Farewell and welcome in one ceremony


A transfer of command ceremony was held late last year to mark the end of tenure for Air Commodore Nathan Christie and to welcome incoming Commander Surveillance and Response Group (SRG) Air Commodore Louise DesJardins.

Headquarters SRG held the ceremony within the 2 Squadron precinct at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.

Air Commodore Christie will take up the role of Commander Integrated Air Defence Systems at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth in Malaysia, but departs Australia knowing he has left the Force Element Group (FEG) in good hands.

“This is the last time I will ever be in SRG and I leave knowing the leadership team in 2024 are focused, intelligent and determined to ensure the FEG’s capability and welfare,” Air Commodore Christie said.

“During 2023, for the first time in living memory, we significantly restructured Air Command by implementing Plan Mulleun. The year has been quite incredible, but we succeeded because of everyone’s dedication and professionalism.

“It has been an absolute honour to command this incredible FEG and I am truly proud to have been part of this wonderful team.”

Air Commodore DesJardins returns to Australia from her posting in Israel as Defence Attaché Tel Aviv.

She has a long history with SRG having worked in various roles for 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit, 3 Control and Reporting Unit, Surveillance and Control Training Unit, Headquarters 41 Wing and Headquarters SRG.

Following 12 months as Personal Staff Officer to Air Commander Australia, she was promoted to Group Captain in June 2019 on posting to Headquarters Joint Operations Command as Director Joint Effects and Targeting. She was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross for her achievements in this latter role on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Air Commodore DesJardins said she was looking forward to her new role as Commander SRG.

“Like many of you, I have grown up in this FEG and returning has felt like coming home, albeit to a remodelled and upgraded home,” Air Commodore DesJardins said.

“The leadership and guidance provided over the last two years by Air Commodore Christie has placed SRG in an excellent position to meet Government, CDF [Chief of the Defence Force] and CAF [Chief of Air Force] intent.

“The incredible work that has occurred to transition our capabilities, grow our workforce and establish world-leading tactics, techniques and procedures is outstanding and I look forward to continuing to work together to achieve our goals and further enhance our capability and reputation.”

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