A prestigious Air Force NAIDOC Week award has become a family affair, with the wife of last year’s winner receiving the 2020 award.

The Maliyan Medallion is awarded to members who demonstrate excellence in their commitment to advancing the Air Force Indigenous Strategy. 

The medallion depicts maliyan, which is the Wiradjuri word for wedge-tailed eagle, moving through place and time with knowledge, wisdom and authority. 

Officer Training School (OTS) directing staff member Squadron Leader Mark Rankin was awarded the medallion last year.

During this year’s NAIDOC Week, his wife and fellow OTS directing staff member, Flight Lieutenant Eva Rankin, received the award.

Both are committed to promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and achievements to student officers during their initial training.

Flight Lieutenant Rankin said she was delighted to receive the 2020 Maliyan Medallion. 

“I’m very honoured and humbled, but I don’t feel like I deserve an award for doing something I am passionate about personally and professionally,” she said. 

“As an initial entry point for all officer training, OTS has been at the forefront of developing an inclusive and enduring culture, and I am so lucky to be a part of it.”

I’m very honoured and humbled, but I don’t feel like I deserve an award for doing something I am passionate about personally and professionally

Squadron Leader Rankin praised his wife.

“I am incredibly proud of her achievements,” he said.

“I know that Evie doesn’t seek recognition for any of her work, but she is humbled that she is contributing to making a difference.

“OTS trainees need to understand the journey not only of Air Force, but of Indigenous Australians who have contributed and sacrificed so much to the peace and security of our nation.”

Commanding Officer OTS Wing Commander Daniel Cassilles said he was proud of the achievements of the husband-and-wife team from his command.

“The exceptional dedication of these two members has enhanced cultural diversity and inclusivity at OTS, defining the capability intent of Air Force’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy, Our Place, Our Skies,” Wing Commander Cassilles said.

“They’ve also provided valuable support to both students and staff, ensuring increased understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at all levels.” 

The Air Force NAIDOC award was introduced in 2014 by the previous Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies.

Changes to the award criteria have enabled recognition to be given to both individuals and units.

A call for nominations is made in May each year, with CAF announcing the successful nominations as part of Air Force NAIDOC Week activities.