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Exercising with the Navy

On the beat with Military Police

Maritime Surveillance in the Pacific

Repatriation of Pacific Workers

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Contents 04

Sea bound training


Exercise Steel Talon






Amphibious training replaces Southern Katipo

First Word



Future force

Repatriation to Vanuatu

26 P-8A update

27 Pacific commitment

30 The show must go on

24 28 Our heritage

32 Sport

33 Notices

34 Photo of the month


Returning operations in the Pacific

OUR MISSION The RNZAF will provide New Zealand with relevant, responsive and effective Air Power to meet its security interests.



On the beat with Military Police

An agile and adaptive Air Force with the versatility essential for NZDF operations. COVER: Military Police Officer SGT Carl Craigie PHOTOGRAPHER: CPL Maria Eves

Published by Defence Public Affairs HQ NZ Defence Force Wellington, New Zealand Editor Rebecca Quilliam Email: airforcenews@nzdf.mil.nz Design and Layout Defence Public Affairs Printed by Bluestar Private Bag 39996, Wellington Distribution Email: airforcenews@nzdf.mil.nz Editorial contributions and ideas are welcomed. They can be emailed directly to the Editor and do not need to be forwarded through normal command chains. Contributions need to include • writer’s name, rank and unit • photos provided separate from the text – at least 300dpi. Air Force News will hold the copyright for submitted articles or photographs it publishes. Articles and photographs published in Air Force News cannot be published elsewhere without permission. ISSN 1175–2327



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First Word O

ur Air Force Creed was created by us, for us. The intent of our Creed is to embody what it means to be an airman and provide a belief statement that we can be proud of. I belong to the Royal New Zealand Air Force. This captures the sense of being part of an entity and to contribute to a cause that is bigger than us, a force for good. This sense of belonging is developed from many threads; our workplace relationships and social connections; our culture and ethos and a collective motivation towards a common purpose.



“I honour our legacy and embrace our future. It is important to recognise and reflect on those who have gone before us.”

I am committed to our mission and values. Our mission sets us on the right flightpath to achieve a common purpose. Your commitment to serve is consistently apparent and celebrated often inside our Air Force News covers. Our values guide us to do our mission and they are our moral compass. Tū Kaha – Courage, Tū Tika – Commitment, Tū Tira – Comradeship, Tū Māia – Integrity I honour our legacy and embrace our future. It is important to recognise and reflect on those who have gone before us. To honour the challenges they overcame and their commitment and efforts that have shaped our Air Force. Our future has never been brighter, with new capabilities in service and more on the horizon, and you have the opportunity and privilege to be involved in shaping the future for those to come. What an exciting time to be in the Air Force!

I have the courage to stand for what is right. Leadership is easy when the “skies are clear”. When the “skies are stormy or turbulent” that’s when strong leadership is needed and counted on; to tackle the issues, to lead self, to lead each other and to lead upwards. When times get tough it takes courage to own it, to lean forward and step up. In a military aviation environment, this is crucial to ensure the safety of our people. I serve New Zealand in peace, crisis and conflict. Thank you for your service and commitment to our Air Force and to New Zealand. This year we have been in an unprecedented time. A moment in time that many of us never could have predicted. I have been so impressed with the resilience and grit of our people to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Your positive attitudes and tenacity have been a standout when you have been called to task. I am proud to serve with you. I am a guardian of Aotearoa. Whether it’s responding to earthquakes, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, or a pandemic our people continue to rise to the challenges thrown at them. The planning, management and logistics behind the scenes is critical to achieve a successful mission including the support from families and friends. This is who we are, this is what we do. We are “Warriors of the Sky”. Ko te Tauaarangi ahau I am an Airman

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 3


Sea bound Training B Y


The Air Force and Navy joined forces in the latest exercise taking place over and on the waters around Auckland, which encompasses maritime warfare and search and rescue training.

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E X E R C I S E S  |


he key output for us is to conduct interoperability training between No. 6 Squadron, No. 5 Squadron and HMNZS Otago,” Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) John Brereton said. A major component of the training was centred on maritime warfare, including anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, he said. “There’s also been some maritime boarding operations and search and rescue training.” Normally the squadrons would undertake this type of training with our international partners, however, due to restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic, that option was unavailable, SQNLDR Brereton said. “So we’re trying to replace some of that training for our crews.”

The two-week exercise has been using training areas to the east and west of Auckland and the teams have been working through their own scenarios. The squadrons have synthetic training systems that are used to simulate some targets so they don’t have to utilise real submarines but they are still able to gain a high level of training benefit. “That extends not just to the aircraft tracking the submarines, but to other units, like bringing in a Seasprite to assist with submarine attacks. Within that synthetic environment we are still flying around and supporting Otago, which is working to avoid a submarine threat.

“There’s also been in-exercise sailing vessels involved to simulate drug smuggling vessels so Otago can practice its boarding operations and then detainee procedures. No. 5 Squadron has been providing intelligence and reconnaissance to track these targets and prepare for boarding operations.” The training was the first part of a two-series exercise, with the second taking place about mid-July to early August, SQNLDR Brereton said.

“A lot of this is training that we would typically do anyway, but the exercise is adding layers of complexity, both in the scenario and also involving other units. There’s some great coordination training both with No. 6 Squadron and the Navy,” SQNLDR Brereton said.

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|  O P E R AT I O N S

Boeing repatriates Vanuatu workers home The biggest Air Force international air lift in more than two decades saw more than 1,000 Vanuatu nationals flown home, with eight flights leaving New Zealand late last month on a Boeing 757.

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ith no commercial flights available, the Government of Vanuatu requested assistance from New Zealand to help get the mostly seasonal workers home.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in these turbulent times, the New Zealand Government remained committed to supporting Pacific governments to get their people home.

