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RNZAF Airman of the Year Inspires Young People

The Airman of the Year is awarded annually to the serviceperson who makes a significant and positive contribution to the RNZAF, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the community.

Corporal Angelo was chosen for his commitment to the NZDF and the community, encouraging young people to think about studying technical subjects that could lead them to careers with the RNZAF.

Being chosen for the award was a surprise that hadn’t fully set in yet, he said. 

“I’ve never been one to ask for any recognition but I truly appreciate the nomination and couldn’t have gotten here without the support of my superiors in everything I do.”

In his primary role as an aircraft technician Corporal Angelo has thrived on additional responsibility and shown a strong work ethic and commitment to produce high-quality results for the RNZAF.  

He has also been at the inception of the RNZAF’s programmes Operation Tangata Kanorau and School to Skies, designed to encourage young people to look at careers that encompass science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

“It’s important to target younger children because otherwise we end up getting kids finishing high school who want to look at a career in engineering, science or aviation and they don’t have the correct subjects, which can hamstring their careers,” he said. 

The idea behind School to Skies was to give young women the confidence to consider science, engineering, or aviation career options.

“We’re trying to encourage females to know they can do the job. At the same time we are trying to build on our talent pool for recruiting,” Corporal Angelo said.

“People from different backgrounds, with different upbringings, can have different ways of processing problems, which results in us coming up with better and more efficient solutions.”

Originally from South Africa, Corporal Angelo moved to Auckland’s North Shore with his family in 2000, where he lived until joining the RNZAF in 2009.

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark said Corporal Angelo was an excellent ambassador and outstanding role model who had personified the NZDF ethos and values to the highest standard.

“His work ethic and consistent commitment to go above and beyond is second to none. He sets a great standard as an airman,” Air Vice-Marshal Clark said.

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