Commodore RAN Vince Di Pietro CSC, now the Commander of the Fleet Air Arm at Nowra returned home in December 2014 to his old Australian Air Force Cadet (AAFC) Squadron where his interest in aviation was sparked nearly 40 years ago. In the 1974 he was an Air Training Corps Cadet at Number 1 Flight based at RAAF Base Frognall (now 401 Squadron AAFC). Early in his cadet life, he showed strong leadership abilities and as a result was named the 1 Flight, “Flight Lieutenant Ack Loveless – Cadet of the Year” prior to enlisting in the Navy as a Pilot.
Commodore Di Pietro was the guest of honour and reviewed the 401 Squadron AAFC’s annual parade. He was absolutely delighted to present the 2014 “FLT. LT. Ack Loveless – Cadet of the Year” award, the same award he had won nearly 40 years ago to the day, to a surprised Cadet Corporal Samuel Chu.
The Commodore stopped to speak with each cadet on parade and delivered a riveting account of his time as a cadet and how important his cadet service was in shaping his Australian Defence Force career. He encouraged the cadets to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way and never give up on pursuing their dreams.
Following the parade Commodore Di Pietro presented the old Number 1 Flight Banner back to the current Commanding Officer, Pilot Officer (AAFC) Mounir Twadrous. Now fully mounted on a display board the banner represents a strong link between groups of enthusiastic cadets, 40 years apart. Also present for the banners return was Wing Commander (AAFC) Shaun Young, Director Training AAFC who served as a cadet with Commodore Di Pietro and completed the banner restoration work.