Officer 'gobsmacked' by honors
January 10, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 10, 2013) -- Before Fort Rucker said goodbye to 2012, it recognized an exceptional officer in its ranks at an informal get together at Mother Rucker's Dec 19.
Australian Army Lt. Col. Stephen Jobson, CSC, Fort Rucker Australian Army Aviation Liaison officer, was awarded the Australian Conspicuous Service Cross Dec. 11 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where he was awarded the cross by the Australian Ambassador to the United States Honorable Kim Beazley on behalf of the governor general.
Jobson said that he felt honored about the recognition he received at both Fort Rucker and D.C., but that the award took him by complete surprise.
"I had no idea I was even being considered for the award. I just received an email one day telling me that I was being awarded it. I couldn't believe it. We have a word in Australia, gobsmacked, and that's how I felt," he said.
Jobson was awarded the cross for his outstanding achievement as the commanding officer of the 6th Aviation Regiment in Australia, according to Bill Foley, liaison contact officer.
"Jobson's command was marked by outstanding achievement in a variety of environments. He commands in a thorough, considered and thoughtful manner. He has commanded a wide range of disparate elements in varied environments, achieving outcomes beyond expectations of senior leadership," said Foley.
The Australian Conspicuous Service Cross is awarded for outstanding devotion to duty or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in nonwarlike situations and environments. It is one of the highest medals that can be bestowed, according to the Australian governor general's office.
The surprise get together of close friends, Family and coworkers was orchestrated for Jobson to congratulate him on his accomplishment where Foley spoke of his "outstanding achievements."
By taking command of the special operations unit, the 6th Regiment, Jobson took a fine unit and made it even better, said Foley.
"In 2011, while in command of 6th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Jobson was tasked at short notice to raise a command and control element to coordinate Army Aviation response to the devastating floods in Queensland," he said, adding that Queensland is about five times the size of Texas.
"He quickly established a control center, coordinating the much needed response to the disaster. During this period he commanded Army Aviation's largest response to a natural disaster in Australia's history," he said.
Throughout 2011, Jobson commanded an Aviation battle group that also helped him earn the award.
"He brought together elements of the 1st, 5th and 6th Aviation Regiments in support of Exercise Hamel. As part of the battle group activity, he was required to prove a number of operational evaluation milestones in the delivery of the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance helicopter into operational service," said Foley.
Jobson displayed a keen mind to understand the system thoroughly and maximize its strengths, though he was unfamiliar with the aircraft, and in doing so he achieved more than 300 hours in the Tiger in less than two months, according to Foley.
The award made Jobson feel reflective on the achievements of the Soldiers in his old unit.
"I was so proud after it soaked in for a few minutes, because the words in the citation basically said that I enhanced the reputation of the 6th Aviation Regiment. It's great because even though I [have left], the Soldiers there who stayed on are in a unit that is a little more widely respected and acknowledged for what they achieved," he said.
The award was extra special, according to Jobson, because it was awarded while stationed in the United States.
"There is such a deep level of admiration for the U.S. Army. Our U.S. Army hosts have been incredible, so to receive it in this environment, in this atmosphere of the Army Family, is really special to me," he said.
The award is one that comes with post-nominal letters according to Tania Jobson, Stephen's wife who is graciously known as general officer home command.
"Every time he signs things now he has to write CSC after his name, for recognition of his achievement," she said.
Though Stephen was honored to receive the award, he said the post-nominal letters made him feel a little aged.
"When you're young and see Soldiers with the post-nominal letters, they seem so old, so now I am like 'Great. I am one of them,'" he said.
While thanking his friends and Family during the festivities, Stephen knew just who to thank, his wife.
"Thank you for all that you do with me not being home for the kids. I couldn't have done this without you. You do an exceptional job, you're amazing," he said.
As a spouse, Tania said she sees all the work that he does behind the scenes and that his hard work demonstrates how much he truly deserved the award.
"The Army and the other Soldiers see how hard he works, at work, but they don't see what he brings home with him and how hard he works. I feel he would be sadly missed in the Australian Army and it would cause a devastating blow to the Aviation corps as a whole if he was to leave at this point in his career," she said, adding that Stephen's modesty sometimes may prevent the Army from seeing the potential that she sees in his future career.
Jobson's command has resulted in significant achievement, not only for [the] 6th Aviation Regiment but also for the Army in general, said Foley.
"His personal commitment and attention to detail are exceptional. His efforts are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defense Force," he said.