14 November 2013
SGT Josh Jellyman stands beside the Seasprite helicopter, which is lashed down on the flight deck of the frigate HMNZS TE MANA.
As HMNZS TE MANA deploys to the Arabian Sea this month, Sergeant Josh Jellyman of Nelson is one of five Air Force personnel on board, charged with maintaining the frigate’s Seasprite helicopter. He is well aware they are sailing to an operational zone.
“On this operation, anything and everything can change at a moment’s notice. We are going to influence real world events and offer protection to shipping along a key arterial route. There is still a need to police this area of the world and with the threat of piracy still there, it’s our turn to do our part.”
A former Nayland College student, SGT Jellyman joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as an Armament Technician in 2001.
“I have always had a passion for aviation and the desire to be involved in it in some way. I placed the Air Force at the top rung of the ladder in the aviation field and wanted to have a shot at it. I knew that being in the Defence Force had the added benefits of travel throughout the country and the world and that I would be paid as I learnt my trade.
“My Air Force career has brought me to No. 6 Squadron RNZAF, where we maintain the SH-2G Seasprite aircraft for the Navy. We do this on a daily basis and as part of the three-year posting to the squadron, we also embark in the Navy’s helicopter-capable ships.
“In TE MANA, I am the Armament member of the Ship’s Flight and I am responsible for all the weapons and weapons systems on the helicopter. Depending on the tasking, I can be in charge of loading live ordnance, the Maverick missiles, torpedoes and the machine guns. I also maintain the armament-specific components on the helicopter, the auxiliary fuel tanks and the winch.
“Our Flight is responsible for the servicing of the aircraft. On any given day, we will ensure the Seasprite is ready to fly and undertake the mission it has been tasked with. This varies from winching, carrying under-slung loads, to Search and Rescue or warfare sorties.
“Being posted to TE MANA provides the Ship’s Flight with the opportunity to face new challenges. We are a tight-knit unit within the ship, but we are an integral part of the frigate’s capabilities. Conducting naval helicopter operations halfway round the world in hot, demanding conditions will push us to our limits so we have to be at the top of our game.”
However, Josh’s life in the Air Force is not all serious. “At sea, we plan some breaks for flight deck sports. Back on base at Auckland, I have been able to play in the annual inter-base competitions for Softball, Basketball and Rugby League.”
Music features for Josh as well. “There is a Musicians’ Club at RNZAF Base Auckland, where we can get together monthly and play. I am part of a band, Nemesis, and in conjunction with the other bases’ music clubs, we compete in the annual RNZAF Battle of the Bands.”
Josh is a keen advocate of a Defence career. “I would recommend any of the three Services for a career; our Defence Force offers a wide range of jobs and challenges. I have completed courses on project management and various leadership programmes. Once you get your foot in the door, you can push yourself in the direction that best suits you with the added bonus of quality training and personal development.”
For more information, please contact the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.