New Air Force personnel graduate

Defence Minister Ron Mark welcomed new Royal New Zealand Air Force recruits and officers into the service in a combined Graduation Parade at Base Woodbourne in Blenheim today.

Thirty-four Recruit Course graduates joined 22 Initial Officer Training Course graduates on parade to celebrate successful completion of their courses and their new status, before they proceed to specialist training in their chosen fields.

Mr Mark told the graduates that they have joined the Air Force at a great time.

“Congratulations to every one of you. The RNZAF and the New Zealand Defence Force are renowned for selecting good people. They select smart, motivated, loyal New Zealanders who want to make a difference. That’s you,” he said.

“Having selected them they then set about giving them excellent training, experience and discipline as they mould them into a team of professionals who reflect the values and ethos of the RNZAF and the Defence Force.

“I also especially congratulate those who have received the various awards and trophies. You have demonstrated excellence. Don’t stop. The RNZAF is an organisation brimming with state-of-the-art technology requiring highly developed skills, where excellence is a core requirement.

“The Air Force celebrated its 80th birthday earlier this year as a very different organisation from what it was in1937. But there will be decisions in the next few years that will see it transform again, and you will be part of that.

“Finally, to parents, friends and family, I want to acknowledge the sacrifices you have had to make to support the success of your loved ones on parade today,” Mr Mark said.

“On behalf of the Government, the Air Force and the wider Defence Force, I thank you for allowing your sons, daughters, grandchildren, husbands, wives or partners to become part of its whanau.

“Clearly you can be very proud of them and the choice that they have made,” he said.