RAAF security forces deployed in the Middle East have been so busy, they reckon they could have achieved gold status if they earned frequent-flyer points, by the time they return home.
CAPTION: RAAF Corporal Daniel Cafaro guards a RAAF C-17 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo and story by Corporal Tristan Kennedy.
Members of Joint Task Force 633’s RAAF Air Force Security Forces (SECFOR) are providing air security operations at Camp Baird, the ADF’s main base in the Middle East, and provide security for aircraft going in and out of theatres of operation.
Officer in Command of SECFOR Flying Officer Cameron Maher said that, despite issues presented by COVID-19, the force maintained a busy routine.
“While deployed, the team provides continuous security to aircraft movements to Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan,” Flying Officer Maher said.
“The tempo has remained at a significant level despite the impact of the pandemic on operations in the Middle East.”
With the end of their Operation Accordion deployment approaching, Flying Officer Maher said his team would return home with plenty of air-miles under their belts.
“Given the number of tasks my team will have completed by the end of our deployment, it’s a real shame we can’t transfer the time travelled into frequent-flyer points,” he said.
“I think gold status would have been on the cards.”[Sadly, Defence didn’t offer any actual quantifiable info, such as kilometres or air hours, so you’ll just have to trust Flying Officer Maher’s yardstick 😉 ]
Corporal Daniel Cafaro said Joint Task Force 633’s SECFOR was a mix of airfield defence guards from the RAAF’s Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Security Forces squadrons.
“We are trained in enhanced combat shooting, as well as in how to safely defend aircraft without causing damage to it,” Corporal Daniel Cafaro said.
“Teams are also able to operate the different communication systems on the aircraft and work with the aircrews in the event an aircraft is grounded in a theatre of operation.”
Despite the busy workload, SECFOR members have used their downtime to refine their skills.
“On their non-flying days, the teams train in all aspects of their core skills,” Flying Officer Maher said.
“The teams continue to develop their survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE) skills with the deployed SERE adviser, as well as hone their shooting skills at the range.”
Operation Accordion is the Australian Defence Force’s overarching support mission to Operations Highroad, Okra, Manitou and other activities in the Middle East.