Warrant Officer Kerry Williams took up the role of Warrant Officer of the Air Force at a ceremony in Defence House, Wellington this morning.
The Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOAF) is the most senior role in the Air Force for enlisted personnel, reporting directly to the Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, and matches similar roles in the other services. The WOAF is a key advisor to the Chief of Air Force on matters relating to the morale, health and well-being of Air Force people.
Air Vice-Marshal Clark said that the WOAF is a vital part of the Air Force leadership team.
“The importance of the role cannot be over-stated,” he said.
“The leadership team and I rely on the WOAF for advice in all matters that are people-focused, and many others. The role is an essential communication and feedback bridge which spans the whole organisation.
“I congratulate Warrant Officer Williams on this well-earned appointment. The Air Force is entering a period of great change; it is an exciting and challenging time, and his input will be crucial.”
Warrant Officer Williams joined the Air Force in January 1988 and completed trade training at RNZAF Woodbourne as an Aircraft Technician. He has held a number of maintenance roles at both No.40 and No.5 Squadrons and deployed overseas several times.
More recently he held the key leadership position at RNZAF Base Auckland of Command Warrant Officer, in which role he worked closely with the Base Commander and Chief of Staff to ensure the needs of the Defence Force community at Whenuapai were met. Before his appointment as the WOAF he was Military Lead for the Defence Force’s Operation Respect, a programme aimed at eliminating harmful behaviour in the NZDF.
Warrant Officer Williams said he was humbled by the honour of selection as the fifth Warrant Officer of the Air Force.
“I grew up in Picton and joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force straight from school. It was the start of an incredible journey,” he said.
“Looking back on my career, there have been so many opportunities to explore and contribute to our country in ways I never thought possible.
“As WOAF I have a responsibility to lead. I am committed to influencing our people and culture to create positive, respectful and inclusive workplaces, support delivery of our new equipment and capabilities, and to develop our leaders of the future.
“I have a strong people focus, grown from the NZDF core values of Courage, Commitment, Comradeship, and Integrity. It is our people who deliver the capability – they drive the culture that creates high-performing teams. When we get this right, the rewards will come, and along with those rewards come the fun, excitement and adventure that inspired us all to join the Defence Force – many of us from small towns all over the country.”