Praise earned in tough place
The New Zealand Defence Force’s air transport team in the Middle East has flown the equivalent of five round-the-world trips since its mission began in June, delivering supplies and personnel for coalition operations in the region.
Currently an RNZAF C-130H Hercules and a 32-strong detachment have flown 45 missions, including NVG flights, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The NZDF air transport team has also maintained a near-perfect mission record, having flown all but 2 percent of the missions assigned by the Australian Defence Force air mobility task group, of which it forms a part.
Sqn Ldr Blair Oldershaw, Commander of the NZDF Task Unit, says the 98 percent mission success rate is a great achievement and speaks to the capability of the entire team, and the New Zealand and Australian personnel have integrated particularly well.
“The value of camaraderie is clear to see. Both countries have similar values and cultures, and working together closely reminds us why the Anzac spirit remains strong today.”
The NZDF air transport team, which finishes its six-month deployment in December, includes aircraft technicians, logistics specialists, maintenance personnel and an air movements load team that is working as part of the RAAF’s Air Movements Unit.
Sqn Ldr Scott Harris, Commander of the RAAF’s C-130J Hercules Task Unit, says it has been great working with the Kiwis. “They maintain very high professional standards, and the integration between our task units and between the squadrons in general has been seamless and continues at a high level.”
- Report by John King.
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