CPL Ben White is the Australian Army Aviation Association Soldier of the Year for 2008 for his exemplary leadership, commitment and technical proficiency as a FARP Team Leader for 171st Aviation Squadron, 6th Aviation Regiment and the Timor Leste Aviation Group, Operation ASTUTE.
CPL White displayed great courage and determination as a soldier and demonstrated significant leadership under adversity as a team leader. He has consistently demonstrated a thorough understanding of his trade, shown professionalism under trying conditions, and proven his value to the aviation capability in all aspects of his work. During his deployment on Operation ASTUTE in November 2007, he undertook an extensive review and audit of the state of the FARP equipment, procedures and processes, and discovered that critical requirements for the quality and safety of aviation fuel were not being satisfied. When faced with this situation he demonstrated moral courage and insisted that aircraft refuelling could not take place until the situation was rectified. CPL White then worked assiduously to rectify the technical, procedural and regulatory issues that affected the capability. In so doing, he demonstrated outstanding trade skills as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the external agencies and regulations that govern the provision of aircraft refuelling.
During his posting, CPL White also demonstrated a high level of dedication and leadership in support of Black Hawk operations in the 6th Aviation Regiment. This is made all the more significant given the increasing issues with availability of fuel assets within the unit. Despite the number of serviceable fuel vehicles reaching critically low levels, his inspiration leadership has helped to ensure that motivation and compliance with standards has not been compromised.
By demonstrating leadership, commitment and technical proficiency at levels well above worn rank CPL White achieved exemplary results. His service has been in the finest traditions of the 6th Aviation Regiment and the Army Aviation capability.