Handing over the reins

Aviators from more than 50 Air Force trades marched onto the tarmac at RAAF Base Amberley late last month to farewell the outgoing Commander of Combat Support Group, Air Commodore David Paddison, after 36 years of service.

CAPTIONOutgoing Commander Air Commodore David Paddison, left, and incoming Commander Air Commodore Robert Graham during the Combat Support Group change-of-command ceremony at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Story by Flight Lieutenant Greg Hinks. Photos by Corporal Brett Sherriff.

The parade ground was flanked by Combat Support Group vehicles with aviators wearing the working uniform of their trade, as an EA-18G Growler and F-35A Lightning II flew overheard marking the ceremony’s commencement.

Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Glen Braz arrived in a 2 Security Forces Squadron protected mobility vehicle and watched on as Air Commodore Paddison gave his final address.

“Whilst it’s easy to think occasions such as today are about individuals, they aren’t,” Air Commodore Paddison said.

“The strength of an organisation is not defined by individuals; it’s represented by the strength of a team, their sense of purpose and why they take the playing field.

“Combat Support Group is the foundation for which we project air power globally; we’re always there ready to run towards those who need a helping hand.

“It’s the best, most interesting place to come to work. We’re always operating.”

Incoming Commander Air Commodore Robert ‘Dubbo’ Graham was thrilled to return and take command of Combat Support Group, paying tribute to his predecessor.

“This became very real for me about 30 seconds ago. It does feel like coming home,” Air Commodore Graham said.

“Paddo, you and your family are about to embark on the next stage of your career and I wish you every success.

“The passion and drive that you have always had for Combat Support Group has set the conditions for further success in the coming years.”

Air Commodore Graham then reiterated that the people were Combat Support Group’s greatest asset.

“The way forward over the next few years will be shaped by the people of Combat Support Group,” Air Commodore Graham said.

“I’ll be looking to you, the aviators, and your peers across the Force Element Group to help shape and inform how we do this.”

Air Commodore Graham took command of Combat Support Group on August 25.


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