The Air Force Proficiency and Leadership Awards were held at RAAF Base Point Cook, the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force, on March 29.

No. 460 Squadron’s Corporal Laura Pearson was named Enlisted Aviator of the Year for her work in space intelligence.

Instructor of the Year went to Flight Lieutenant Miklos Szollosi who said he loved bringing his experiences and creative licence to best help trainees.

“Each day, I look forward to engaging with the trainees, sharing my experiences, and getting them excited about the Air Force,” Flight Lieutenant Szollosi said.

The SQNLDR WT Riggs Trophy for best official Air Force photograph went to imagery specialist Corporal Brenton Kwaterski from No. 464 Squadron.

Corporal Kwaterski said that he’d never entered the competition and someone submitted on his behalf.

“My commanding officer rang me two weeks ago and said you've won the Riggs. I said, ‘I couldn't have, I didn't enter.’ I almost fell off my chair,” Corporal Kwaterski said.

Former Air Force chiefs Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston (retd), Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin (retd), Air Marshal Geoff Brown (retd), Air Marshal Leslie Fisher (retd) and Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd (retd) were present for the awards.

Full list of award recipients: 

  • Warrant Officer of the Air Force Instructor of the Year - Corporal Stephanie McCanna, Defence School of Intelligence
  • Her Majesty The Queen’s Gold Medal - Pilot Officer Nicola Mitchell, Officer Training School
  • Air Force Association Trophy - Headquarters Air Mobility Group
  • Duke of Gloucester Cup - Number 36 Squadron
  • Hawker Siddeley Trophy - Number 19 Squadron
  • Markowski Cup - Aeronautical Information Services – Air Force
  • RAAF Maintenance Trophy - Number 35 Squadron
  • Stonehaven Trophy - Surveillance and Control Training Unit