The Grand Master's Australian Medal

Awarded to an individual, a group or organisation involved in any branch of aviation in the Australian Region or to Australian nationals abroad, who or which has made a meritorious contribution to any aviation activity, either by displaying technical excellence or by the development of a procedure or operational technique of an outstanding nature.

2021 Awarded to:  Flight Lieutenant Laura Ashleigh Haws RAAF

HAWS Flt Lt Laura GM Aus MedalFlight Lieutenant Haws is an Engineering Staff Officer within Headquarters Air Combat Group, currently supporting F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler maintenance, logistics and engineering for Number 82 Wing at RAAF Base Amberley.

Currently, her primary role is to oversee the Fleet Management of the inventory of 35 Super Hornet and Growler aircraft. She is responsible for overseeing the scheduling of maintenance and modification for the fleet of aircraft, engines and associated components, including the planning of activities, allocation of resources, and liaison with operators (aircrew) and contractors to ensure availability of aircraft is maximised. The maintenance schedule for the aircraft is a complicated mix of both calendar- and usage-based, and is highly dynamic based on changing demands for usage, additional modifications and changes, and a substantial range of unscheduled work that leads to a constantly changing program of work.

As an engineering staff officer in 2020, Flight Lieutenant Haws was involved in a large range of engineering tasks and projects aimed at supporting the operating squadrons, through maximising their ability to generate operating aircraft. These tasks and projects required the exercising of leadership, direction, planning, problem solving and close liaison with a range of stakeholders. They are non-trivial tasks relating to system improvement, or correcting deficiencies, in order to support the more effective delivery of air combat capability in support of the RAAF and Australian Government objectives.

In 2020, Flight Lieutenant Haws was responsible for the delivery of a number of significantly different but equally impressive tasks that had substantial, tangible outcomes for the ability of the operating squadrons of Number 82 Wing, that generated capability and delivered air power effects.

The first of these tasks was the development and implementation of a Wing Deployment Planning tool, which filled a void in exercise and deployment planning that had existed for many years. This tool, developed on her own initiative and in much of her own time has dramatically streamlined the preparation process for the supporting of flying exercises and deployments.

The second was the establishment of a centralised tool store entity within the Wing, allowing for the more efficient and effective central management of the finite support and test equipment and tooling assets held by the wing, making better use of the resources held and provision of support for maintenance and engineering

The third was the coordination of a detailed and thorough risk assessment into aircrew use of an integral boarding ladder on the Wing’s aircraft, which had been unused to the point of itself posing a hazard through unfamiliarity on the part of the crews. Her approach showed great understanding of risk and risk management, of legislative requirements, and of novel approaches to problem solving.

Flight Lieutenant Haws is a promising, capable young officer.  Throughout 2020, numerous members of the Super Hornet and Growler community - aircrew, maintenance and contractor – praised her exceptional engineering and leadership skills. Consistently, praise of Flight Lieutenant Haws has focussed on her exceptional competence in role and her ability to interact with others. Colleagues cite her emotional intelligence and her ability to engage with others in a manner that achieves results through collaboration, cooperation and mutual respect. Flight Lieutenant Haws consistently engages the right people from the right organisations, reaching out beyond engineering into logistics and operational workforces to ensure all stakeholder needs are considered.

Flight Lieutenant Haws engenders the respect of subordinates through her personal demonstration of genuine concern for their well-being. She communicates confidently, openly and warmly and in doing so generates great rapport with her colleagues, leading to better outcomes developed in a harmonious and cohesive work environment. Her deep and considered thinking about problems and her outstanding support to aviation outcomes is commendable and is awarded the Grand Master’s Australian Medal.

Previous Winners:

1981/82  CSIRO Interscan Team - H C Minnett Esq, Dr D N Cooper, Dr J P Wild

1983  not awarded

1983/84  Brian Hamilton Heeps Esq

1985  not awarded

1985/86  Dr Henry Millicer

1986/87  Ingo Renner Esq

1987/88  Wg Cdr Bernard I Fernandes

1989 - 1990  not awarded

1990/91  Don M Kendell Esq

1991/92  Laurence C Gruzman Esq

1993  not awarded

1993/94 Sqn Ldr Kevin W Rushworth

1994/95  Captain Ernest A Girault

1995/96  Gary Lawson-Smith Esq

1996/97  Australian Mission Aviation Fellowship

1997/98  The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Inc.

1999  not awarded

1999/2000  John G Roncz & Graham Swannell

2000/01  Captain Trevor Jensen

2001/02  Bob Peake

2002/03  Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

2004 - 2006  not awarded

2006/07  C-17 Transition Team & 36 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force

2007/08  Number 92 Wing, Royal Australian Air Force

2008/09  The School of Air Warfare, Royal Australian Air Force

2009/10  816 Sqn Royal Australian Navy

2010/11  Air Mobility Control Centre RAAF

2012  not awarded

2012/13  Emergency Management Queensland - Helicopter Rescue

2013/14  Royal Australian Air Force Ageing Aircraft Systems Audit Team

2014/15  Flight Training Adelaide

2016  Temora Aviation Museum

2017  Royal Australian Air Force Aerobatic Team - The Roulettes

2018  James Eric Thurstan

2019  RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit

2020  Captain Susan Mchaffie

2021  Flt Lt Laura Ashleigh Haws RAAF