Star performer recognised in the Middle East
2 February 2016
OPERATION OKRA (CJTF-OIR): ONE of Air Force's most experienced logistics officers and a Raymond Terrace local has been awarded a Federation Star.
Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Jan de Haan, deployed to Operation OKRA at Headquarters Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), was presented his award for 40 years service from Vice Admiral David Johnston Australia's Chief of Joint Operations, during a visit to the Middle East on 11 December.
Operation INHERENT RESOLVE is a coalition of more than 60 nations aiding the collective fight to militarily defeat Da'esh in Iraq and Syria.
More than 30 Australian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are embedded within CJTF-OIR and are responsible for the synchronisation of operations and the execution of the international military response.
FLTLT de Haan joined the Air Force at 17 and said he was extremely proud to receive his Federation Star while deployed to the Middle East.
"Not many Air Force personnel get the opportunity to celebrate a milestone like this overseas," he said.
"This will likely be my final deployment before retirement, so it is very pleasing to receive this award while performing a logistician role on such an important operation."
The award marks the culmination of FLTLT de Haan's career; he has travelled as far afield as Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and the Netherlands.
FLTLT de Haan said joining the Air Force was one of the best decisions in his life, however he was not initially committed to a long-term career.
"I joined the Air Force in 1975 as a Supplier intending to only complete six years of service," he said.
"Two years later I met Debbie.
"Her father was an Air Force Warrant Officer who made clear his expectations of me if I wanted to continue dating his daughter.
"Needless to say, 36 years later I am still in the Air Force and still happily married to Debbie."
FLTLT de Haan has served in almost every logistician role the Air Force can offer.
He initially specialised in instructional duties, explosives handling, driver training and air movements before he too became a Warrant Officer.
FLTLT de Haan commissioned as a logistics officer in 2008 and said the move from senior airman to officer was both challenging and rewarding.
"My first posting as a logistics officer was to the Air Movements and Transport Policy Cell at Headquarters Air Command," he said.
"The position gave me an opportunity to help implement significant changes within the Air Movements space and proved to be very rewarding for my first posting as an officer."
FLTLT de Haan's career highlights included a posting to 1 Air Terminal Squadron in Darwin where he and his team provided support for Operation Bali Assist after the 2002 Bali bombings, supporting Australian Defence Force operations in Timor Leste and Afghanistan, and support to domestic flood relief operations.
Reflecting on his career, FLTLT de Haan said it was encouraging to see so many positive changes to Air Force.
"Over the last 40 years I have seen Air Force improve and evolve into a very inclusive and progressive workplace," he said.
"It has been a really fulfilling career working as a part of this great Air Force team.
"If I could serve another 40 years, I would."