Home' Air Force News : September 15th 2011 Contents 13
September 15, 2011
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FLGOFF Cath Friend
THE sun had just started to peek over
the homemaker centre at Baulkham
Hills, NSW, and already the Air Force
support team was at work, directing
traffic to the official start line of the
Variety the Children's Charity NSW
Directing traffic does not seem so
unusual until you see the cars enter
the start area. The first car through, a
1970 Ford Fairlane, driven by team
'The Hippies', arrived with its loud-
speakers blaring the Mamas & The
Papas. Smoke poured out its windows
as an arm emerged from the driver's
side, giving the Air Force member a
peace sign. A voice asks, "Hey man,
want a cookie?"
Another 118 cars filed through the
start area, ranging from a Navy subma-
rine to the Flintstones.
Teams displayed just as much crea-
tivity in their costumes as they did with
This year's Bash, which started
on August 6, covered more than
5400km over 11 days through some
of Australia's most remote regions,
en route to Australia's most westerly
point at Buccaneer Rock, Broome.
While there are few rules, blatant
cheating and bribery are not only
allowed, but are actively encouraged.
For the past 20 years Air Force has
supported the Variety NSW Bash by
supplying medics and mechanics.
This year Air Force provided
medical, logistical and mechanical
Most of the team were first-time
Bashers, with no idea what they had
signed up for, except the knowledge
that they would be helping Australia's
leading children's charity, doing the
miles for the smiles.
Air Force mechanics LAC Phillip
Webb and CPL Aaron Bray had the
mammoth task of patching up cars
that often looked like they were
beyond repair. LAC Webb said there
were days they did not get into camp
"The Variety teams would always
have a hot feed and a cold beer ready.
They were so thankful for our help,
yet we were the ones pinching our-
selves being on such an amazing trip,"
LAC Webb said.
LACW Mylie White had only just
returned from an exercise at Timber
Creek in the Northern Territory when
Doing miles for smiles
she learned she would be heading back
through there as a medic with the Bash.
Her main job was to support the
two NSW paramedics and the Bash
doctor who was travelling in the Bash
Air Force team leader WOFF
Kevin Leahy said the medical crew's
support was vital for the Bash entrants
and the event would not go ahead
without the assurance that medical
help was only minutes away.
"In one incident, a vehicle acci-
dent, it was all hands working to get
the occupants stabilised and on their
way to the nearest hospital. It was
over three hours by road, so there was
a lot of teamwork to get them safely
there," WOFF Leahy said.
He provided logistics support to
the Bash, and this year received a
Certificate of Appreciation for 20 years'
support to the fundraising event.
WOFF Leahy's big day was on the
Gibb River Road when a road train
was stuck on a creek crossing, block-
ing Bash vehicles.
Paramedics had been able to winch
the truck out of the creek, but not up
the hill, when he came to the rescue.
Connecting his Air Force Toyota
Landcruiser to the road train with a
snatch strap, WOFF Leahy went to
Bashers roared cheers of encourage-
ment as he successfully pulled the road
train up the dirt track and into a safe
area.The annual Variety NSW Bash is
Australia's most successful charity
motoring event, and the focal point of
fundraising efforts by many hundreds
of supporters of Variety.
This year the Bash raised $1.8 mil-
lion, which goes to help children who
are sick, disadvantaged or who have
Variety runs Bashes in most states. If
you are interested in getting a team
together and taking part, visit www.
Kevin Leahy with
the other Air Force
assisted in the
Variety Bash in
LACW Mylie White,
LAC Phillip Webb,
CPL Aaron Bray
and FLGOFF Cath
Friend. Photo: LACW
POSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD: Above, WOFF Kevin Leahy s big day was on the
Gibb River Road when a road train was stuck on a creek crossing; inset, a line-up of
Variety Bash vehicles.
Photos courtesy FLGOFF Cath Friend
Kevin Leahy with
FF Kevin Leahy's big day was on t
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