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Waikato Armourer enjoys Timor experience

Timor Leste - Sergeant Danny O'Keeffe, Corporal Jason Riddell and Sergeant Nick Jones on patrol in Dili.

29 May 2007

The job of a New Zealand Defence Force Armourer isn’t easy in dusty Timor Leste, but Waikato airman Sergeant Nick Jones is enjoying the challenge.

The 31-year-old former Cambridge High School student is working to maintain the weapons and ammunition of the 170-strong NZDF contingent assisting with security in the South East Asian country.

“The dust and humidity in Timor Leste means it takes a lot more work to keep the weapons and ammunition in top condition. Fortunately I have a great team of Kiwis and Australians working with me who are happy to help out.”

Sergeant Jones' job also involves making sure the rescue hoists on the two Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois in the country are in working order. The Iroquois are regularly involved in transporting troops and supplies and provide the capability to conduct aero medical evacuations when required.

Sergeant Jones is based with 32 RNZAF personnel at Dili Airport. The Air Force contingent is part of the NZDF contribution to the Australian-led Combined Joint Task Force in Timor Leste.

Sergeant Jones is due to return to New Zealand in July at the completion of his three-month deployment.

New Zealand has contributed to various United Nations and peacekeeping efforts in Timor-Leste since 1999.  The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment to Timor-Leste at present consists of more than 170 Defence personnel and two helicopters serving with the Combined Joint Task Force, as well as two Military Liaison Officers serving with the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).