The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration:
CANNON, Group Captain Michael James (Mike), NZBM
For services to the New Zealand Defence Force
Group Captain Mike Cannon joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force as an Aircraft Technician in 1991 and has since made a significant contribution to the development and delivery of an effective utility helicopter force for New Zealand.
Early in his career he developed expertise across the complete range of helicopter crewman trade skills, establishing himself as a tradesman, crewmember and instructor, leading to his commissioning as the first Helicopter Crewman Officer. In 2007 he became a foundation member of the Helicopter Introduction into Service Project Team. In this capacity he was responsible for planning the transition of the Air Force from the 'Huey' and 'Sioux' helicopters to the new A109 and NH90 aircraft, with a focus on cabin configuration and systems, and helicopter crewmen training and safety. He maintained involvement with this project as Executive Officer of the Helicopter Transition Unit, as Operations Flight Commander of No. 3 Squadron, and Standards Officer at 488 Wing, Ohakea. Following the 2010 Anzac Day helicopter tragedy, he provided support to the families of those involved and led the team that addressed findings of the subsequent Court of Inquiry. As Commanding Officer of No. 3 Squadron since January 2017, he has had responsibility for introducing several operational capabilities for the NH90 helicopter that were required for the aircraft to receive 'Type Certification'. Group Captain Cannon has managed the unit through one of its busiest periods of service, balancing timely completion of tasks while safely delivering new capabilities.
New Zealand Bravery Medal, 1999