Our Staff

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322 (City of Ryde) Squadron Staff as at December 2018

Back Row L-R: CUO Zachary Comfort, Mr Sean Lewis, CWOFF Hayden Thompson, LAC(AAFC) Kieren Thompson, LAC(AAFC) Jacob Baskerville, LAC(AAFC) Michael Graziano, Mr Andrew McIntyre, CUO Max Cowan, LACW(AAFC) Amanda Easton, CUO Christie Norris, CWOFF Josephine Tran

Front Row L-R: CPL(AAFC) Jack Hampton, CPL(AAFC) Nigel Baker, FSGT(AAFC) Martin Mane, FLTLT(AAFC) Sharon Lim, SQNLDR(AAFC) Merridy Thompson, FLTLT(AAFC) Louis Parfait, CPL(AAFC) Matthew Awkar, SGT(AAFC) Taylor McKertich, LACW(AAFC) Jessica Mane

 

Squadron Leader (AAFC) Merridy Thompson - Commanding Officer

A graduate of the University of Western Sydney (B.H.S), Merridy commenced her AAFC service with No. 7 Flight “City of Bankstown” (now 307SQN AAFC) and reached the rank of Cadet Under Officer. She was appointed as an Aircraftwoman (AIRTC) at the end of her cadet service and as an instructor with 22 Flight West Ryde in a variety of roles. In 1990, Merridy was promoted to Pilot Officer (AIRTC) and assumed command of 22 Flight in 1995. Merridy has extensive Staff Officer experience at both Wing and National Headquarters level.  She was awarded the Australia Day Medallion in 2012.

Although graduating as a Registered Nursing Sister in 1989, Merridy has gone on to specialise in the area of Emergency Nursing and has a strong interest in teaching and learning, which led her to complete the Graduate Certificate in Education. She is currently a Nurse Educator in the South Western Sydney Local Health District and a Nursing Officer in the RAAF Specialist Reserve.            

In 2015, Merridy reached the milestone of 20 years as the Commanding Officer of 22 Flight (AIRTC) / 322 (City of Ryde) Squadron (AAFC). In 2017 she was appointed as Staff Officer Training in Headquarters 3 Wing.

 

Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Louis Parfait - Executive Officer

A graduate of Macquarie University (B.B.A, LL.B), Louis commenced his AAFC service with 322 Squadron in 2004. He completed the Cadet Under Officer Course in 2008, achieving first place, and remained at the Squadron until the end of his cadet service. Louis returned to 322 Squadron as a Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) in 2010 and was promoted to his current rank of Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) in 2018. In 2017, he received an Officer Commanding Commendation for his contribution to 3 Wing's 75th Anniversary events.

Louis has a strong passion for instructional technique, training and cadet development. He is currently employed in the Australian Public Service.

 

Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Sharon Lim - Squadron Supply Officer, Unit Safety Coordinator

A graduate of the University of Western Sydney (B.Bus (Info Sys)), Sharon commenced her cadet career in 1982 at No. 27 Flight Mascot. She achieved the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, and at the completion of her cadet service she was appointed as an Aircraftwoman (AIRTC).

After achieving Corporal (AIRTC), she became a Pilot Officer (AIRTC) in 1994. After 27 Flight merged with 24 Flight, Sharon became the Flight Commander of 24 Flight (later Commanding Officer of 324SQN AAFC), fulfilling this role for six years. She has experience in a wide variety of roles in Wing and National Headquarters Level.

Sharon was awarded the Australia Day Medallion in 2014. She is currently an analyst for Dynatrace. Sharon brings to the Squadron a flair for Instructional Technique, knowledge of computers and extensive AAFC experience. 

 

Flight Sergeant (AAFC) Martin Mane - Squadron Executive Instructor

Martin joined 322 (City of Ryde) Squadron in March 2002 and progressed through to the ranks to become a Cadet Under Officer in 2006. After terminating as a cadet when he reached the age of 20, he re-joined the organisation in 2008 as an instructor to give back and help develop the youth of Australia. Martin has held numerous positions within the Squadron from Cadet Squadron Warrant Officer, Cadet Training Operations Officer, Training Operations Officer, Webmaster, Personnel Officer, Administration Officer and Squadron Supply Officer. Martin has also held appointments as 3 Wing Cadet Reference Group Chairman and in the national public relations team.

Martin works as a Director at the Australian Taxation Office and is currently studying a Master of Business Administration. 

