Citation honour for long-serving ‘Jock’

Merit of Service Award to be presented by Lord Lieutenant of Fife Robert Balfour to Capt John-Alan (Jock) Mackay. (Pic George McLuskie).
Merit of Service Award to be presented by Lord Lieutenant of Fife Robert Balfour to Capt John-Alan (Jock) Mackay. (Pic George McLuskie).

One of the leading soldiers stationed at Kirkcaldy’s Royal Artillery base in Hunter Street has been honoured for his dedication to the job for the past 30 years.

Captain John-Alan MacKay was presented with the Certificate of Meritous Service by the Lord Lieutenant of Fife Lord Belfour this week at a ceremony at the 105 Regiment ‘s Lang Toun base.

The recogniton follows a career which spans four decades and includes an operational tour of Iraq, stationed in Basra between October 2003 and April 2004.

John signed up to become a member of the reserve forces on July25, 1987 and over the years has progressed through the ranks and various gunnery, air defence, training and instructor courses to become Battery Captain.

In the citation detailing the achievements of Cpt Mackay, his commanding officer , Lieutentant Colonel Alan Johnston said: “In this, his first appointment as a commissioned officer, he has continued to display the leadership and hard work which characterised his progressiopn thorigh the ranks.

“He can commonly be found in the thick of things guiding, encouraging and leading by example with a constant eye on ensuring that missions and goals are achieved.”

And he added that the award recognised Capt MacKay’s “determination, resiliance and achievement” in overcoming the challenges to reach his current position as Captain.

In due course he reached the rank of Warrant Officer, the first ever Royal Artillery reservist to do so in modern times,” said Lt Col Johnston.

“In refusing to take no for an answer he demonstrates a level of ambition, drive and sheer hard work which has set him apart from his peers.

“We are fortunate in this unit, not only to benefit from his skills and experience, but to have him as an exempler of sel-development.”

Receiving the award, Capt Mackay told the Press he was pleased to be honoured and admitted it was the last thing he had expected.

“When I walked into the army careers office in Glenrothes as a 17-year-old my father said I’d never stick it, so the first thing was to prove him wrong and get through basic training.

“Once I got to understand discipline and how to apply myself, I quickly got to love learning something new every day and I’ve tried to carry that through the last 30 years progressing through the ranks.

“And I’ve tried to use that knowledge in the way I help youngsters today to better themselves.

“Whether they go in to have a career in the forces or elsewhere it’s satisfying seeing those teenagers go on to make a success of whatever they do and to have had a small part to play in that is very rewarding.”