26 November 2013
Haiyan survivors thank Sergeant Casey Davenport after disembarking from the RNZAF C-130 in the central Philippines city of Cebu.
Not everyone packs an aircraft wheel when they travel overseas but that is what Sergeant Casey Davenport put in her luggage after she received a 36-hour notice to deploy for the New Zealand Defence Force’s humanitarian mission to the Philippines.
“This is the first time I’m taking part in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation,” said the logistics specialist from Rotorua.
“It’s pretty challenging and it requires all hands on deck all the time. But we are pretty organised and we focus on what we need to do.”
Sergeant Davenport joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) on 19 September 2000, almost a year after graduating from Rotorua Girls’ High School and completing a student exchange to Paraguay.
“I found out about the NZ Defence Force from a friend who wanted to join the Army,” according to her.
As part of the 24-member 40 Squadron detachment deployed to carry out a humanitarian mission to the Philippines, Sergeant Davenport ensures there are spare parts for the RNZAF C-130 Hercules that is delivering aid supplies to typhoon-wrecked areas and evacuating survivors eager to flee the devastation and suffering caused by typhoon Haiyan.
“When survivors get off the plane, thanking us and giving us the thumbs up, it feels great to know that we have helped people and we are doing our part,” she said.
“It’s interesting to see how everything works in an international aid operation like this. Plans change continually so you have to be very flexible. I’ve achieved heaps of learning since we started last week.”
When she is not deployed on operations, Sergeant Davenport manages a seven-member team at Whenuapai Air Force Base that is charged with ensuring there is a ready stock of spare parts for No. 40 Squadron’s fleet.
“I like taking part in both exercises and operations. Exercises are beneficial because they help you prepare for operations like this. Operations, on the other hand, demonstrate whether what you practised works.”
For more information, please contact the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.