16 July 2015
As a child, Corporal (CPL) Robin Beauchamp could only imagine that one day he would protect an airfield from ‘enemy forces’ as part of the New Zealand Defence Force’s involvement in Australia’s largest warfighting exercise.
The 29-year-old Wellingtonian is an Aircraft Technician in the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) 3 Squadron, and is part of the 40-strong Air Force contingent taking part in Talisman Sabre 2015.
Together with 20 other Aircraft Technicians, Beachy – as he is known to friends – ensures the two RNZAF NH90 helicopters stay in peak condition. He is also helping to man checkpoints to prevent ‘enemy forces’ from taking control of the airfield.
“Now that the main ‘battle’ has started, it is all hands on deck to defend the airfield, so there will definitely be several sleepless nights,” said the Onslow College old-boy.
During the Exercise Talisman Sabre from 5 – 21 July, a Seasprite helicopter is embarked on HMNZS TE KAHA, a C-130 Hercules airlift aircraft is operating from several airfields, and two NH90 helicopters are operating as part of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) 16th Aviation Brigade.
CPL Beauchamp had wanted to join the military since he was a child. He decided to enlist in the New Zealand Army in 2005 and moved to the Air Force in 2007.
The Air Force is a unique workplace. You get the chance to operate equipment that you don’t see anywhere else. The experience is varied and interesting,” he said.
From 2012 to 2014, CPL Beauchamp was posted in Townsville, Queensland with the Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment, which operates the majority of the Australian Defence Force’s transport helicopters.
Beauchamp said taking part in Talisman Sabre was “a great chance to work with our allies”.
“It is an opportunity to perform our job in a coalition environment and further develop our skills for any future overseas deployments with the NH90s. For me, that also means catching up with friends I made whilst posted to Australia.”