Refuelling international partnerships

Driver training officers from 96 Wing have welcomed United States Marine Corps (USMC) refuellers to RAAF Base Williamtown with essential training that will enable greater interoperability between the two nations.

CAPTION: RAAF aviation refueller, Leading Aircraftman Stephen Gannon (L) instructs US Marine Corps refuellers on the operation of Australian refuelling trucks at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.

As part of the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314’s (VMFA-314) deployment down south, operating the F-35C Lightning II aircraft for the first time in Australia, the USMC refuellers were fully trained on the RAAF aircraft refueller tankers.

Driver training officer (DTO) from 17SQN Sergeant Wayne Holroyd said this will enable the USMC and RAAF to provide refuelling support to each other’s aircraft with both nations to work side by side seamlessly.

“The training involves preparing foreign forces under the Air Force Interoperability Council agreement in the operation of RAAF aircraft refueller tankers, allowing them to become familiar with RAAF refuelling procedures and policy,” Sergeant Wayne said.

“Allowing both nations to work together will enable the USMC and the RAAF to have a greater understanding of how each other works, building stronger relationships between services.”

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CAPTION: RAAF aviation refueller, Leading Aircraftman Stephen Gannon (left) instructs United States Marine Corps refuellers Corporal Fritz Augustin and Lance Corporal Damian Young. Photo by Corporal Craig Barrett.

The training first commenced at 13SQN in RAAF Base Darwin and shifted to 26 Squadron, Williamtown with the support of personnel from 17 Squadron, RAAF Base Tindal.

Overall, three RAAF DTOs and seven USMC refuellers were trained on medium-capacity tankers.

Captain Lauren Campbell from the USMC said the Marine Corps and RAAF aircrew have flown together for years as part of Exercises Pitch Black and Talisman Sabre but working towards logistics interoperability is a big step forward.

“Not only does it give us a better understanding of each other’s operations and work toward a stronger partnership, but it lets us identify best practices and potentially challenge our own systems to develop better efficiency,” Captain Campbell said.

Sergeant Holroyd said having the USMC embedded within the RAAF refuellers at Williamtown “will allow the team to project a larger capability to aircraft operations in the area, ensuring that all refuelling capabilities are met and sustained.”





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