Former local student helps NZ Air Force team win tactical competition against US Air Force

Flying Officer Dam McCormack sits on a US Army Humvee inside a 40 Squadron C130 Hercules.
P8234085.JPG: Flying Officer Dam McCormack sits on a US Army Humvee inside a 40 Squadron C130 Hercules.

7 September 2011

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) No. 40 Squadron took top prize in Little Rock, Arkansas, US last week when they participated in a joint exercise with the US Air Force (USAF).

Flying Officer Dan McCormack, a former Napier Boys High School graduate deployed as the Logistics Officer for the 50-strong RNZAF team and helped win the “Top Cat” prize for best overall performance.

The US Joint Readiness Training Centre runs a series of major exercises to prepare US ground forces deploying to the Middle East. Exercise Green Flag East is the Air Force side of the exercise that focuses on providing support to ground units including insertion of paratroopers or air-drop or air-land missions. The exercise is undertaken in a combat environment so there is always a threat of surface to air missiles or small arms fire.

The RNZAF participates in the exercise to get the best possible tactical air transport operations training available, give it the opportunity to validate its operational readiness training and bring the crews up to a directed level of capability.

The prize recognised the team’s overall score measured through a database that tested, among other things, accuracy, time and targets, how long it took the aircraft to turn around, accuracy on the drop, integration into the exercise and attitudes.

Dan is now the Flight Commander Aviation Refuelling Section at RNZAF Base Auckland. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the Air Force. They have a great culture and you can develop your skills through further education, professional development and a great mix of sports and Service life. I enjoy the variety and doing my part to help and serve NZ,” he said.  

Dan joined the RNZAF Undergraduate Scheme in 2005 and studied at Victoria University completing a Bachelor of Communications and is shortly to complete a Law degree. “The scheme was very good, it gave me quite a lot of flexibility and in the holidays I would work with the Air Force at Ohakea and Woodbourne,” said Dan.

This was Dan’s first overseas deployment since he joined the Air Force in 2009 and he loved every minute of it. As the Logistics Officer, his role was vitally important. He was responsible for liaison with NZ and his USAF counterparts to source aircraft parts, equipment and other logistics items needed to maintain the high flying tempo of the exercise. In addition, he also held the purse strings and was responsible for managing the finances for the Air Force contingent.  
RNZAF support included one C-130 Hercules aircraft from No. 40 Squadron and 50 personnel.  


For more information contact Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki, Senior Media Adviser Air Force on 021 420 899.

This page was last reviewed on 8 September 2011.