They were flown to Port Vila, with the eight flights departing from either Christchurch or Auckland.

“This is a huge undertaking by both countries. When the Covid-19 pandemic was declared more than 3,700 workers from Vanuatu were in New Zealand. Many of them are now without work and are ready to return home.

All passengers followed Vanuatu Government requirements, including a health check prior to boarding and a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Vanuatu. Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said the Air Force was pleased to help get the passengers home. “It’s a great effort by our team to fly approximately 1,000 Vanuatu nationals home after they had been unable to get back due to border and travel restrictions as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic,’’ he said.

“Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) workers from Vanuatu play an important role in the New Zealand horticulture and viticulture industry. Similarly, working here provides an opportunity to earn an income while gaining skills and experience to help their communities back home in Vanuatu,” Mr Peters said. Defence Minister Ron Mark said the use of New Zealand Defence Force assets was only explored in exceptional circumstances when all other options had been exhausted.

O P E R A T I O N S  |


Families leaving Christchurch on a Boeing 757, bound for Vanuatu RIGHT

Aircrew check on passengers on board the Vanuatu repatriation flight

“Our Defence Force is always prepared to assist both here at home and abroad. We have always been a reliable and responsive partner to our pacific neighbours, and this time is no different as the Royal New Zealand Air Force conducts one of their biggest international airlifts in 25 years,” Mr Mark said.  Air Force crews have also in recent months carried out a series of aid flights to Vanuatu after the Government of Vanuatu had to manage its response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as relief and recovery efforts following Tropical Cyclone Harold.

“With no commercial flights, a large number of repatriations needed, and a short window of possibility to repatriate, this is an exceptional circumstance.” – Defence Minister Ron Mark


1,042 passengers

53 flying hours

30 Boeing 757 crew

8 maintainers deployed in Christchurch

20 C-130 crew on standby throughout

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|  S T E E L TA L O N

Assault from the air B Y


Flying troops by helicopter to a specific location at a precise time, all while avoiding threats on the ground was a major aspect of the recent Steel Talon exercise for No. 3 Squadron.


t’s generally on a smaller scale, such as landing on specific buildings for a group of troops to get on to rather than moving a company or several platoons, NH90 pilot Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Hamish Park said. During the exercise three NH90 helicopters, each carrying a number of High Readiness Task Unit (HRTU) soldiers, were flown to a location and fast-roped in. “The difference to a normal exercise is that we were doing it knowing the enemy is right there and the soldiers are going to be in combat mode from the time they hit the ground.” It was a good exercise because the crew had the opportunity to analyse imagery, look at the conditions and work out the threats, and then decide the best way to fly the approach and terminate with the best ‘hover reference’, FLTLT Park said.

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“If we hover on top of a building we need to work out if it is big enough for us to put ropes out both sides or if we are limited to one rope out of one side. During the exercise, we had various combinations of fast ropes and deployed guns, each catering for the scenario. As soon as the last soldier went down the ropes we got rid of the ropes and got out of there.” It was a “dynamic and fast process”, he said. “There might be forces on the ground in the vicinity and we have to be there at a given second. So we might be holding a few miles out from the area and we know the time we need to be there, then we will fly our approach to get to the locations at the precise time.”

S T E E L T A L O N  |

“It’s organised chaos – you get the troops out, down the ropes, get the ropes away and then we fly off. Then the troops on the ground get down to business.” – Flight Lieutenant Hamish Park

In the scenario the squadron was taking part in, there was enemy at a specific compound and there was still the risk of scouts and enemy throughout the area. So as soon as the NH90s flew off they stayed low.


Air assault training and flying troops into Waiouru

There were two types of air assault, FLTLT Park explained. The first is used for urban counter-terrorism, and the second is more combat-focussed and takes place in a large area of operations. “During the exercise there was a small arms threat involving enemy on the ground with MARS-L weapons and also a threat from various surface-to-air weapons. “We generally have two options with threats – either fly high out of range to small arms where our self defence suite takes care of the rest, or very low to avoid radar and small arms threats,” he said.

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|  S T E E L TA L O N

Heavy metal

Weighing in at nearly two tonnes, the light howitzer cannot accurately be described as light and is nearly at the limits of what an NH90 can comfortably carry. However, the helicopters nailed the lift during Exercise Steel Talon.

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efore the flight, pilot Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Lindsay Johnstone and helicopter loadmaster Corporal (CPL) Tom Hanson explained the considerations in underslinging such an ungainly item.

“It’s a really dense load, which helps.” The gun is attached to the NH90 by New Zealand Army soldiers, who hooked the weapon to the strop while the helicopter hovers overhead.

FLTLT Lindsay Johnstone said a lot of it was around the load density and how it flies.

“They stand on the gun and hook it to our hook and then they jump off and we slowly lift it up. We train for this all the time.”

“If it was really light and big it’s going to have a big surface area, so it’s not going to fly well. With the gun tipping the scales at 1,990kg, it’s not such a drama and I think it will fly quite well – although I haven’t flown it yet.

The pilots can’t see the load as they are flying and landing, so they are reliant on instructions from the crew in the cabin to let them know how the light howitzer is flying and distances to the ground when setting it down, FLTLT Johnstone said.

S T E E L T A L O N  |


Gunners from 16FD Regiment attach the light howitzer to the NH90 MIDDLE

NH90s lift the light howitzers during Ex Steel Talon RIGHT

A light howitzer being attached to an NH90

CPL Hanson said he would be monitoring the load the whole time. “When we pick up the howitzer, we make sure all the strops are being picked up correctly. From there, once the load comes on, we make sure the pick-up is as straight as it can be so that we don’t induce any swing – we don’t want a two-tonne load swinging because it can affect the hover or flight of the aircraft, because of the pendulum effect.” During the flight itself, the helicopter loadmasters keep the pilots updated on how the load is flying, CPL Hanson said.

