Canterbury Woman Treating The Troops In Darwin

19 August 2014
LAC Jessica Earnshaw at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin Medical Centre during Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

LAC Jessica Earnshaw at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin Medical Centre during Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

Providing medical treatment for 50 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to Australia’s Northern Territory is very much business as usual for a Canterbury woman, Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Jessica Earnshaw.

LAC Earnshaw, from Lincoln, is one of two medics in the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF), 209 Squadron deployed to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin. The medical team is responsible for providing immediate medical support to the NZDF contingent participating in Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

Exercise Pitch Black 2014, is the RAAF’s  largest multi-national combat air training exercise this year. The three-week exercise aims to foster multi-national partnerships and co-operation. Military forces from six nations are involved in a combination of day and night flying which provides the NZDF with an opportunity to practise deployment and integration of ground support personnel into coalition environments.

Exercise Pitch Black 2014 is LAC Earnshaw’s first overseas exercise with the NZDF, having spent the first two and a half years of her RNZAF career training and adding qualifications to the Bachelor of Applied Science she gained from the Queensland University of Technology before joining. These include an Auckland University of Technology Diploma in Health Sciences and Graduate Diploma in Paramedicine, NZDF environmental health courses, and fixed wing aero medical evacuation and initial air crew search and rescue courses.

LAC Earnshaw said Exercise Pitch Black 2014 gives her the opportunity to apply the knowledge she has gained during her training, build relationships and compare procedures and systems for providing medical support with her counterparts in the RAAF.      

“I’m enjoying the opportunity to meet new people and see how an Australian Air Force medical centre operates and manages the treatment of their force. Our job is to treat the NZDF troops, with the medications and equipment we have deployed with and to transfer them quickly to an Australian Air Force doctor located in the medical centre for treatment,” LAC Earnshaw said.

LAC Earnshaw will return to her Auckland base in late August and immediately travel to Tauranga to compete in the New Zealand national volleyball competition as a member of the NZDF volleyball team. She will round out the year by completing two extramural papers towards an Auckland University of Technology Bachelor of Health Science,funded by the NZDF.


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This page was last reviewed on 22 August 2014.