Home' Air Force News : April 25th 2013 Contents 15
April 25, 2013
FLTLT Cath Friend
A NEW Operations Specialisation (OPSO)
course run by Air Combat Group (ACG) is
alleviating the burden faced by units having
to conduct on-the-job training for their new
In 2007, OPSOs -- previously only
available to Air Force Reserves -- became a
permanent officer specialisation.
To be an OPSO, officer training must
first be completed before continuing on to
the School of Air Warfare (SAW) for the
five-week OPSO Basic Course.
On graduation, the OPSO is then posted
into a flying squadron or other unit.
The current process of posting SAW
graduates directly into ACG squadrons
placed a heavy burden on the units as they
had to train new OPSOs in ACG-specific
operations while still maintaining flying
The role of OPSOs in each of the differ-
ent Force Element Groups (FEGs) is con-
siderably different and requires each group
to develop a specific conversion course.
FLTLT Justin Thomas, senior OPSO
ACG, took on the task to develop the
ACG OPSO conversion course, named Air
Combat Operations Officer Course.
"We were able to take over the training
burden while still producing interoperable
ACG OPSOs," FLTLT Thomas said.
"It's a great capability being able to
move OPSOs between squadrons knowing
they can all do each other's roles, espe-
cially for deployments."
FLTLT Thomas said the course's intent
was for OPSOs straight out of SAW to do
the course before working in their squad-
ron, taking what they learnt at SAW and
teaching them to apply it in an air combat
role.Chief of Staff ACG GPCAPT Glen
Beck pointed out the benefits to ACG,
especially squadron executives.
"As trained aviation officers, OPSOs
are able to take on many roles traditionally
performed by aircrew," he said.
"This allows executives to concentrate
their efforts on managing flying opera-
The course included both theory and
practical components, including coordina-
tion, programming, briefing, flight plan-
ning, security, publications, reporting and
It culminated in Exercise Phantom
Strike -- a simulated exercise which
required the students to plan a squadron
deployment to Darwin and then manage the
deployed operations room.
One of the most challenging, yet excit-
ing, roles of an OPSO is being selected
to deploy on a large force employment
exercise, such as Cope North, Red Flag or
The implementation of this course has
prepared OPSOs for this challenge.
All six students completed the course
successfully and have returned to their
respective squadrons, keen to apply the
skills they developed on course.
The next course is to be conducted
from 2 Operations Conversion Unit and is
planned for January next year.
THE Australian Air
Force Cadets' (AAFC)
218 Squadron, based
in Corinda, South East
Queensland, will celebrate
its 50th anniversary on
May 16 with four days
of events. Celebrations
include a 50th anni-
versary barbecue at
RSL Sub Branch on May
16, a parade and formal
dinner at Sherwood
Services Club on May 18
and a gunfire breakfast
on May 19. For more
information, email admi-
call CO218SQN FLGOFF
(AAFC) Adam Tayler on
0488 399 333.
RAAF intel's 50th
THIS year marks the 50th
anniversary of the RAAF
In recognition, events
are being planned in
Adelaide and Canberra. On
September 20, in Adelaide,
a symposium will be held
for serving members at
87SQN, a 50th anniver-
sary time capsule will
be interred and a formal
dinner will be held that
evening. In Canberra, a
dinner is planned for serv-
ing and retired members
on October 5 and a brunch
for serving members on
October 6. Retired and
serving RAAF Intelligence
personnel are encour-
aged to attend the events.
For more information,
defence.gov.au or call
1300 DEFENCE and ask to
be put through to RAAF
WHERE else but 33SQN would you
celebrate 33 years with Air Force?
On March 18, personnel at
33SQN congratulated FSGT Brett
Chapman with a surprise party as
he ticked over the milestone.
The man they call "Chappo"
worked on fast jets for his first 29
years with Air Force before making
the switch to 33SQN in 2009.
His career includes working as
an engine fitter and aircraft techni-
cians, servicing F-111s, Mirages
and Hornets, as well as a stint
with Harrier jump-jets during an
exchange with the Royal Air Force.
Working as a Quality Manager
on the KC-30A tanker aircraft -- the
largest aircraft to be operated by Air
Force -- is just the latest career high,
according to FSGT Chapman.
"There's been so many high-
lights -- posting to Butterworth in
1984, deploying to Diego Garcia
with 77SQN in 2001, and going to
England with Exercise Longlook in
2003," he said.
"I've also had the chance
to play soccer for the Air Force
and Defence, touring to many
places including China, Malaysia,
Singapore, Indonesia and New
"There's been way more exercis-
es and trips than I remember, and
they've all been great fun -- there's
no such thing as a bad trip, just that
some are better than others."
The current work with 33SQN
follows this line, as FSGT Chapman
has worked in Australia and abroad
to bring the KC-30A into service.
"Any time we do something,
we're often doing it for the first
time, and there's a lot of pleasure in
that," FSGT Chapman said.
"When we go away on task,
whether we're offloading fuel or
moving cargo and people, most
times we will see an immediate
result from what we do."
Chappo's surprise party
TUNING IN: CPL
Timothy Dick runs
through the correct
of an antenna cable
with members on the
Air Combat Operations
Officer Course, from
left, FLTLT Col Peat,
FLTLT Jeffrey Garrett,
and FLGOFF Ryan
Ginty. Left, FLTLT Peat
maps a course in a
simulated ops room.
Photos: LAC Craig Barrett
cut the cake
his 33 years
on him at
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