20 August 2014
FGOFF Josh Wood at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin during Exercise Pitch Black 2014
Flying Officer (FGOFF) Josh Wood gets around, from South Africa to Nelson and now to Darwin, Australia where he is providing logistic support for Exercise Pitch Black 2014, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) largest multi-national combat air training exercise this year
As a 10-year-old FGOFF Wood left South Africa with his family for a better life in Nelson. Thirteen years on he is a Logistics Branch supply officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
As a student at Waimea College FGOFF Wood got his first taste for the RNZAF when he was selected to attend a RNZAF challenge week in Ohakea.
During his third year of study towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Canterbury he was selected to join the RNZAF undergraduate scheme, where his course fees and expenses were paid by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). He then graduated from the RNZAF’s Initial Officer Training Course, where he was top student and was awarded the Sword of Honour.
A year later, FGOFF Wood is now a Flight Commander at the RNZAF Woodbourne-based Logistics Squadron. At Exercise Pitch Black 2014 he is working in a coalition environment providing logistic support to a multi-national force of over 2000 personnel exercising in the heat of the Northern Territory.
“We’re responsible for providing 24/7 logistic support to the participants on this exercise. Given the range and nature of the aircraft, equipment and personnel we’re supporting, its challenging, varied and extremely rewarding work that sometimes requires you to think outside the square,” he said.
The three-week exercise aims to foster multi-national partnerships and co-operation between military forces from six nations. The exercise involves a combination of day and night flying and NZDF with an opportunity to practise deployment and integration of ground support personnel into coalition environments.
“Exercise Pitch Black is providing me with a great opportunity to learn the terminology the Australians use when providing support in a coalition environment and observe and be part of their way of doing business,” said FGOFF Wood.
FGOFF Wood will return to his Woodbourne base in late August and immediately begin preparing for an eight week logistics course at the Devonport Naval Base, before ending the year competing in a Services tournament against the Australian Defence Force Squash team.
For further information please contact Defence Communications Group, 021 487 980.
Exercise Pitch Black is a multi-national air combat exercise that takes place in the Northern Territory of Australia, every two years. It is the Royal Australian Air Force’s largest training exercise of 2014 and includes participants from New Zealand, the United States, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and New Caledonia. The exercise is running over 1-22 August 2014.
The NZDF is contributing three military working dogs and 50 personnel in total, comprising force protection elements, aviation refuellers, medics, ground support equipment technicians, chefs, communications specialists, air movements operators, Headquarters staff and augmentees.