Country boy recognised in honours
Having grown up on a farm in Marrar and Brucedale near Wagga Wagga, Flight Sergeant Stewart Hassall never imagined he would be named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Flight Sergeant Hassall joined the Air Force when he was 22 as an avionics technician.
While working as the senior non-commissioned officer in charge of the avionics section and line production manager at No. 11 Squadron – based at Edinburgh – Flight Sergeant Hassall developed the unit to better support the P-8A aircraft, while providing a safe and enjoyable workplace.
“I was determined and excited to create positive change for No. 11 Squadron,” Flight Sergeant Hassall said.
“There were many identified challenges; the hangar and flight line facilities were inadequate, there was a shortage of aircraft spares, we had fleet and workforce deficiencies, and all while we continued to support concurrent domestic and international exercises and operations.
“These issues placed significant stress on the workforce and affected morale and productivity.
“By working with many innovative and driven squadron members, I was able to address critical deficiencies in the conduct of hazardous tasks, emergency procedures, aircraft configuration and task responsibilities.”
Flight Sergeant Hassall’s efforts in creating positive change to the squadron were recognised with a Conspicuous Service Cross “for his outstanding achievement in P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft maintenance and in the development of technical personnel at Number 11 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force”.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this award but I’d like to acknowledge that it was a team effort,” Flight Sergeant Hassall said.
“I was privileged to work with a great bunch of technicians and engineers at No. 11 Squadron and together we accomplished so much with the introduction of the P-8A Poseidon and the development of new maintenance practices in a complex and challenging environment.”
Senior Engineering Officer at No. 11 Squadron during this time, Squadron Leader Justin Hill said it was a privilege working with Flight Sergeant Hassall who proved himself as an outstanding leader with a bright future in the Air Force.
“He dedicated himself to improving the unit for the benefit of his personnel and creating significant positive cultural change,” Squadron Leader Hill said.
“His exceptional technical capability also led to the resolution of several critical degraders impacting the P-8A Poseidon fleet.”
Flight Sergeant Hassall is now closer to home at a new posting to Air Force’s School of Technical Training in Wagga Wagga. He is facilitating and developing Defence Force culture, values, attitudes, skills and knowledge to support professional development, military inculcation and transition into the Australian Defence Force aviation technical environment.