Australian Pilot ‘Fights’ With Kiwis In Warfighting Exercise
Flying Officer Jessica Moore, Air Warfare Officer in the RNZAF’s 40 Squadron, and C-130 pilot Flight Lieutenant Liesl Franklin, who’s currently on a three-year exchange from the Royal Australian Air Force.
22 July 2015
Flight Lieutenant Liesl Franklin of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) conducted her first flights as junior co-pilot over Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area in Central Queensland.
This month, she is back flying a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules to airlift hundreds of troops and airdrop food, ammunition and first aid supplies to an ANZAC force fighting the ‘ground war’ as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.
“Being back here allows me to reflect on how far I’ve come professionally since my first missions here on the C-130J airlift aircraft,” said FLTLT Franklin, who hails from Adelaide Hills in Woodside, South Australia.
FLTLT Franklin is currently on a three-year exchange with the RNZAF’s 40 Squadron, which flies the C-130 Hercules airlift aircraft, and is based at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai.
“The Kiwis are a very professional outfit who punch well above their weight for their size. As a community, 40 Squadron have been extremely welcoming and have made my transition to the C-130H enjoyable and professionally rewarding,” she said.
The RNZAF’s 40 Squadron have deployed a Hercules and a 25-member contingent to Talisman Sabre 15, the largest warfighting exercise that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) conducts with the US military. They are operating alongside the RAAF’s 37 Squadron during the exercise.
“A typical day during the exercise involves an early start and can last up to 15 hours. The crews plan missions and conduct intelligence briefings and pre-flight loading of cargo.”
FLTLT Franklin joined the RAAF after graduating from Cornerstone College, where she was a Prefect in her final year.
“My paternal grandfather was in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II and he would often regale us with stories about life in the Navy. However, I had a greater interest in aircraft than in ships,” she said.
“When I joined the RAAF, I decided I wanted to fly the C-130 because I would like to be involved in joint ADF military operations and humanitarian assistance operations.”
Her most memorable mission to date was being the co-pilot for a humanitarian assistance airdrop in Iraq in late 2014. “We delivered aid to an Iraqi community that had been surrounded by ISIS for six months and had no access to clean water and food.”
“The second most rewarding task was transporting female Afghan passengers from Herat to Kabul to attend a women’s community conference. The women were very appreciative of our service and their attendance at the conference demonstrated how far the Afghan community had progressed in their views of women,” she said.
Her advice to high school students?
“If you’d like to pursue a mentally and physically challenging job and like the idea of travel and adventure, then you should consider a career in the RAAF. It provides you with opportunities and life experiences you never could have imagined at school.”
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