Honour fuels pride in aviator’s work

Receiving a birthday honour from newly crowned King Charles III is an award RAAF Squadron Leader Christopher Godfrey will treasure.

CAPTION: RAAF Squadron Leader Christopher Godfrey was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in the King’s Birthday Honours List. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Burnet. Photo by Warrant Officer Gillian Kennedy.

Squadron Leader Godfrey was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for “outstanding achievement in development of air-to-air refuelling capability for the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and response aircraft for the Australian Defence Force and close allies”.

Commended for applying superb professionalism, tactical excellence and conspicuous dedication to duty as an instructor and flight commander at No. 11 Squadron, the award recognised his leadership during the development of the refuelling capability.

RAAF Surveillance and Response Group’s Commanding Officer No. 11 Squadron, Wing Commander Adam Saber, said Squadron Leader Godfrey’s secondment to the United States Navy during the transition from AP-3C Orions to P-8A Poseidons enabled him, once back in Australia, to turn the latent AAR capability into an operational one.

“Although the P-8A was fitted with the equipment to perform AAR, the experience, technical mastery and training capacity required to actually implement the capability was far more complex,” Wing Commander Saber said.

“AAR enables long-range P-8A missions and is a significant contribution to the Poseidon enterprise.  Its importance to operational capability is something that will endure for the duration of the P-8A service life.”

The introduction of AAR capability during the COVID-19 lockdowns boosted aircrew morale as it removed the need for hotel isolation on some near-regional missions. It allows RAAF to be more responsive to dynamic tasking because aircraft don’t necessarily need to base and refuel within other countries.

Squadron Leader Godfrey said he was humbled by the recognition and proud  he was able to help improve the P-8A’s operational effectiveness.

“I had the good fortune of working with a motivated team of professional aircrew, maintenance and operations staff who were all focused on achieving the AAR outcome,” Squadron Leader Godfrey said.


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