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February 28, 2013
CPL Nick Wiseman
THE quick actions of an Air Force
firefighter during his Christmas
break almost certainly saved a key
building from fire, in catastrophic
conditions at Wagga on January 8.
The immediate response from
LAC Chris Adams has been
described as being crucial to the
protection of RAAF Base Wagga
and its staff and resulted in
him being awarded a CAF Gold
Posted to RAAF Base
Williamtown, LAC Adams was
working at the Wagga base during
the school holidays as an Australian
Air Force Cadet instructor.
He said due to the bushfires, he
needed to find out about road clo-
sures near Tarcutta as he had cadets
due to arrive on base from that
direction so he visited the base fire
section for an update
"After leaving the fire section
I thought I saw smoke but initially
dismissed it due to the thick smoke
in the air from the nearby bush-
fires," he said.
"After getting into my car I
realised something was definitely
up and ran to find a spot fire near
Knowing action needed to be
taken, he ran into the accommoda-
tion office, which was housed with-
in the building, raised the alarm,
grabbed a fire extinguisher and
headed back outside.
Burning ambition began with cadets
By this time the fire had moved
into a 2.5m high hedge and pro-
gressed along the front of the
large modified hangar -- which
also housed RAAF College
Headquarters, the clothing store and
warehouse -- engulfing a barbecue
and its gas bottle.
LAC Adams said even though he
knew the extinguisher would have
limited effect it was better than
"After discharging the bottle I
ran to the clothing store to evacuate
the staff and by the time I returned
the on-base firies had arrived," he
"Knowing their equipment I
continued to assist in fighting the
fire and managed to cool the gas
bottle before it could explode."
Although the firefighters had
now arrived the fire had continued
to spread and was starting to burn
into the eaves of the building.
The fire was extinguished before
it got to the roof which would have
almost certainly meant the loss of
the hangar and all the important
base facilities inside.
With the fire under control,
LAC Adams continued to assist
and remained until it was out, once
again helping the firefighters clear-
ing the area inside and out to ensure
nothing would reignite.
It had been almost two hours
since he had noticed the fire and
LAC Adams soon realised that he
had cadets due to arrive shortly for
their promotion course.
After racing off to get changed,
he attended a meeting and then
greeted the cadets he would manage
throughout their time on base.
He was surprised to receive the
award as he was just doing his job.
"While I'm very appreciative of
the commendation, I was just doing
what I was trained to do," he said.
"It wasn't until my boss pointed
out that you don't get a commenda-
tion for not doing your job that I
actually thought about it."
AT THE time of the fire at RAAF
Base Wagga, LAC Adams was
spending some of his Christmas
break assisting with Australian
Air Force Cadet (AAFC) promotion
courses as an adult instructor.
Taking on the role of
Detachment Executive Instructor
he found himself in a similar role
to what a Squadron Warrant Officer
He said it was a little out of the
ordinary for an LAC to be doing this
type of work but he had been able
to develop the skills and knowledge
from his role in the Permanent Air
"The cadets gave me so much
and I love being able to challenge
both myself and the kids now as an
instructor," he said.
Making it to CWOFF rank during
his time in the cadets, he said he
hoped to once again wear that rank
-- but in the Permanent Air Force.
"I loved my time in the cadets,"
he said. "It would be nice to rise to
that rank again one day and I look
forward to a long career in the Air
Building on our ties
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown hosted his
Turkish counterpart, General Mehmet
Erten, Commander of the Turkish
Air Force (TurAF), during his visit to
Australia earlier this month.
Accompanied by his wife, Mrs
Munnever Erten, General Erten was in
Canberra from February 11-13 where
he was met by an Honour Guard. At
Air Force Headquarters he held discus-
sions with CAF on capability, strategic
initiatives and areas of mutual interest
between the RAAF and TurAF.
Turkey is not only a JSF partner
nation, but also operates other plat-
forms that are similar to some RAAF
General Erten also met with CDF
GEN David Hurley at Russell Offices and
toured Headquarters Joint Operations
Command, including the Air Operations
Accompanied by CAF, General Erten
laid a wreath at the Kemal Ataturk
Memorial on Anzac Parade and visited
the Australian War Memorial where
he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the
Unknown Solider, toured the Anzac Hall
and the aircraft displays.
General Erten also visited RAAF
Base Williamtown on February 14, tour-
ing Air Combat Group and Surveillance
and Response Group Headquarters,
where he was briefed on current activi-
ties, including Wedgetail operations.
Turkey is awaiting delivery of four E-7A
Peace Eagle aircraft from Boeing - simi-
lar to the Wedgetail.
He also visited the F/A-18 simulator
SPECIAL VISITOR: CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown with Chief of Turkish
Air Force General Mehmet Erten during his visit to Canberra.
Photo: CPL Aaron Curran
with his CAF
Photo: LAC Mark Friend
LUCKY ESCAPE: A view of the north side of Building 83, a
modified hangar which was scorched after a spot fire ignited a
hedge at the front of the building and then spread into the eaves.
ADF ward closing in Sydney
THE ADF ward at St Vincent's Hospital
in Darlinghurst, Sydney, will close on
March 31 when the five-year lease at the
The expiry of the lease will not reduce
health care entitlements for ADF mem-
bers, according to Commander Joint
Health Command RADM Robyn Walker.
"Service personnel will continue to be
hospitalised according to their medical
needs," RADM Walker said
"The closure of the ADF ward is not
expected to have an impact on waiting
times. Defence health policy determines
acceptable waiting times and this is moni-
tored by local health staff."
Defence has 14 healthcare facilities
providing medical services to ADF mem-
bers in Sydney. ADF members will con-
tinue to access inpatient health services at
Holsworthy and RAAF Base Richmond.
The lease with St Vincent's was not
able to be renegotiated. Joint Health
Command is exploring options for the
establishment of new inpatient arrange-
ments to supplement facilities at
Holsworthy and Richmond.
The closure of the ADF ward is not
related to the contract with Medibank
Health Solutions. This was a mat-
ter between Defence and St Vincent's
More than 5500 ADF members have
been admitted for health care since the
ward opened on March 31, 2008.
For further details, visit http://intranet.defence.
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