THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
BRAY John Austin
N86216, Sergeant Helicopter Crewman, Royal New Zealand Air Force

CITATION
Air Force Medal
Sergeant Helicopter Crewman BRAY Joined the RNZAF in May 1973 and trained as an avionics tradesman.  Following graduation from initial training he served on RNZAF bases Auckland and Woodbourne and in Singapore.  In 1982 Sergeant BRAY successfully completed Helicopter Crewman training and served with the New Zealand Contingent, Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai and No 141 Flight RNZAF Singapore.  He returned to New Zealand and No 3 Squadron in 1986.  Since qualifying as a Helicopter Crewman, Sergeant BRAY has been involved in nine major Search and Rescue missions. One of these missions recently involved the emergency evacuation of two critically injured seamen from a Korean squid vessel west of Foxton in extreme weather conditions.  He was winched down onto an extremely cluttered and limited deck space that was pitching violently in five metre swells and fifty knot winds.  After assisting with first aid, even though violently sea sick himself, he disregarded his own personal discomfort to complete six winchings.  The professional manner in which Sergeant BRAY carried out his duties in this vital phase of the rescue operation enabled the two patients to be rescued without further injury.  The helicopter fuel reserves were by then diminishing and it was not possible to recover the Doctor who had also been winched down to the squid vessel.  Sergeant BRAY therefore had to provide first aid assistance and care to the patients during the transit, even though he himself had been violently sea sick for over 30 minutes.  His personal courage, devotion to duty and the professionalism displayed in his aircrew trade is worthy of the highest praise

New Zealand Meritorious Service Medal
12 August 1999
Master Helicopter Crewman J.A BRAY, AFM joined the RNZAF on 21 May 1973 and trained as a Communications Mechanic.  He progressed through the Communications/Avionics trade until 1982, when he opted to become a Helicopter Crewman and began training for that trade.  He qualified in February 1983 and has been a helicopter crewman to this day.  During his time in the role he has represented the RNZAF on exchanges Canada and Hong Kong.  He has deployed on operations to Sinai Peninsula and Bougainville Island and to Antarctica four times.  He has also participated in exercises in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, Vanuatu and the United Kingdom.  Since beginning his career as a helicopter crewman, he has amassed almost 5.500 flying hours in a variety of helicopter types, including 5,000 in the Bell UH-1H Iroquois.  In 1989 Master Helicopter Crewman BRAY was awarded the Air Force Medal for his actions during the rescue of an injured fisherman in particularly difficult and dangerous conditions.  In the 33 years of RNZAF Iroquois operations, he is the only Helicopter Crewman to receive the award.  In early 1990 Master Helicopter Crewman BRAY was appointed leader of all helicopter crewmen on No 3 Squadron.  He very successfully led the helicopter crewmen for seven years until he was posted for a second tour to No 3 Squadron Detachment at Christchurch.  Currently he is the senior, and by far the most experienced, Helicopter Crewman in the RNZAF.  He was awarded the coveted ‘A’ Category Helicopter Crewman rating in April 1990.  An ‘A’ Category recognises excellence in performance, knowledge and ability – an aircrew member with such a rating is classed as exceptional in the field.  He has continued to maintain these exceptional standards for the past nine years.  Master Helicopter Crewman BRAY has been singled out for special praise by the last four Commanding Officers of No 3 Squadron.  All have commented on his very high personal standards, his dedication to the service and the squadron, and his exceptional skill as a Helicopter Crewman.  Master Helicopter Crewman J.A BRAY, AFM, is the epitome of a helicopter crewman.  He is reliable, unflappable, knowledgeable and innovative.  He has proved to be an excellent leader, setting exemplary standards for himself and his subordinates.  His conduct and personal bearing are quite exceptional, as is his dedication to the service, his superiors and peers.

AWARDS
Air Force Medal
New Zealand Operational Service Medal
New Zealand General Service Medal (non warlike)
Sinai, Bougainville
New Zealand Meritorious Service Medal
Royal New Zealand Air Force Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
New Zealand Defence Service Medal
Regular
Multinational Force and Observers Medal

NOTES
Born 5 September 1955 Geraldine, New Zealand
Died