have been fundamental in allowing the Rotary Wing Group to meet operational requirements. He actively sought to establish, support and maintain the Group’s information systems, particularly in an aviation context, and to further refine management practices, protocols and procedures.
CPL Keeley can be rightly proud of his achievements and, through them, his recognition as the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year
CFN Lachlan Fraser
The Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2011 is CFN Lachlan Fraser. As a Fitter Armourer in the 5th Aviation Regiment, CFN Fraser took on all the roles and responsibilities of the position with enthusiasm. He performed trade duties and responsibilities with dedication and displayed an exceptional ability to manage all tasks allocated. Of note, was his positive attitude, which, combined with his trade skills, have ensured exceptional productivity in Ground Equipment Repair Troop.
CFN Fraser is one of the few tradesmen in the Army qualified on the M134D 7.62 Mini-gun. This weapon system is essential for force protection of CH-47 Aircraft operating in Afghanistan. There is a very small fleet of this specialised weapon system in the ADF and he has been constantly under pressure to ensure sufficient numbers are available for both operations and domestic training. Despite significant pressures, he demonstrated maturity and moral courage when he identified a systemic error in management of M134D Maintenance Procedures. CFN Fraser alerted the chain of command, despite knowing the issue might reflect poorly on his peers, and would cause the Army to lose a capability for a short period of time. He then applied yourself to rectifying the problem and you instigated robust measures to prevent recurrence.
CFN Fraser is also a subject matter expert on a wide variety of topics, from infantry minor tactics and navigation, through to technical references and documentation relevant to trade tasks. He is highly regarded within the unit as a hard working and professional soldier. He takes a proactive approach to the mentoring of the On-The-Job trainees. Whilst not his primary role, CFN Fraser consistently takes the initiative to provide trainees with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, going out of his way to engage trainees, using challenging scenarios to develop their diagnostic skills.
During his tenure at the 5th Aviation Regiment, CFN Fraser has consistently demonstrated the capacity to accept extra responsibility. He regularly exceed standards with the quality of his work, applying keen attention to detail. He always completes his duties to a high standard and can be trusted to work independently. He consistently strives to improve himself and this has a positive impact on both his peers and the general work environment. CFN Fraser’s initiative, integrity and dedication are in the finest traditions of the Army.
© THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY AVIATION ASSOCIATION