 

Sergeant (AAFC) Paula Keen - Instructor

Paula commenced her AAFC service with 336 Squadron Richmond in 2006, before transferring to 322 Squadron in 2007. At the end of 2007 she was awarded the 10 Squadron Encouragement Award to acknowledge her continuous efforts to achieve in the AAFC. In 2010 Paula achieved dux of her Cadet Warrant Officer Course and completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Her cadet service concluded in 2011.

Paula returned as an instructor in 2012 and was promoted to her current rank of Sergeant (AAFC) in 2017. Paula has a strong passsion for instructional technique, fieldcraft, training and cadet development.

 

Sergeant (AAFC) Taylor McKertich - Training Operations, Webmaster

Joining 322 Squadron as a cadet during the 1/04 Recruit Intake, Taylor stayed with the unit until 2009, terminating due to reaching his 20th birthday with the rank of Cadet Under Officer. During his cadet service, he was awarded Dux of Proficiency Stage in 2006, Most Improved Cadet in 2007 and the Top Gun Award in 2008. After completing Advanced Stage, he was appointed as Cadet Administration Officer, and later Cadet Personnel Officer. As a cadet, Taylor enjoyed many of the activities the Squadron had to offer, especially bivouacs, most notably as Cadet Bivouac Commander.

Taylor re-joined 322 Squadron in 2012, appointed at the rank of Leading Aircraftman (AAFC). Prior to being appointed to the role of Training Operations, he has served as the Squadron Supply Officer and Squadron Executive Instructor. He was promoted to his current rank of Sergeant (AAFC) in 2018. A graduate of the University of New South Wales (BSc) and the University of Sydney (GradCertE, MPE), Taylor currently works at Endress+Hauser Group as Industry Manager - Mining.

 

Corporal (AAFC) Jack Hampton - Instructor

Jack commenced his service with the AAFC at 318 Squadron Sutherland Shire in 2008 and went on to achieve the rank of Cadet Under Officer in 2013. During his time at 318 Squadron, Jack was awarded the Most ‘Airmanlike’ Cadet award in 2009 and the Best Cadet Instructor award in 2012. As a Cadet Under Officer, Jack was appointed as 318 Squadron's Chief Instructor and served in that role until reaching the compulsory termination age of 20 in late 2013.

Jack returned to the AAFC in 2014 being appointed to 322 Squadron as a Leading Aircraftman (AAFC), acting in the role of Squadron Executive Instructor and Firearm Quality Manager. He was promoted to Corporal (AAFC) in 2016.

Jack is a graduate of the University of Wollongong (BCom) and works for the Hon. Scott Morrison MP - Prime Minister of Australia and Federal Member for Cook.

 

Corporal (AAFC) Nigel Baker - Administration Officer

Nigel enrolled as a cadet at 322 Squadron in 2007 and went on to achieve third place in the Cadet Warrant Officer Course in 2012. He remained at the Squadron until the compulsory termination age of 20 in 2013. In 2014, Nigel returned as a civilian instructor. He was appointed as a Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) in 2015 and promoted to Corporal (AAFC) in 2017. He has previously been the Duke of Edinburgh Award Co-ordinator and Personnel Officer.

Nigel graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2016, achieving First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Civil Engineering. He is currently a Geotechnical Engineer at AECOM.

 

Corporal (AAFC) Matthew Awkar - Development Operations

Matthew commenced his AAFC training with 322 Squadron in 2009. He received the Leadership Award on his Cadet Warrant Officer’s promotion course in 2014 due to his proactive and driven qualities that have led him to develop a passion for leadership, drill, and aviation.

In 2016, Matthew returned as a Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) and is currently the Squadron Executive Instructor. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal (AAFC) in 2018.

Matthew is currently studying at Macquarie University completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Interactivity and Games.

 

Leading Aircraftwoman (AAFC) Jessica Mane - Assistant Home Training Officer

Jessica joined the AAFC in 2014 as a civilian staff member. She initially worked in the Public Relations cell before moving to the Personnel cell in 2015, assisting with the large number of cadets interested in joining the Squadron. In December 2015, Jessica was appointed as an Aircraftwoman (AAFC), and was promoted to Leading Aircraftwoman (AAFC) in 2017.

Outside of the AAFC, Jessica has completed a Bachelor of Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design.

