Home' Air Force News : October 15th 2009 Contents Fleet Network Pty Ltd D/L No. 20462
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AIR FORCE October 15, 2009
By FLTLT Nick O'Connor
TAKING part in the F-111 -- Tor-
nado GR4 exchange program has been
a real privilege for Royal Air Force
(RAF) pilot FLTLT Adam Collins.
"With the F-111 retiring in 2010, I
will be the last foreign exchange pilot to
fly it," he said.
"Although now an ageing platform,
the Pig is a unique aircraft and I feel
privileged to have had this opportunity.
There are few fast-jets that can carry a
comparable weapon and fuel payload,
while flying supersonic, low-level at
Based at RAAF Base Amberley,
the exchange program provides FLTLT
Collins with an opportunity to learn
about procedures, tactics and culture
while sharing ideas and experiences from
An exchange tour lasts three years,
which includes six to 12 months of train-
ing and about two years on a front line
squadron. Exchange officers play a full
role in squadron life including deploying
on exercises and operations.
"Having the opportunity to be part
of this program has been a career high-
light. An exchange tour is not just about
the job, but the country, the people and
the opportunities for new experiences,"
FLTLT Collins said.
"Very few people have the chance
to work in a foreign country for three
years, especially in a location as desir-
able as Australia."
He said the exchange program pro-
vided challenges -- both personal and
"As an exchange pilot, moving to a
new country, learning new national pro-
cedures and rules in addition to learning
how to fly an aircraft as unique as the
Pig is a real challenge," he said.
"Once conversion to the aircraft is
completed, the challenge then becomes
learning how to operate the aircraft in
a tactical and effective manner, while
passing on experience and ideas from
previous aircraft types."
FLTLT Collins said he was in the
final stages of the exchange program
and while he enjoyed his experience in
Australia, he looked forward to returning
"When I return to the UK, I will
undertake a refresher course on the
Tornado GR4 before joining a front-
line squadron based in the south-east of
England," he said.
"I am looking forward to using
the experience that I have gained in
Australia, but I imagine it will take some
time to adjust to the UK weather."
By MAJ Kate Ames
IT HAS been a year of firsts for
FSGT Greg Watt.
Currently serving in East Timor,
it's his first deployment after 25
years of service in the Air Force.
Recently, he also had his first
opportunity to use his skills in first
aid when he was on-hand to help
assist at a serious vehicle accident
just outside Dili.
"It just kicked in," he said, refer-
ring to his training.
"There were a lot of people mill-
ing around, not really knowing what
"I thought we could assist, and
my colleagues and I did what we
could until an ambulance arrived.
"It's things like that which illus-
trate small ways we can help over
here, because we had the expertise
and the equipment we needed right
there in the car."
FSGT Watt's role in East
Timor is as the Chief Clerk in the
headquarters of the International
Stabilisation Force, which is assist-
ing the East Timor and United
Nations police to maintain stability
and security in the country.
"I am responsible for ensuring
that personal administration for
members is completed and man-
aged," he said.
"A soldier or officer is more
effective in doing their job if they
know their administration is under
FSGT Watt was working with
Defence Force Recruiting in Hobart
prior to his deployment.
"I was always in units preparing
other people for deployment, so it
has been great to get the opportunity
to finally do it myself," he said.
He has been particularly
impressed with how friendly and
responsive the people in East Timor
"They are happy to say hello,
and their smiles are spontaneous.
You always get a positive reaction
when you say good morning," he
said.He is looking forward to catch-
ing up with his wife and Jack
Russell terriers Bonnie and Moose
when he returns to Australia.
"When they don't get walked,
they have too much energy, so I'll
be back out there walking them
every day -- rain, hail, or shine."
FSGT Watt is one of some 650
ADF personnel now serving in East
Timor with Operation Astute.
By MAJ Kate Ames
LAC Chris Dickson thinks he
has the best job in the world.
action as a photographer serving in
East Timor with the International
Stabilisation Force, and he wouldn't
have it any other way.
LAC Dickson joined the Air
Force as a plumber in 2001, before
transferring to photographer in
He is currently posted to 1 Joint
Public Affairs Unit in Canberra.
"I was always interested in pho-
tography as a kid. I saw the military
photographers come over and was
interested in what they did. It went
from there," he said.
He said he has really enjoyed
learning about the Army in particu-
lar while working in East Timor.
"I have loved working with the
infantry. It's very different to what
I'm used to in the Air Force, and the
guys are really good to work with.
"They are really nice people, and
they enjoy their jobs, so that rubs
Tornado pilot honoured
to be last to fly F-111
on exchange program
Timor a first
Chris captures all the action
AUSSIE RIDE: RAF Tornado pilot FLTLT Adam Collins is enjoying flying the
F-111 as part of his three-year exchange with the RAAF. Photo: AC David Said
IMPORTANT ROLE: FSGT Greg Watt is enjoying his experiences while serving in East Timor on
Operation Astute with the International Stabilisation Force.
Photo: LAC Chris Dickson
off. It inspires me to do a good job
for them," LAC Dickson said.
He said Dili was a little more
built-up than he thought it would
be, but "the villages were how I pic-
tured them to be".
While he has gained much out of
the deployment, the biggest lesson
he has learned has been a simple
"It's the power of a smile and the
gesture of a wave. One smile, and
a wave, and everyone's faces light
up," he said.
EXPOSED: LAC Chris Dickson on the job in Dili. Photo: MAJ Kate Ames
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