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Keeping helicopters burning and turning in Timor Leste

July 2007. Timpr Leste. Sergeant Kramer Murrow's crew refuel an RNZAF Iroquois helicopter in Timor Leste.

28 June 2007

A New Plymouth airman who is serving his third tour of duty with the New Zealand Defence Force in Timor Leste says overcoming the heat is still the biggest challenge.

Sergeant Kramer Murrow, a former Francis Douglas Memorial College student, is working as an aviation refueller at Dili airport with a detachment of 32 Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel and two Iroquois helicopters.

“Timor is scorching hot and we have to wear overalls, goggles, a hood and gloves to protect us from any potential flames when we conduct hot refuels. Hot refuels are when we fuel the helicopter while it’s still burning and turning,” he said.

Sergeant Murrow has previously served with the New Zealand Defence Force in Timor Leste in 2000 and 2001.

“Every deployment to Timor is different. The highlight for me this time has been working alongside the Australian aviation refuellers on a daily basis.”

The Air Force contingent is working in support of 150 New Zealand soldiers and a contingent of Australian troops to maintain security in the troubled nation.

During this weekends parliamentary elections in Timor, the Iroquois will be involved in picking up full ballot boxes and returning them to election officials for vote counting.

Sergeant Murrow is due to return to New Zealand at the end of July.

IMAGE CAPTION: Sergeant Kramer Murrow's crew refuel an RNZAF Iroquois helicopter in Timor Leste.