4 March 2013
Residents around Burnham and Rolleston will have heard the distinctive sounds of a helicopter hovering around Burnham Military Camp in recent days as soldiers added key skills to their repertoire.
Soldiers from 2/1 Battalion in Burnham were undertaking their Helicopter Co-operation Rappelling and Dispatch course – leaping from helicopters the equivalent to the height of a 10 storey building, attached only by a single rope.
Staff Sergeant Pani Houia, in charge of the training, says over two days last week groups of four rappelled from the Iroquois a total of 120 times, 60 times each day and are continuing rappel training today.
"The helicopter rappelling and fast roping skills taught on courses like these, provide soldiers with the capability to access many different environments, from building roof tops and ships, to forest and jungle settings," says Staff Sergeant Houia.
"Soldiers can deploy at speed in order to do a range of tasks such as providing assistance to civil defence emergencies, medical support, or conventional war fighting.
"The training has been exhilarating and adrenalin pumping – it’s generally unnatural to throw oneself out of a perfectly good aircraft at 30 metres in the air only suspended by rope to slow your descent to the ground.
"The training has assisted in overriding people’s natural instincts of self preservation, in order to carry out the correct techniques, procedures and principles of helicopter rappelling. This coupled with a lot of perspiration and perseverance."
The rappel training will conclude today.
The New Zealand Army is made up of 4199 full-time specialised professionals who are highly trained, disciplined and well equipped to rapidly respond to a range of situations both here in New Zealand and overseas. They work with an additional 1859 Reserve (part time) personnel and 465 civilian support staff.
The NZ Army provides the land combat component to the NZ Defence Force's three services operating as one.
The Army's mission is to provide world-class operationally focused land forces that are led, trained and equipped to win.
The main NZ Army Camps are located in Waiouru (central North Island), Trentham (Wellington), Burnham (Canterbury), Linton (Manawatu) and Papakura (South Auckland)
The NZ Defence Force is delivering the In-Service Weapon Replacement/Upgrade Programme, replacing the NZ Defence Force's small arms; and upgraded sighting and target acquisition systems.
For more information, contact Zen Gregor, Defence Communications Group, on 021 224 3367.