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 SMAC change of Office Parade

By Sgt Thabang Bapela, Ad Astra magazine

The General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj Gen M. M. M Mangethe, commended the Sergeant Major of the Air Command (SMAC), WO1 Fred Stephenson, on 28 February 2008 at Swartkop Airfield, that he had demonstrated the characteristics of a strong mentor, dependable colleague and public figure.

Looking back across the past forty years, the GOC said WO1 Stephenson devoted himself to maintaining the standard and discipline of the South African Air Force (SAAF) and was also responsible in guiding the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) development course members on the history of the SAAF.

Describing all the activities, the GOC told the gathering that WO1 Stephenson became part of the evaluation team on MIG 29 engine integration into a Cheetah and Mirage F1, Parachute jump (Tandem free fall from 9,000ft, heavy-duty recovery (Tank at Sterkrivier). The General pointed out that the Sgt Maj also drove a tank transporter with trailer during a field exercise and a detonation of 500kg ammunition at Ammunition Depot De Aar. His hobbies were cycling and he collected several of cycling medals during his time, he said.

He obtained the Southern African Medal, Pro Patria, General Service and 10, 20, 30 and 40 years Good Service Medals. He is married to Sandy and they have two sons, William and Anthony, with a grandson and granddaughter, Daniella.

WO1 Stephenson noted in reply, that all Warrant Officers (WO’s) must be fatherly figures to all the NCOs and that they should strengthen the link between the Officers and NCOs. Furthermore, trained soldiers with all the experience should not let small things hamper their decisions, but should make the decisions and monitor the results, because their knowledge has a major impact towards the focus areas of the SAAF.

He further quoted: “there are three kinds of people
Those that watch other people do things
Those who wonder what had happened, and
Those who make things happen”.

The newly appointed WO1Thackwray, as SMAC, was presented with a Command Symbol. The Wooden base resembles all the Warrant Officers of the Air Command, The Glass base: resembles the SMAC, Upright Columns: to form the backbone of the SAAF and The Glass ball with eagle: rendering a service to the greater Air Force


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