The Royal Australian Air Force has a new commander to lead its Surveillance and Response Group, with command passing from Air Commodore Nick Osborne to Air Commodore Nathan Christie during a ceremony in the No. 2 Squadron precinct of RAAF Base Williamtown on January 31.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Air Force officer Air Commodore Nick Osborne, outgoing Commander of Surveillance & Response Group, returns the salute during the transfer of command ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, NSW. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Burnet. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.
Recently returned from deployment in the Middle East where he served as Director of Combined Air Operations Centre, Air Commodore Christie said he is looking forward to being part of a world-class force element group.
“Surveillance and Response Group is a highly regarded team that has proven it can deliver capability to the combined and joint force,” Air Commodore Christie said.
“The next few years will be challenging as we manage ageing equipment and introduce new systems and capabilities, yet I know as a team we are up to the challenge.”
Air Commodore Christie said he valued each Surveillance and Response Group team member and was keen to continue efforts to work smarter, and be more efficient and effective in the delivery of world-class air power.
“I’d like to thank Air Commodore Osborne for his contribution to Surveillance and Response Group,” he said.
“His calm, focused leadership has been instrumental in Surveillance and Response Group’s successes during his tenure and I wish him all the best in his new role as Director General Preparedness at Headquarters Air Command.”
During his outgoing speech, Air Commodore Osborne said the incoming commander would give new zeal to the group and thanked Surveillance and Response Group personnel for their operational focus during his tenure, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
“Throughout the pandemic, Surveillance and Response Group has continued to conduct operations in support of Australia’s national interest and we have done this through teamwork, resilience and excellent leadership from all aviators, regardless of rank or mustering,” Air Commodore Osborne said.
“Whether we lead by formal instrument of command or by actively demonstrating the values and behaviours of the ADF, our leadership has enabled Surveillance and Response Group to maintain effectiveness as Four Wings, One Team.”
These values, and an unwavering support for his homeland rugby team, the New Zealand All Blacks, will remain a legacy of Air Commodore Osborne’s time at Surveillance and Response Group, who served 20 years as a Royal New Zealand Air Force pilot before crossing the ditch in 2002 to join the RAAF.
The Surveillance and Response Group Force Element Group was formed on March 30, 2004, and consists of four wings. The headquarters is at RAAF Base Williamtown along with No. 41 and 42 Wing. No. 44 and 92 Wing are at RAAF Base Edinburgh.