21 August 2014
SGT Jason King at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin during Exercise Pitch Black 14.
In true Anzac form, Kaikoura-born man, Sergeant (SGT) Jason King is part of an Air Movements team responsible for moving the personnel and equipment of seven nations at Exercise Pitch Black 2014, in which New Zealand and Australian forces are working together in the heat of an Australian Northern Territory winter.
SGT King is an airman in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) 209 Squadron Air Movements unit. He is in Darwin participating in Exercise Pitch Black 2014, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) largest multi-national combat air training exercise of the year.
The three-week exercise aims to foster multi-national partnerships and co-operation and has brought military forces from six nations to Australia’s Northern Territory. The exercise involves a combination of day and night flying and provides the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) with an opportunity to practise deployment and integration of ground support personnel into coalition environments.
Exercise Pitch Black 2014 is not SGT King’s first time overseas. He’s provided movement support as part of the NZDF response to the 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami, been based in McMurdo station in Antarctica, moved troops and equipment around in Afghanistan and supported elections in Papua New Guinea in 2012.
Exercise Pitch Black 14 will be his first time working with the RAAF at its Darwin base. He said that the opportunity to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2014 has reinforced for him the benefits of a career in the RNZAF as an Air Movements operator and he is enjoying the opportunity to see how his Australian counterparts provide movement support for a multi-national force with a variety of aircraft and equipment.
“It’s been great having the opportunity to work with the Australians and see how they operate with the different aircraft from the participating nations. Air Movements is a challenging trade and requires the ability for complex problem-solving, as no day is the same,” said SGT King.
SGT King will return to his Ohakea base late this month, where he will continue with his extramural studies towards a Bachelor of Business from the Open Polytechnic, which is being funded by the NZDF.
For further information please contact Defence Communications Group, 021 487 980.
Background: 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 taking place 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.