Corporal Melissa Hogan gets involved in the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training alongside her platoon during Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii.
18 July 2014
Matata woman Melissa Hogan didn’t receive much notice that she was being deployed to Hawaii for six weeks, but the news that she’d be heading to the world’s largest maritime military exercise, Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) was welcome.
Corporal (CPL) Hogan is a Medic in the New Zealand Army, and was attached to the deploying platoon from 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) only one week before flying to Hawaii at the end of June.
Now CPL Hogan is training with Canadian and United States Marine Corps (USMC) personnel in an urban environment and out on the ranges of Oahu and Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’, experiencing all that the military bases and facilities in Hawaii have to offer.
The platoon has had the opportunity to train in the USMC urban training facility. It has vegetable stalls, a petrol station and a meat market complete with ‘smell generators’ to mimic the real life smells and enhance the realism.
They’ve also conducted Helicopter Underwater Escape Training, and will be spending some time working from the USS PELELIU, an amphibious assault ship.
CPL Hogan says it’s a great learning experience.
“I’ve been training as a Medic for two and a half years, and this is my first deployment. I’ve been getting to know the Canadians and USMC and seeing how their medics work.”
CPL Hogan attended Trident High School and earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from Otago University before joining the Army. She then worked for a short time, before deciding she wanted to retrain as a Paramedic. But the cost held her back.
“It was going to be a big student loan to re-train as a Paramedic, and then I heard that the Army might pay for my re-training. When I mentioned to someone that I was thinking about it, they didn’t believe I could do it, so I put my mind to it and here I am.”
CPL Hogan said that working with the platoon is good fun.
“The boys look out for me, they’re really good. I’m the same as them – wherever they go, I go. When I’m off duty though, I’ll wear a dress!”
Exercise RIMPAC aims to foster multinational partnerships and cooperation on the land, sea and in the air, and has brought 22 nations and more than 25,000 people to Hawaii. With over 40 ships and 200 aircraft on the bases dotted throughout Hawaii, the exercise is covering the full spectrum of military operations - from humanitarian aid and disaster relief to maritime security and complex warfighting.