Sharon Labudda, an Aircraft Ground Support Officer with Australia’s Antarctic programme, has been awarded this year’s Antarctic Medal.
The 2007 award to Ms Labudda was announced today by His Excellency, the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffrey, AC CVO MC (Retd).
The Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, John Cobb, said that Ms Labudda’s exceptional contribution to air operations in Antarctica went above and beyond the call of duty.
“Ms Labudda was the first Aircraft Ground Support Officer employed by the Australian Antarctic Division with the introduction, during the 2003/04 season, of fixed-wing aircraft operations within Antarctica,” Mr Cobb said.
“Since that time, she has helped develop and refine the position and those of others who have followed in her footsteps to the highest degree of efficiency and safety.”
Mr Cobb said that Air Ground Support Officers worked very closely with all fixed-wing and helicopter flight crews, ensuring the smooth operation of air services between Australia’s Antarctic stations and field locations.
“Ms Labudda is a truly quiet achiever, doggedly searching for new and better ways to improve the intra-continental support for our science and operations programme.”
Mr Cobb said that, overwhelmingly, Ms Labudda’s colleagues described her as typifying both the professional capability and personal qualities found in an outstanding Antarctic expeditioner.
The Australian Antarctic Medal, established in 1987, is an award in the Meritorious Service Awards category of the Australian Honours System. The Australian Antarctic Medal replaced the (British) Imperial Polar Medal and its variations which date back to 1857 for service in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.