 

Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) Jacob Baskerville - Personnel Officer

Jacob commenced with 322 Squadron on the 2/08 Recruit Course serving as a career Leading Cadet for seven years. Whilst in the AAFC, his favourite activity was bivouacs, whilst his favourite home training subjects were fieldcraft and SLR drill. In 2015 he retired as a cadet when he reached the age of 20. Jacob commenced serving as a Civilian Instructor in 2015, and was appointed as Assistant Squadron Supply Officer later the same year. In 2016, he was appointed as an Aircraftman (AAFC), and was promoted to Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) in 2017.

Outside of his commitments to the AAFC, Jacob is currently working at Bunnings.

 

Leading Aircraftwoman (AAFC) Stephanie Ehret - DEA Coordinator

Stephanie enrolled as a cadet at 322 Squadron in September of 2009. Stephanie quickly became involved in the 3WG flying courses, becoming a passionate glider and more recently powered pilot. In 2015 Stephanie became the third cadet in 3WG history to become a Flight Instructor (gliding) followed by the second cadet to become a powered Aerotow Pilot – the first female cadet to achieve either qualification. Stephanie took on a secondary posting to 300 Aviation Squadron in 2015 and successfully upgraded her Flight Instructor’s rating in 2016. Stephanie has attended numerous flying courses, National Aviation Competitions and Pilot Experience Weekends in the capacity of both a flying member and in course administration positions.

Stephanie completed the Cadet Under Officer Course in 2016 and has a passion for teaching especially in the area of aviation, and mentoring cadets in Instructional Technique. In addition to her flying commitments, she is appointed as Duke of Edinburgh International Award Coordinator at 322 Squadron.

In 2012, Stephanie received the FLTLT M Thompson Flight Commander's Award for impressive service, dedication and loyalty to the Squadron and the Cadet Instructor of the Year Award. She won the RSL Cadet of the Year Award in 2015 and was the Sydney Metro Region finalist for the NSW Governor’s Sword of Honour for Excellence in 2016. After seven years of service, Stephanie reached the compulsory termination age of 20 in September 2016. Outside of the AAFC, she has completed a Bachelor of Science – Psychology at Macquarie University and is involved in her local sporting community.

 

Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) Michael Graziano - Home Training Officer

Michael joined the AAFC in 2010 and moved to 322 Squadron in 2015 from 305 Squadron. Throughout his time as a cadet, Michael has achieved some outstanding awards, but the most memorable is that of the Officer Commanding Commendation acquired for his excellent performance on the CUO promotion course and his work as part of the Cadet Representative Group (GRG) chair. After completing his cadet service, he returned to 322 Squadron as a civilian instructor in 2016 and then a Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) in 2017.

Outside of cadets, Michael is completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University.  He works as a paralegal at 3M.

 

Leading Aircraftwoman (AAFC) Amanda Easton - Assistant Personnel Officer

 

Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) Kieren Thompson - Assistant Training Operations Officer

Kieren commenced his AAFC service in 2012. His experience was filled with learning his passion in teaching fieldcraft and survival as well as rising up the ranks within his time at 322 Squadron. His passion in fieldcraft also led to his dedication to abseiling, attending several camps and quickly moving onto more difficult courses and equipment. Kieren was recognised as Cadet Instructor of the Year in 2015 and Most Outstanding Cadet in 2017. He was the recipient of a Premier's Volunteer Recognition Program certificate as part of his involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Kieren's cadet service concluded upon reaching the compulsory termination age of 20, and he returned as an instructor at the rank of Leading Aircraftman (AAFC) in 2018.

Outside of the AAFC, Kieren is currently studying at Torrens University Australia.

 

Mr Andrew McIntrye - Assistant Administration Officer

Andrew joined 322 Squadron in 2004 achieving the rank of Cadet Sergeant. He served as a cadet for six years, terminating when he reached the compulsory termination age of 20 in 2009. He returned as a civilian staff member in 2010 and is appointed as the Assistant Administration Officer.

Andrew was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) First Class Honours and Bachelor of Commerce in International Business from the University of New South Wales in 2013.  Since then, he has been working as a Geotechnical Engineer with West Ryde based Douglas Partners. He is a keen photographer in his spare time.

 

Mr Sean Lewis - Public Relations Officer 

Sean enrolled as a cadet at 322 Squadron in 2007 achieving the rank of Cadet Sergeant. He remained a cadet until the compulsory termination age of 20 in 2012.

Sean returned as a Civilian Instructor in 2013 specialising in teaching Aircraft Engines and Motor Car Awareness elective while also working in Public Relations and Special Projects. He has completed a Bachelor of Aviation (Management) at the University of New South Wales and currently works in the airline industry.

 

Mrs Lee Norris - Civilian Instructor