Malawi: First Malawian Royal Air Force Soldier Honoured With Prestigious Military Mentor of the Year Award

Sergeant Pascal Zgambo — first Malawian Royal Air Force soldier — has been honoured with prestigious Military Mentor of the Year Award.

A statement from Royal Air Force where Sgt Zgambo serves in the Aviator Squadron says the 2022 award — presented at the glamorous Bright Lights Awards Ceremony — attracted 200 nominations from across three services.

In the eyes of the judging panel, the winner is considered after influencing Afro-Caribbean communities across the United Kingdom in terms of “inspiration, engagement and mentoring future potential service personnel from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

The Royal Air Force says Sgt Zgambo is heavily involved with the BAME Network — a platform for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers who share experiences and ideas on how to tackle racism and create better workplaces.

As part of his citation, Corporal Franks is quoted as saying: “Pascal is one of those individuals in life you meet, and walk away from insured and feeling good.

“He talks freely about his personal experiences as a young man from Malawi and how proud he is as first Malawian in the RAF. He has a bright light and inspirational to young people joining the Service.”

According the the RAF website, this is not the first prestigious award given to him. In July 2018, he was awarded a long service medal by Her Royal Highness late Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his service and devotion to the Confederation of Service Charities.

The website further says Sgt Zgambo is passionate about championing diversity and inclusion across the UK military and he currently sits on the modern day (MOD) Race Network as the only non-commissioned officer — reporting directly to the Chief of Defence Staff.

Sergeant Zgambo was born in Malawi but settled in the UK in 1999 and joined the Royal Air Force in 2007 after studying at the University of East London.

He passed out of Recruit Training Squadron at RAF Halton in January 2008 and on successful completion of trade training at the catering training squadron, he qualified as a Logistic Air and Ground Steward and was subsequently posted to RAF Benson.

During his service at RAF Benson, he completed a short VIP tour of Buckingham Palace as a personal steward to the Royal Household’s Chief of Staff.

In April 2010, he attended the advanced caterer course at RAF Halton and in July the same year, he was posted to 3 mobile catering squadron based at RAF Wittering.

During this time, he undertook a tour of BFSAI Falklands as the junior catering accountant within the Tri-service Catering and Rations Squadron for a period of five months and in June 2012, he deployed to London in support of Op Olympic for a period of four months.

In October 2015, he was promoted to Corporal and subsequently posted to the Defence School of Logistics at Worthy Down Barracks as a caterer instructor — teaching basic students and mentoring advanced students on their promotion course.

During this tour, in October 2017 he was awarded the late Sqn Ldr Penny Lowe Caterer of the Year Trophy in recognition of his service and efforts to TG19’s training delivery.

On completion of this tour in December 2017, he was posted within the Food Services Training Wing as the TG19 Apprenticeship Centre’s Internal Quality Assurer. He was promoted to Sgt in December 2019 and he is currently at the Airmen’s Command Squadron as a Defence Trainer on the junior management and leadership course.

He is reported to be a staunch supporter of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), devoting most of his spare time as an Honorary Welfare Officer.

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