Brave pilot earns top medal
SINCE graduating from Kepnock State High School in 1991, Major Hayden Archibald has devoted his life to serving Australia and its interests.
His 18 years of dedication were rewarded at the inaugural Pride of Australia medal ceremony on Monday night, claiming the national Serving Australia prize.
“It was pretty humbling to be in that scene with the other winners,” Major Archibald, now living in Victoria, said.
The award is given to an Australian in the defence forces who showed extraordinary courage and devotion to duty under extreme circumstances.
Major Archibald first won the Victorian medal, before his latest honour on Monday night.
The helicopter pilot was sent to Afghanistan for a 12-month deployment, leaving behind his wife and one-year-old daughter.
Flying in armed reconnaissance and security missions, his co-pilot was shot and killed.
“There are high and lows with the job, but it’s a privilege and I really enjoy and am proud of what I do,” he said.
Major Archibald, whose parents John and Elaine still live in Bargara, will soon take over as officer in command of a squadron of Australian military helicopters.