“If there are any issues we do our best to arrest that. Putting the load down, obviously we don’t want to break it, so on the approach we’re monitoring heights and distances to the loading zone. “With the descent, we also monitor that, making sure we don’t put it down too hard and not damaging it and making sure it is in the correct place.”

“They stand on the gun and hook it to our hook and then they jump off and we slowly lift it up. We train for this all the time.” – Flight Lieutenant Lindsay Johnstone

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|  S T E E L TA L O N

Complex exercise a success Live gunnery, flare firing, training with the New Zealand Army and ensuring personnel remain current in their qualifications during a two-week period in the depths of winter was a bit of a juggle for Flight Lieutenant Tom McDowell. However, Exercise Steel Talon achieved many of its targets.

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t was the first time Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) McDowell had been in the role of lead planner for No. 3 Squadron and he said there were a number of moving parts involved with organising the scenario, scheduling the sorties and coming up with the different profiles.

Despite that, the exercise went relatively smoothly, FLTLT McDowell said.

“It was challenging to fit it all into a two-week period and we also had a bunch of training requirements for a number of aircrew who had to achieve specific training outcomes.”

The exercise provided an excellent opportunity to engage with the NZ Army units at Linton Camp, he said.

Planning the exercise during winter came with challenges, but poor weather contributed to only one day’s training needing to be curtailed, FLTLT McDowell said. However, with Waiouru notorious for plummeting temperatures and low cloud rolling in when the sun goes down, the aircrew had some difficulties to overcome. “During our gunnery phase in the first week, as soon as we went to transition to night we were coming up against low cloud and combined with low illumination (no moon) meant it was quite challenging conditions to fly in.”

“It was a good chance for me to take on more responsibility with the management and coordination of other units. Communication and time management was critical,” he said.

“Often we find ourselves conducting our individual training, but there is a lot of mutual benefit if we link up these exercises. While it was supporting No. 3 Squadron, they too achieved a lot of training out of it. “It’s a good chance for the squadron to focus on land combat operations and look at how we can best support the army as a troop-carrying and utility helicopter.”

O P E R A T I O N S  |

Pacific marine patrols to continue The Defence Force is working with the National Maritime Coordination Centre and Pacific partners and has resumed aerial patrols in the Pacific following concerns about illegal fishing in the region.


P-3K2 Orion carried out aerial surveillance over the Exclusive Economic Zones of Niue and the Cook Islands late last month. RNZAF crew routinely carry out aerial patrols in coordination with maritime patrols by host nations. However, due to travel and border restrictions put in place as part of the response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the frequency of patrols reduced and there were concerns illegal activity may be going undetected. The crew were given permission to carry out overnight logistics stops in the Cook Islands, so three days of patrols could be carried out in the eastern Pacific. Air Component Commander Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Tim Walshe said the aircrew continued to follow health guidelines such as screening prior to departure as well as personal hygiene measures and careful restrictions on movements while in the Cook Islands. Any other local requirements of the Cook Islands would also be strictly observed.

“We routinely support Niue and the Cook Islands with patrols and are resuming these given current uncertainty about illegal fishing activity. If it is the case that illegal activity has increased, that has implications for the sustainability of fish stocks.’’ The crew also took the opportunity to look for unreported or undetected pleasure craft that were potentially being used for transnational organised crime such as drug smuggling. Any information gathered is provided to the relevant authorities, AIRCDRE Walshe said. “We are also ready to resume support to other Pacific nations if asked to do so.’’ The crew also flew over the Kermadec Islands and provided an update to the Department of Conservation, after DOC staff on Raoul Island were evacuated ahead of Covid-19 border and travel restrictions.

“The Orion crew detect and report illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing activity within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Niue and the Cook Islands.

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|  F E AT U R E

ON THE BEAT WITH MILITARY POLICE Military Police are a small but essential part of the Defence Force, which works to hold the organisation to account and provide a vital role in keeping personnel safe. The trade has undergone a number of iterations so Air Force News chatted with a few of the team to find out what their role entails and what they enjoy about the job.

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F E AT U R E   |

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|  F E AT U R E

“We are very similar to New Zealand Police but we have different jurisdictions. Our jurisdiction is within the Defence area and with Defence personnel and from there we conduct investigations into offences, with NZDF personnel,” Sergeant Julie Newson said.


ergeant (SGT) Newson is an investigator with the Serious Investigations Branch at Base Woodbourne.

Covering the top of the country at Whenuapai is SGT Carl Craigie who is part of the investigation team for the Northern region.

“I am assigned investigations and from there I conduct preliminary enquiries into the allegations. We get as much evidence as we can and we put it all into a report that is given to the Commanding Officer with recommendations around prosecution.”

“My primary focus is on Whenuapai and the married quarters area, however, we do assist the other bases and the other services, Naval Police and Army Military Police as well in their areas.”

With a strong family connection to the Air Force, SGT Newson was drawn to military life and started in Air Security, which changed first to Force Protection, then Security Forces and finally in a separate Military Police unit. After posting as a junior investigator SGT Newson discovered she enjoyed the work. “I really enjoyed seeing something through to the end and I guess knowing that I can make a difference to the complainant, victim and the suspect as well. I really like helping people. And if I can assist people to get the help they need, either through Chaplains or counselling, then that’s great as well.”

