4 October 2013
CPOSTD Irvine brings a Seasprite in on the flight deck of the frigate HMNZS TE KAHA.
Whangarei local Nic Irvine has found the sky is no limit in the Royal New Zealand Navy—she has recently become the new Fleet Flight Deck Officer, responsible for all the Navy’s seaborne aviation.
Chief Petty Officer Steward (CPOSTD) Irvine, a former Pompallier College student, joined the Navy in January 2000 because of her love of the water.
"I have always loved the ocean and when I met recruiters from the Navy in fifth form I decided I would give it a shot. It took me two attempts to be accepted but my commitment and determination to join was pretty strong which I think helped."
CPOSTD Irvine became a flight deck officer in 2009, which saw her guiding helicopters on and off the deck of ships. The role involves liaising at all times with the ship to ensure it is travelling at the right speed into the wind for what is always a remarkable feat of aviation from a small, moving, often-heaving platform.
"Having been promoted to the Fleet Flight Deck Officer now, I am the head of trade of the entire Navy’s Flight Deck Officers. I conduct checks on them, I do training for them. I’m responsible for all on-deck aviation and safety in the RNZN. "
On top of this, CPOSTD Irvine is also one of the fleet’s damage control instructors training people in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear damage control.
In her 13 years since she joined, CPOSTD Irvine has held a number of varied postings with time at sea visiting different countries, three years as a recruit instructor and even a tour with the Army to Antarctica.
"Going to Antarctica was a real buzz. I had never seen snow until I got there," says CPOSTD Irvine.
"It’s the variety of work that makes it all worth while, operational work in the Solomon Islands as a young steward was something very different to working at the Recruit Training Squadron, it changed me as a person and made me look at Navy life and general life from another angle."
CPOSTD Irvine says she loves the variety of being in the Navy.
"There is something special about being out at sea, with nothing in sight, that can’t be put into words. Then throwing in the fact you’re on a warship makes it so much cooler.
"One minute I could be doing paper work, next thing you know we are launching a helicopter in the middle of a rough ocean. An hour later you could be simulating a fire in a main machinery space for training, 20 minutes after that you are giving first aid to an injured shipmate and then you are launching that helicopter again to get them off to hospital. All simulated of course but once you get into it it’s like it is real. That’s just a very small example of how the Navy is really a life less ordinary!"
"I am always keen to be involved in any operational postings whether it be on a ship or as shore-support. I hope one day to get a chance to be one of the instructors for our Command courses, helping mould our future leaders. The opportunities are endless for my career from here."
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.