During Exercise Southern Katipo, you would have seen soldiers, sailors and airmen walking the streets of Timaru but you probably were not aware of the Communications and Information System (CIS) technicians who worked behind the scenes.
Timaru local Corporal (CPL) Adam Blair is a CIS technician in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). During Exercise Southern Katipo, he was studying for his final exams towards a Bachelor of Information Systems at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
CPL Blair joined the RNZAF in 2004 after finishing secondary school at Mountain View High School.
"I applied with the RNZAF and listed photographer as my first choice, and as a back-up I chose CIS technician."
"Competition for photographer positions was fierce but I was offered a job as a CIS technician. I’m really glad it worked out that way. I love what I do and where it has taken me," CPL Blair said.
CPL Blair’s day-to-day job involves setting up and operating radio systems and also maintaining Information Technology systems which enable NZ Defence Force operators to communicate anywhere in the world. He has deployed overseas on various operations and exercises during his time with the RNZAF, including to Dubai in 2009 for seven months and exercises in Fiji, Malaysia, Australia and New Caledonia.
"When I deploy on an exercise or operation, my responsibility is to support our people by providing radio, IT and phone systems to operations staff, pilots and maintenance crew. I set up satellite connections, computers and printers wherever we are located, whether that be in a tent in the middle of nowhere or in an NZDF office," CPL Blair said.
"My career in the NZDF has been ever-changing, exciting and challenging. I don’t think I would have had those opportunities if I had chosen a different career path."