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A couple of years after joining Security Forces, SGT Craigie completed a Joint Service Basic Investigators Course. “It wasn’t long after then that Military Police were going tri-service and I decided after my experience on the basic course that that was the kind of line I wanted to pursue, so I put my hand up for the tri-service Military Police trade.” He joined the Air Force with a desire to travel and the Military Police has provided him with just that experience. “I’ve travelled all around the country with Military Police and I was fortunate to be able to complete an Australian Defence Force Investigators Course in Australia, which kept me in Sydney for about three months.

F E AT U R E   |


Sergeant Carl Craigie MIDDLE

(L-R) SGT Julie Newson, SGT Daniel Hynds TOP RIGHT


(L-R) SGT Daniel Hynds, SGT Julie Newson

“I also conducted a deployment to the Middle East in 2015, which, although was a Force Protection deployment, I was with the Military Police at the time and was deployed as an MP.” The most interesting aspect of the job was working with all three services and experiencing the differences that each service brought, he said. “I quite like getting out and about talking with people and engaging people – finding out what’s going on in their area and potentially, if there are issues, how the MPs can look to either fix those issues or suggest ideas that can help that person or unit. So for me it is about getting out and about and engaging those issues.” SGT Daniel Hynds is the team leader for the Serious Investigations Branch that looks after the camps and bases in the central region, from Waiouru to Wellington. “I posted into Military Police in 2015 and before then I’d been part of the security investigations detachment under Security Forces.

“I enjoyed the more analytical side of it as well as the challenge of working through an investigation file to its conclusion, which can be quite rewarding – when you see justice being done at the end of it.” The role of the Military Police was important because it held members of the organisation to account “to our own values”, he said. “A feature of a professional organisation is its ability to self-regulate the behaviour of its members. The Military Police form part of the mechanism that supports that for the NZDF, in order to protect our values, people, resources, and reputation. “A majority of getting out and about is through the course of investigations, talking with witnesses and suspects alike. You do get to meet and engage with a variety of Defence Force members, which is great because you’re not just stuck in your unit/trade silo.”

“We just want to keep people safe, that’s a big part of our role. We want to make sure people are safe and secure. During investigations we want to make sure people’s welfare is taken care of as well.” – Sergeant Julie Newson

RECRUITING NOW: NZDF MP are recruiting now – contact your local MP unit for details.

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Amphibious training replaces Southern Katipo B Y


The Defence Force’s major exercise for the year, Southern Katipo, has been cancelled due to restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean the training stops. Air Force News takes a look at what the Air Force will be doing instead.


series of amphibious training exercises, Joint Wakas, will be taking place in Whangaparaoa’s Army Bay and the Marlborough Sounds involving No. 3 Squadron, HMNZS Canterbury, the Deployable Joint Interagency Task Force Headquarters (DJs) and various NZ Army units. Following the training will be a separate major table top war games exercise, aimed at testing operationallevel planning. The first two Joint Wakas will be run back-to-back in September, with the third taking place in October, Exercise Planner Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Alastair Brown said. “That’s going to involve a lot of NH90 training embarked on HMNZS Canterbury. “The primary goal for our air units involved in that is going to be pilot and crew currency and certification.”

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The exercise revolves around crews doing all the base-level training they need to stay current and safe around amphibious operations, with a number of take-offs, landings and refuelling around the ship, he said. “The Army’s 5 Movements Company will also be involved for load preparation and they will be the deployable logistic support. “A main goal for that exercise will be training for the different enablers working together,” FLTLT Brown said. “All the units will be focussing on that core training they need to do to work together such as knowing how each other speaks, what planning timeframes each group needs, what support they need and what they do if something goes wrong.” The third Joint Waka will bring in engagement with the Army’s 16th Field Regiment, the gunners and 2nd Engineer Regiment, the battlefield engineers, he said. “This training will shift the onus from the enablers all being able to work together, to how do those enablers support other units.

E X E R C I S E S  |

The third exercise aimed to add complexity and variables to the situation, FLTLT Brown said. “It’s about getting that training that the unit needs to keep their own currencies and certifications going and remaining safe, competent and building towards that deployable level of capability that they otherwise may not have got because there are no exercises left for the year.” The final activity to round off the training will be the Command Post exercise in November. For the Air Force, the exercise will revolve around the JAOC (Joint Air Operations Centre), where all national and overseas air tasking deployments are planned. “But rather than the plane actually heading away, someone will be sitting at the Auckland Tactical Operations Centre receiving the order and planning like it was a real scenario.

“The headquarters is still receiving the information it should be receiving to test if they are putting up the right orders, people are getting the right messages and battle rhythms will be tested without having to put the fullscale burden on the force elements and field troops to go for a full-scale field exercise,” FLTLT Brown said. Another aspect of the final exercise was to bring in various air and ground crew from across the services to learn how decisions in this environment are made behind the scenes. “This way they can get a good appreciation of where they sit in that chain, where their orders come from, where their reports go to, to build on the professional maturity of all three services.”

“So it’s all well and good with the NH90 knowing how to land and take off from the Canterbury, but the next piece is how do we get people and equipment on board and how do we get that underslung helicopter on shore. That’s the next evolution.” – Flight Lieutenant Alastair Brown

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Following in family footsteps B Y


A passion for aviation and a private pilot’s licence has led 19-yearold Pilot Officer Carmen Haybittle to join the Air Force as one of our future pilots.


he has just graduated the 26-week long RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROCC) at Base Woodbourne and will now head to Base Ohakea to start pilot training. Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Haybittle, who was born in Canada but grew up in Christchurch and Auckland’s North Shore, will follow in the footsteps of her great-grandfather who was a pilot in the Air Force and served as an instructor during World War II.

“To have received so much positive and constructive feedback has been supervaluable for personal development and growing leadership skills.

