A slice of heaven

MACKSVILLE’S Sarah Welsh has proved that hard work and dedication pays offwhen she became the firstcadet in the state to be awarded the inaugural NSW Governor’s Sword of Honour for Excellence.

A CUT ABOVE THE REST: CUO Sarah Welsh of Macksville (centre) with NSW Governor David Hurley and other Regional finalists

Governor David Hurley hosted a Vice-Regal reception at Government House in Sydney to mark the 75th anniversary of the Australian Air Force Cadets and present the inaugural Governor’s Sword of Honour for Excellence for the most outstanding Cadet.

Cadet Under Officer (CUO) Sarah Welsh competed against cadets from other Squadrons in NSW and the ACT to represent the Northern Region. The next stage of the process took her to Government House for an interview with Officer Commanding 3WG, Wing Commander Paul Hughes, Air Force Liaison Officer, Wing Commander Michael Wallace and Colonel Miller, RFD, Official Secretary to the Governor of NSW.

Sarah said she was thrilled and proud to have been chosen as the first recipient of the Sword of Honour.​

“I never really expected anything like this,” she said.

“Itwasn’t an award when I first joined …and to be from a regional squadron and to receive an award from the Governor is a real honour.

“And I feel that because I come from a regional squad, this is not just something that I’ve achieved, it’s something all the regional squadrons can be proud of.”

Sarahwas nominated by 331SQN Commanding Officer, FLTLT (AAFC) Deborah Hoiles.

“CUO Welsh has been an outstanding Cadet since joining the Squadron five years ago,” Deborahsaid.

“Not only has she achieved excellent results and performed her duties with distinction throughout her cadet training, she has also been an exemplary role model for all 331 Squadron Cadets and demonstrates exceptional leadership skills.”

Now, Sarahhas her eyes firmly set on a career in defence, specificallythe air force.

“This is my stepping stone towards my dream career,” she said.

“I have a passion for aviation, and being in the cadets has reinforced that passion and taught me so much about it and all the possibilities.

“Staying on an RAAF base for weeks at a time and meeting people within theprofession is just inspiring …and because of the travel, I have friendswherever I go.

“It will be a long process –four years down at Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, followed by several lots of training at different RAAF bases before I can be posted anywhere in Australia or overseas.”

Sarah said everyone had been extremely “supportive and proud of the award and my aspirations” …and herparents and grandparents have “been telling everyone”.

“It’s pretty special for them.”

There were alsomany posts on Facebook from her peers and friends expressing their congratulations.

‘Congratulations Sarah you are an outstanding young lady and a true inspiration to so many young men and women’.

Sarahalso had the privilege of being the Parade Commander at the 75th Anniversary 3 Wing Competition and Parade at RAAF Base Richmond where she carried the Governor’s Sword of Honour.

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