Proud mum celebrating
BELLINGEN mum Kaye Barr will be celebrating for some time yet the achievements of her son, Michael, who has been named the Australian RAAF Airman of the Year.
"I'm just so proud of him," Kaye said yesterday.
"The recipient of the Airman of the Year award is selected from all members of the air force of the rank of corporal and below ? approx 6000 members ? and it's judged on their contribution to the RAAF and the greater community."
Leading Air Craftsman Michael Barr was deployed to Iraq in August, 2003, where he served with the Air Traffic Detachment at Baghdad International Airport until January last year.
On his return, he received a commendation for his outstanding contribution to his unit in Baghdad.
"He was so proud to serve in Iraq. He told me we only see the bad stuff about the war on our televisions, but he was so proud to have been out there and to have served his country," Kaye said.
"He said the people of Baghdad were so appreciative of Australian forces being there and that the majority were grateful to be rid of Saddam Hussein."
Michael, now 28, was born in Bellingen where he completed his schooling.
"He worked at the local hardware store for six years then decided it was time for a change, so he got a bus licence and drove buses at the Sydney 2000 Olympics," Kaye said.
"When he came back home he went to work for King Bros, driving a local school bus run for two years until he left to join the air force. He was also very involved with Coffs Harbour Air Cadets for 12 years."
After completing basic training in Adelaide and his mustering as a supply clerk at Wagga, he was posted to RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney where he is now with the 37 Squadron operating C130J Hercules aircraft. He continues his strong involvement with Air Cadets as the chief instructor at 323 Squadron at RAAF Glenbrook.