“I aspire to become an instructor and train pilots, just like my great-granddad did. I have always wanted to motivate others by sharing my experiences,” she says.

“I’ve also appreciated the comradeship that comes from being on course with such a motivated and outgoing group of people. We’ve made life-long friendships and networks through shared experiences… and have a heap of fun memories to look back on,” PLTOFF Haybittle said.

Her father served in the Air Force as an aircraft engineer and her older brother is currently serving as an avionics technician.

Now PLTOFF Haybittle is looking forward to the next phase of training, which she expected would be “challenging, very full on and very fast-paced”.

PLTOFF Haybittle attended the second School to Skies programme when she was in Year 12 and enjoyed learning more about the Air Force and what careers it had to offer.

“I have had a chat to a bunch of RNZAF pilots in all different phases of their careers and they love what they do. I look forward to especially making the most of the training, flying a T-6 Texan, and taking it one day at a time.”

“We spent a handful of days living on base and experiencing many different trades and met up with super passionate and inspiring RNZAF members. “It was a very hands-on experience and a highly beneficial exposure to a range of different careers in the Air Force,” she said.

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ROCC had been very rewarding, and although at times she struggled with fatigue, to successfully finish everything on the course had been great.

Anyone wanting to join the Air Force should take as many opportunities as possible while still at school, including experiences like Outward Bound, Spirit of Adventure and School to Skies, she said.

F U T U R E F O R C E  |

Making a difference B Y


Making a difference and having job variety is why Pilot Officer Savannah Music has joined the Air Force as a supply officer.


he 25-year-old has just graduated the Officer Commissioning Course.

Following school, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Operations and Supply Chain management at the University of Canterbury. “The logistics positions in the Air Force covered everything I could have wanted in terms of learning opportunities, job variability and travel. “The more I read, the more I found out about what the Air Force contributes to international and domestic protection, search and rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief missions and peacekeeping efforts,” said Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Music. After the Christchurch earthquakes she remembered seeing the work that New Zealand Defence Force members made in the community. “My decision to join the Air Force started to look beyond the job description to how I could be one of the people to make a difference in the community.” Not having any military connection she said she didn’t know what to expect leading into training, which was quite daunting.

to enable my growth, so that I could contribute to and drive a high performing team,” said PLTOFF Music. Over the 26-week course other than creating great memories, she said the field exercises were a highlight as she was able to put her lessons into action. “It is one of the most enjoyable parts of course because you can see everyone utilising their new skills and working hard for the team in highly pressured situations,” she said. PLTOFF Music will be posted to Base Ohakea to join No. 3 Squadron’s Supply Chain Support Unit and is excited for what is to come. “I expect that there will be a lot of changes in the Air Force logistics trade moving forward with the acquisition of the new cargo aircraft, C-130J-30 Super Hercules. “The phasing in of these aircraft will be an exciting time for the trade that I hope to get involved in.” There were so many opportunities within the Air Force that catered to a wide range of skills and experience levels, PLTOFF Music said. “A career in the Air Force means working on advanced aviation technology, meeting a variety of people, and having some amazing experiences.”

“I quickly learnt that the Air Force is built on a strong foundation of people that drive you to be your best. I expected to be pushed to my limits, however I didn’t expect the level of support and feedback I received

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Sky’s the limit B Y


A rough time after leaving school hasn’t deterred Pilot Officer Campbell Abraham from making something of his life, and he is now about to embark on pilot training at No. 14 Squadron.


he 24-year-old has just graduated the Officer Commissioning Course at Base Woodbourne.

Before joining the Air Force in 2016 as a Security Forces Specialist he was working as an apprentice but had an unlucky run, losing two jobs within six months. “I got made redundant from my job and a mate who was in service at the time was seemingly living the good life, doing heaps of cool stuff. I wanted to get involved.” The call accepting him into the Air Force came not a moment too soon. “It felt like I was finally on my feet again when I received the good news that I had been accepted on the first recruit course of 2016,” he said. In his time working in Security Forces he went on a number of flights with No.3 Squadron, which sparked an interest in changing trades and becoming an Officer in the Air Force. 

“Initially I applied for the role of helicopter loadmaster, as it looked cool and I was inspired on the flights I went on with them. But after I had completed the officer aircrew selection board I researched the role of pilot and decided to put though a request for pilot instead.” He had enjoyed the practical phases of training as it was similar to his previous job. But the course hadn’t been without its challenges, Covid-19 being one of them, Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Abraham said. “There was a lot of uncertainly at first, as there was for the rest of the country, but I think we were very lucky in a way – while the rest of the country was stuck at home, we got to keep going through course.” He is excited for the next part of his journey and expects it to be “fast paced and challenging”.

While he did not yet know if he wanted to fly fixed wing aircraft or helicopters, PLTOFF Abraham was happy to have come this far and was looking forward to the next challenge of getting through Wings Course.

“Push yourself and don’t be afraid of trying new things, be prepared to be challenged and make good use of the opportunities you get.”

Ab Initio training, or Wings Course, is a combination of theory and practical work, and is the foundation training of all Air Force pilots.


