22 September 2014
LSCS Greg Smith from Te Aroha takes responsibility for the landing craft onboard HMNZS CANTERBURY during Exercise Croix du Sud in New Caledonia.
Transferring over 50 vehicles and 200 military personnel from ship to ship, and ship to shore, Te Aroha man Leading Seaman Combat Specialist (LSCS) Greg Smith led a team of Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) sailors providing Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) in an international exercise this month.
LSCS Smith, a former Te Aroha College pupil, participated in Exercise Croix du Sud in New Caledonia. A joint amphibious exercise, it saw nine nations working together in New Caledonia to provide HADR in the event of a natural disaster in the South Pacific.
LSCS Smith was behind the controls, driving one of HMNZS CANTERBURY’s two landing crafts during the exercise. The 59-tonne vessels have the ability to transport vehicles, equipment and personnel from the ship to shore. Driving the landing craft requires precision and concentration, manoeuvring the 23m vessel with no room for error.
“The highlight of this exercise was working alongside the other Navies and the capability we’re able to bring together to reach the same goal. Knowing that we can conduct humanitarian aid and disaster relief if required is something to be proud of,” said LSCS Smith.
LSCS Smith’s career has seen him conducting fishery and customs patrols around New Zealand, participating in exercises around South East Asia, and being a part of Exercise RIMPAC, the world’s largest military exercise in Hawaii for six weeks earlier this year.
“I really enjoy that every day is different in the Navy, not only at sea but also ashore which can see me instructing sailors on weapons systems, qualifying for a crane operator’s certificate or working in the local community,” says LSCS Smith.
“I’ve never been one to sit still for too long so the travelling and diversity of jobs the Navy offers is well suited to me.”
LSCS Smith recently returned to Devonport Naval Base, ready to enjoy some well deserved leave and spend time with family in Te Aroha.
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