Wing Commander Berni Pothan and Warrant Officer Annette Walding will assume the appointments of Woodbourne Base Commander and Command Warrant Officer respectively at a Change of Command Parade on April 11
10 April 2017
For the first time, an all-women command team will take charge of an Air Force Base tomorrow, when Wing Commander Berni Pothan and Warrant Officer Annette Walding assume the appointments of Woodbourne Base Commander and Command Warrant Officer respectively at a Change of Command Parade.
Base Woodbourne’s primary function is training the Air Force’s newest officers and airmen, and providing all specialist trade training up to advanced and post-graduate level.
Wing Commander Pothan has been in the Air Force for over 20 years and has held a variety of roles in operations, command and training.
“Coming back to Marlborough to lead Base Woodbourne has been a career goal for a long time,” she said.
“This is a significant senior command appointment, and not many get such an opportunity. I’m looking forward to working closely with the people who are the future of our organisation.”
Warrant Officer Walding has been in the Air Force for 29 years. She has a technical background and has held a number of trade, training and leadership roles.
“It’s a privilege to able to help shape our organisation in a command position such as this,” she said.
“The future for the NZDF is exciting, and Woodbourne has a key role to play by providing the crucial foundation for airmen’s careers.”
Although Wing Commander Pothan isn’t the first female officer to take a significant lead role on a Base, she is the first to be appointed a Base Commander in the current structure. Likewise, Warrant Officer Walding is not the NZDF’s first female Command Warrant Officer, but this is the first time women have been simultaneously posted into both command positions.
The pair have worked together several times before over the past 15 years. Both have a strong “people focus” and are looking forward to joining forces in the Woodbourne training environment.