Pilot Officer Campbell Abraham moving from a non-Commissioned Officer to a Commissioned Officer

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 23


A journey of pain and tradition B Y


Sergeant Dave Orum and his wife Sergeant Josey Orum have completed a powerful and gruelling journey together, having Samoan Tatau (tattoo) etched on their bodies using the traditional method of a small chisel making the design.


ergeant (SGT) Dave Orum’s Malofie, or more commonly named Pe’a (male tatau) runs from just below his knees to the middle of his back and took a marathon 54 hours over 10 sessions to complete. SGT Josey Orum’s Malu (female tatau) covers the top half of her legs and took nine hours over two sessions. Nothing was pre-drawn or planned and the final design was chosen by the Tufuga ta Tatau (tattooist) Su’a Suluape Fa’alili, who worked out the patterns after speaking with the couple and assessing their body shape, SGT Dave Orum said. He described the pain of the process as “really bloody sore”. “I’ve got a Samoan arm band as well and that was done with a machine and the pain of the traditional tattooing is on another whole level.” But he never considered leaving it unfinished. “That’s not really an option, you end up bringing shame on your whole family if it’s not finished.” SGT Dave Orum has his Samoan heritage through his mother’s family. “It was always something that I wanted, obviously being Samoan and it being a traditional journey.” Getting the Pe’a was a “lifetime achievement” because it was such an arduous journey, SGT Dave Orum said. “It’s not really a decision taken lightly.

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“The tattooist kept going for as long as my body would allow, but towards the end of each session I would go into shock, get cold and start shaking,” he said. For anyone going through the process they have to have a Soa – someone to go through it with them. When SGT Dave Orum decided he was going to get a Pe’a, his wife immediately volunteered to be his Soa. “It’s a journey not taken by yourself, you do it with someone else,” SGT Josey Orum said. “Just my husband and children have Samoan heritage, I’m Māori. At first I didn’t think it would be right for me to have it, but I had conversations with my mother-in-law and she granted her blessing. “It was a way for me to further connect with the culture of my husband and my children. Marrying into the family I also marry into the culture and it’s just a deeper connection to that.” Admitting to being a bit worried about how painful the process would be, it turned out to be better than she thought. “Watching Dave go through it, he dealt with it really well and mine was nowhere near as huge and as lengthy as his – I’ve pushed out three children, I’m sure I can handle a few hours.”

# FAC E S O F YO U R FO R C E  |

“For me it’s to keep my roots literally on me. They are already in me but now it’s displayed on me.” – Sergeant Dave Orum

She described it as much of a mental challenge as well as a physical one. “When I got my first leg done and it got to around the three hour mark I thought we’d almost be finished, but it was another hour and a half after that before it was done, so that was really difficult mentally for me . But with my second leg, because I knew how long it was going to take, it definitely wasn’t as bad. “I cried when it was finished, I was just so overwhelmed with emotion. I think it’s beautiful.”

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 25


Life in the US B Y


At the start of the year eight No. 5 Squadron personnel and their families packed their bags for a three year deployment to Florida in the United States to train on the P-8A Poseidon. Squadron Leader Ben Smith tells us the trip hasn’t gone quite as planned.


atching from afar how New Zealand managed coronavirus, while being deeply embedded in life in the US has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride. “Our workplace (VP-30) was deemed by the US Navy as mission essential, therefore would not cease or reduce work when a large portion of the state and county was in lockdown. This was at a time when NZ was going into Level 4 lockdown, we watched on with pride and an increasing feeling of uncertainty in our environment – if NZ is locking down, and we’re not, are we safe here? “We put our own mitigations in place, VP-30 (and the greater US Department of Defence) put major mitigations in place, and we’ve stayed safe. We were lucky to have a group of 21 Kiwis to do lock-down with, giving us a reasonably diverse set of social and professional interactions while Jacksonville closed down around us. Now, the States has opened up, with no plan to close in spite of record numbers of new coronavirus cases. NZ just had two new cases and has dealt with it. We’ll see where it goes from here. “We are posted to the US Navy Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) VP-30. The squadron has about 1,200 people (staff and students) and about 14 P-8As (plus the other aircraft).

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“It’s a training system on a scale that’s completely alien to us. It is sometimes very overwhelming for eight Kiwis accustomed to squadrons totalling 100–150 people conducting the full spectrum of training that VP-30 does, while also taking on the full spectrum of operations undertaken by the other 11 P-8A squadrons in the fleet. “The team is steadily working through the course syllabus. Recently we reached a point where we had all flown training missions on course with VP-30. We’re now in the next phase of training, where we know the technical data and we’re starting to mix ‘tracks’. “For the back-end crew, we are now doing full crew mission simulations, designed to consolidate basic skills and begin integrating different crew ‘tracks’ to achieve a mission. While we do this, the pilots consolidate flying skills before the back-end and flight deck simulators are connected. “During the next phase both simulators are integrated, enabling a full P-8A mission simulation (Weapon Systems Trainer), all mission profiles are flown in the sim before crews take the real P-8A to operating areas East of Jacksonville for training tactical flights near the end of the course. We’re still expecting to graduate P-8A transition in September, before moving on to instructor training.”


Embracing diversity in the Pacific B Y


Twenty-five years after international discussions changed perspectives around gender diversity in militaries Squadron Leader Libby Reardon says she is seeing a shift in gender dynamics in security roles in the Pacific.


he Intelligence Officer has been leading the New Zealand Defence Force-funded Pacific Defence Gender Network since last year. “Initially it was supposed to be a Military Women’s Network, but we changed it to gender as a way to pull in those male advocates and really amplify that this isn’t just about women, it’s about embracing the diversity of our forces and optimising our outputs.” Some Pacific militaries have only about 5 per cent female participation, so the Network focussed on how we could recruit and support women better, Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Reardon said. “The Network wasn’t about us coming in there and telling the Pacific how to do it because we are well aware we haven’t met the targets that were set with this international movement of women’s empowerment in security. It was more about listening and learning together.” Across the Pacific a shift was being noticed among the nations’ police forces with high targets for hiring women, SQNLDR Reardon said.

