For the second year in a row, Air Force has taken part in Army’s Forces Command Soldier of the Year activity.

Held annually, Soldier of the Year aims to recognise the best-performing privates and lance corporals from across Forces Command.

The activity provides participants with leadership development opportunities, and is Army’s way of acknowledging outstanding performance in all areas of corps, trade and Good Soldiering.

This year’s activity was held at various locations in Canberra from November 2 to 6.

Representing Air Force in a sea of Army green camouflage was armament technician Leading Aircraftman Zachary Anderson of No. 65 Air Base Recovery Squadron.

Born and raised in Penrith, Leading Aircraftman Anderson was selected for Soldier of the Year because of his strong initiative, work ethic and commitment to professional development.

“I was selected for my work in developing and implementing, as an ADF fitness leader, a section-level strength and conditioning program, which enabled members of the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team to be physically prepared for the often arduous tasks associated with EOD,” Leading Aircraftman Anderson said.

“I was also selected for my efforts in providing EOD support to the recovery of a crashed World War II aircraft discovered in West Papua, and for being one of the first Air Force members to successfully complete the new ADF Module 2 EOD Course for EOD technicians, which is usually reserved for senior non-commissioned officers.”

Air Force’s participation in the Soldier of the Year reflects an ongoing strategic evolution towards building relationships across Defence.

Conducting the activity in a triservice environment allowed me to build a broad appreciation for each member’s role within the ADF.

“Soldier of the Year helped me grasp the bigger picture that is the Australian Defence Organisation, and empowered me to enact positive change in my workplace so that it’s tactically aligned with the objectives of the Defence Strategic Update”, Leading Aircraftman Anderson said.

“Conducting the activity in a triservice environment allowed me to build a broad appreciation for each member’s role within the ADF, and how everyone is working together towards a shared set of goals and in the national interest.”

Headquarters Air Command Warrant Officer Ken Robertson said he was grateful for the opportunity afforded by Army for Air Force to be represented in Soldier of the Year, and emphasised the strategic benefits of Air Force’s continued involvement in such programs.

“I would like to express my thanks to Command Sergeant Major Forces Command Warrant Officer Class 1 Kim Felmingham for extending the offer to Air Force for a position in this year’s Soldier of the Year activity”, Warrant Officer Robertson said.

“It was a privilege to be able to put forward Leading Aircraftman Anderson as Air Force’s sole nomination, and in true Air Force style, he acquitted himself admirably.

“Air Force’s ongoing participation in Soldier of the Year is a small yet significant step forward in our organisation’s journey towards deeper operational and tactical relationships, and stronger partner engagement in today’s multi-agency environment.”