From humble beginnings as an electrical apprentice in Parkes to leading the advancement of army electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyberspace operations - Lieutenant Colonel Michael Mudie has certainly done his family, home town and country proud in more ways than one.
On Australia Day Lieutenant Colonel Mudie was honoured with a Conspicuous Service Cross, an Australian military award presented for outstanding devotion to duty or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations.
It is the first level award of the Conspicuous Service Decorations.
The 43-year-old from the Parkes Shire received the award for his outstanding devotion to duty as the Commanding Officer 7th Signal Regiment, Staff Officer Grade One Cyber and Career Adviser Signals Corps.
"Lieutenant Colonel Mudie demonstrated exceptional leadership and performance in the advancement of army electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyberspace operations in the land and joint environments," his award citation read.
"His personal drive and determination to encourage bottom-up innovation has significantly enhanced the Army's reputation as a leader in the way electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyberspace effects are coordinated and delivered at the tactical and operational level in the Australian Defence Force and with our allies and partners."
From his current posting in England, Lieutenant Colonel Mudie said he was aware he was being considered for the award after receiving a letter from the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, but didn't find out about the announcement until Australia Day.
"I am keenly aware that an award of this calibre is a reflection of the entire team's efforts and I was deeply humbled to receive it," he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Mudie joined the Australian Army in July 2000 after finishing an electrical apprenticeship in Parkes.
He enquired and was accepted into the Royal Military College - Duntroon, graduating in 2001.
Over the last 20 years he has served in a range of command, staff, operational and specialist signals appointments, including the Australian National Intelligence Community, United States Marine Corps and Special Operations Command, and five operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I was extremely privileged to command the 7th Signal Regiment in Cabarlah, Queensland in 2018-19," he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Mudie's significant staff and instructional postings have included the Defence Force School of Signals, Australian Signals Directorate, Land Warfare Development Centre, Career Advisor-Signals and SO1 Cyberspace Operations within Army Headquarters.
Notably, he developed the framework for the collective preparation and operational certification of Electronic Warfare Teams, and authored the Land Cyberspace Operations Strategy and Capability Realisation Plan.
Most recently he was posted as SO1 Force Transformation, Headquarters 6th Brigade where he led the Information Warfare Transformation Trial and authored the Multi-Domain Operating Concept.
He has been posted to the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham, an hour outside of London, for two years where he instructs at their Command and Staff College.
Lieutenant Colonel Mudie's Conspicuous Service Cross will nicely compliment the swag of medals he has received over his two decades' of honourable service.
In addition to campaign medals for operational deployments, he has been awarded the Commander 1st Division Commendation for technical mastery, twice the Australian Central Bureau Award for Support to Military Operations for the dismantling of insurgent networks, the US Navy and Marine Corps Commendation for expeditionary operations, the US Presidential Unit Citation (when embedded with the US Marine Corps) for counterinsurgency operations, and the Special Operations Task Group Meritorious Unit Citation.
Lieutenant Colonel Mudie is the son of Shirley and Robert Mudie of Parkes, and is married to Kelly. They have two daughters, Matilda (13) and Alexis (11).
Lieutenant Colonel Mudie was born in Condobolin but his family hails from Tullamore.
He completed the majority of his schooling at Parkes Public School and Parkes High School, and was a proud representative of the Parkes Marist Junior Rugby League Club.
"My parents, Shirley and Robert Mudie have lived in Parkes for nearly 40 years and have always been immensely supportive of my older sister Rachelle and I, and our families," a grateful and humble Lieutenant Colonel Mudie said.