“I’ve loved the opportunity to be able to research as well – I’m doing a PhD on the side – so being able to dig a bit deeper to understand the history behind some of the decisions that have been made has been unique. “Fiji has the background of the bati, or the warrior and this has influenced their military development and shaped their soldier ideal. Conversely, parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are matriarchal, so a lot of girls from these areas have ended up in the PNG security domain and have shaped the culture there. So that’s really fascinating.” SQNLDR Reardon began her career as an educator in the New Zealand Army before changing to Air Force Intelligence about five years ago. “The great part of my role is that it feeds my love of education and research and my love of analysing the geo-political arena and understanding how international dynamics shape our region. I do believe it all links in to that career path that I’ve come through.”

She described the role as initially challenging, with some “difficult conversations” had with some military members, but mostly it had been overwhelmingly rewarding.

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|  O U R H E R I TA G E

Rebuild of early RNZAF biplane underway at the Museum B Y


The Air Force Museum is about to recommence one of its most exciting historic aircraft rebuilds – a Vickers Vildebeest biplane from the RNZAF’s earliest days.


he Vildebeest was a very large 2–3 seat all-metal biplane, typical of those produced in Britain during the inter-war period. The prototype first flew in 1928 and the aircraft entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1931. The first 12 brand-new Vildebeests arrived in New Zealand in 1935, supplemented with a further 27 ex-RAF aircraft in 1940–41. During its time with the RNZAF, the Vildebeest was used in a variety of roles including coastal defence, general reconnaissance, aircrew training and target drogue towing. The significant remains of one of those first 12 aircraft to arrive, NZ102, has for many years been part of the collection at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, along with minor components from several other RNZAF Vildebeests. You might be forgiven for thinking that

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all this sounds unremarkable, after all, it’s hardly surprising to learn that the RNZAF’s Museum has parts of former RNZAF aircraft in its collection. What makes the remains of NZ102 special is not that they represent the only significant remains of any ex-RNZAF Vildebeest, but that they are the only significant remains of a Vickers Vildebeest to be found anywhere in the world. Some progress has been achieved in the past using the principle of reverse engineering, where the original structure is painstakingly disassembled and examined in order to learn how to re-construct it and this has been successful in helping to rebuild an almost complete fuselage frame.

O U R H E R I TA G E   |

To a degree, the outcome of such a difficult project is unpredictable, but it is hoped that a full skeletal airframe can be assembled using as much original structure as possible, which would make an impressive addition to the Museum’s collection of exhibited aircraft. As the project progresses, we will gain a clearer picture of what might be achieved beyond that. The rarity and historical significance of the Vildebeest means that it is one of the most important military aircraft held in a museum collection anywhere in New Zealand, and it is fantastic to be able to make this challenging project a priority focus.

“Restoring an aircraft of such complexity and scale is difficult enough when you have a complete airframe and all the necessary engineering drawings, but to attempt it when all you have is wreckage, a few technical references and information gleaned from photos, is harder still.”


Vildebeests in formation over Auckland, circa 1940 TOP RIGHT

The fuselage of NZ102 at the Museum’s conservation workshop MIDDLE

NZ102 (closest) lined up with three other Vildebeests at Base Wigram, circa 1938 BOTTOM RIGHT

Project Supervisor PJ Smith and Airframe Technician CPL Tim De Roo from the Museum’s conservation team assess the present state of Vildebeest NZ102

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 29


The show must go on B Y


The Air Force Band’s concert has been a standard fixture in the Air Force calendar for years. This year, following Covid-19 disruptions, the concerts have been cancelled, but we thought it was as good a time as any to get to know a couple of their talented musicians.

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rumpeter Sergeant (SGT) Ben Hunt picked up the instrument when he was seven-years-old after his music-teacher mother let him choose a musical instrument to play with over the school holidays.

“A highlight would have to be bugling at Gallipoli last year. It was very emotional. The year before that I bugled at the Western Front, which again was special as a relative of mine had fought there during World War I.”

Now he is a senior musician in the Air Force Band and has played with world-class musicians and at significant military locations around the globe.

Admitting to feeling nervous before playing the haunting piece, SGT Hunt said it helps to think about what he’s playing for.

“I became aware of the Air Force band while I was studying music at Victoria University. There were lots of great musicians in it who talked about the unique and incredible opportunities they had playing in the band and I thought that sounded cool.”

“I like to think about playing for peace and perhaps that’s something I can do as a trumpet player is try to put that idea into the sound that I’m making and hope that it makes a difference. That helps me with the nerves I guess.”

One of the best aspects of the band was the wide range of gigs they performed, he said.

Playing for the band is a part-time gig, which means top musicians have the opportunity to be involved. “We have people who play in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, we also have a drummer from Shapeshifter. There are some really top musicians in the band.”


Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Louisa Williamson joined a couple of years ago. She plays the tenor saxophone, after convincing her parents to let her give it a go. “I started on clarinet when I was 12 and I always wanted to play saxophone, but I was always told my hands were too small, so I had to wait until I was 14. I don’t know if that was true or not, I would always say that Lisa Simpson didn’t seem to have a problem.” Her best friend’s mother, who was in the Navy band, taught LAC Williamson to play after she was inspired when hearing her practice. “I was just drawn to it,” she said. Since joining, LAC Williamson has played with the band’s Cover band and jazz orchestra, as well as touring a number of bases to play in formal parades. “I haven’t been overseas yet, but that’s something I would like to do and I will take up the next opportunity.

“It’s also a great opportunity to be playing with top musicians. The Air Force tours around the country are really fun as well.” During the lockdown period the band put on a number of online performances, which LAC Williamson was also involved with. “It was a collaborative effort and we all sent in videos of us playing our own pieces. It was really cool and obviously, also, it was something to do during lockdown. “We were all sent backing tracks to play along with and then we played our own pieces. The band’s Operational Officer Alistair Isdale and another band member did all the work behind the scenes and I think it’s amazing how they pulled it all together.

