Sir Angus Houston has been awarded the Oswald Watt Gold Medal for his role in the search for MH370 and his work as Australia’s special envoy to Ukraine after the shooting of MH17.
The retired Air Chief Marshal and current chairman of Airservices was presented with his medal at Canberra’s Parliament House on Tuesday night, where he delivered the Sir Reginald Ansett Memorial lecture.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Houston said when accepting the medal.
“In both places we worked as one team to do the very best we could.”
The Gold Medal, named after World War I pilot Oswald Watt, originated in 1921 and recognises “a most brilliant performance in the air or the most notable contribution to aviation by an Australian or in Australia”. It is not an annual award. Rather, it is awarded on merit, with the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia executive responsible for deciding whether a medal will be awarded in any given year.
The federation said on its website Houston was recognised “for leadership with the Joint Agency Coordination Centre coordinating the Australian Government’s support for the search into missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and his appointment as Special Envoy to Ukraine to lead Australia’s efforts on the ground in Ukraine to help recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed in the MH17 crash”.
Previous recipients have included astronaut Andy Thomas, Hudson Fysh and Reg Ansett.