Whirlwind start to loadmaster career

Since becoming a loadmaster with 35 Squadron, Corporal Mitchell Hordern’s feet have hardly touched the ground.

CAPTIONLoadmaster Corporal Mitchell Hordern, of 35 Squadron, during Operation Solania in Honiara, the Solomon Islands. Story by Captain Peter Nugent. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Maddison Scott.

He joined the RAAF Base Amberley-based ‘Spartans’ in January, and after graduating in June, has been on a whirlwind world tour.

“I’ve been to Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia and Malaysia, all in the span of six months,” Corporal Hordern said.

“It can be challenging flying all those hours, but it pays off with the experience and the knowledge it gives me to travel to those new places and also opens up a new cultural learning environment.”

Corporal Hordern’s latest loadmaster mission was to the Pacific region as part of Operation Solania.

Australia works with the Forum Fisheries Agency to provide maritime surveillance support to protect fisheries resources and counter transnational crime.

“Being able to help and assist other people, like what we’re doing here on Operation Solania, is definitely rewarding,” Corporal Hordern said.

“We’ve been assisting Solomon Islands authorities and the Forum Fisheries Agency, as well as helping in surveying the damages from Cyclone Lola in Vanuatu.”

In his new life, this loadmaster from Baulkham Hills, NSW, knows the sky is the limit.

“I love my job because it’s such a unique role. I fly on a day-to-day basis as an airman. I’m liaising, always moving, not just sitting,” Corporal Hordern said.

“Essentially the job takes you to different places every day. I’ve been to half a dozen different countries in the span of six months and I’ve not been on the same mission profile.

“I work with different nations, military and civilians, and different ADF assets and cargo types.”

During Operation Solania, 35 Squadron covered more than 90,000sqkm across 10 missions, spotting more than 40 vessels.


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