“It isn’t about us at all, it’s a much bigger moment that we’re paying tribute to and for those who have fallen.” – Sergeant Ben Hunt


LAC Louisa Williamson MIDDLE

SGT Ben Hunt (left) RIGHT

Air Force Band during its annual concert

“It was cool feeling like we were still contributing and giving people music during that time.”

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 31


A charitable journey B Y


Reading about how the Missing Wingman Trust helped a family who had struggled after a stillborn birth was the catalyst for Sergeant Ryan Turei to want to raise money for the Air Force charity, by running a 100km Ultramarathon.


y wife and I have two children but we had a miscarriage earlier on and it hit us pretty hard. When we did have our son I realised I was responsible for this little person and I have to do the right thing by him and hopefully he will turn out to be a good person.” That realisation led the Security Forces specialist on a journey to seek extreme challenges and culminated in him completing the Aumangea programme, run by the Army Command School. It taught him how to overcome adversity, a skill he wanted to teach his children. Not content to leave it, Sergeant (SGT) Turei took up Ultramarathon running to continue the practice of “leaning into pain and suffering”. “I chose that sport mostly because it was cheap, all I needed were shoes and time. I discovered it kept me engaged with the feeling that I had cultivated on the programme, which was working through a problem and fighting the will to quit.” In February SGT Turei read an article in Air Force News about the creation of the Missing Wingman Trust by Wing Commander Tim Costley, which “hit close to home”. “I didn’t know that much about the Trust before that. When I read the piece about the Leading Aircraftman who had a stillborn and couldn’t afford a headstone, that gutted me.

“I was going to run this event anyway, so I might as well try to raise a dollar or two for the trust while I was running.” The Taupō Ultramarathon is being held on October 10 and SGT Turei hopes to raise enough to support an Air Force family in their time of need. “Hopefully it raises enough money to pay for things like medical expenses, household repairs and scholarships.” SGT Turei is grateful for the support of his wife, who is a logistics officer in the Air Force. “Both our children are under threeyears-old and they require a lot of time. Some mornings I get up at 3am to run before work so I can be home to help with the kids. On the weekends, depending on my training programme I will run anywhere from two and a half hours to six hours and she supports me through all that. “I couldn’t do it without my family and I understand the cost and sacrifice from them – it’s all time away from them.” SGT Turei’s next challenge is a 160km ultramarathon in Tarawera next February. He hopes to raise money for the Cancer Foundation. “My father has recently battled cancer and is in remission, and my aunt and a close friend of the family recently died from pancreatic cancer. So that’s close to my heart.”

TO HELP OR SEE MORE: If you want to donate to SGT Turei’s cause, visit: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/missing-wingman-trust-fundraiser You can follow his journey on Instagram: @morningritualz

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N O T I C E S  |


EOD SELECTION BOARD  NOVEMBER 2020 Nominations for the New Zealand EOD Operator trade open 1 July 2020. EOD Selection November 2–6, 2020 New Zealand EOD Operators have an important role within the NZDF. Whether supporting the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, or Special Operations Forces we must deliver precise results in sensitive, complex and challenging environments. Our people are innovative and agile. We are looking for NZDF personnel that are humble, disciplined, brook no sense of class and are committed to pursuing excellence. We need people who work well in a small team and can make decisions in complex situations. The EOD Operator Assessment Week is open to men and women from within the NZDF.

Minimum requirements

Successful civilian recruits

Successful NZDF recruits

Application AFNZ 3E

• Hold a rank of Private (Band 4), Leading Aircraftman or Able Seaman.

1. All Arms Recruit Course (AARC) July 2020.

1. Basic Combat Engineer course. (8 weeks – Jan 2021)

1. To be completed with comments from your Commanding Officer.

2. Basic EOD course (12 weeks)

2. Forwarded to DACM and Squadron Sergeant Major E SQN no later than October 5, 2020. LENARD.BURLAND@nzdf. mil.nz DACM_S1_Matters@nzdf. mil.nz

• Have a full class one vehicle license • Hold a confidential vetting security clearance • Have a minimum medical grade of A4, G2, Z1 (RFL minimum G2) • Complete the R-Series Tests 1–5. Administered during the assessment week and an evaluation by an NZDF psychologist as suitable to operate as an IEDD team member.

2. Basic Combat Engineer course. (8 weeks – Jan 2021) 3. Basic EOD course (12 weeks) 4. Support Element Special Operations Training (2 Weeks)

3. Support Element Special Operations Training (2 Weeks) Visit http://org/nzsof/LP/ Recruiting.aspx for more information and to download your application.

3. Meet all the above minimum requirements. For further information please contact Warrant Officer Diver Len Burland, Squadron Sergeant Major E SQN.

Successful candidates will undergo the following training prior to posting to an EOD Response Troop in either Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch.

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 33


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Starting the exercise with a bang! This shot happened on my first day working with No. 3 Sqn on Exercise Steel Talon during a live firing exercise. Thanks to the blinding light of the flares, this is one of the only images in my portfolio that I’ve captured with my eyes completely shut.

AIR FORCE NEWS #226  | 35

wE t N a w R u O y N O i s pas Be part of the New Zealand Defence Force There’s over 109 roles available including IT, communications, engineering, logistics, aviation, medicine, and emergency response. Some roles requires a degree and some don’t. We also have university and graduate scholarships available.

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Royal New Zealand Air Force | Air Force News - Issue 226, July 2020  

Air Force News is a monthly magazine that strives to inform its readers about the latest news from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It cover...

Royal New Zealand Air Force | Air Force News - Issue 226, July 2020  

Air Force News is a monthly magazine that strives to inform its readers about the latest news from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It cover...

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