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Napier man prepares for NZDF Timor Leste assignment

Air, April 2007. Flight Lieutenant Marc Bridgman with a RNZAF Iroquois helicopter.

Napier’s Marc Bridgman is looking forward to working with helicopter pilots from the Royal Australian Air Force next week when he deploys to Timor Leste to fly a Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois helicopter.

The 33 year old former Napier Boys High School student is one of six RNZAF pilots and 26 support personnel deploying to the South East Asian country with two RNZAF Iroquois helicopters.

“I deployed to Timor Leste in 2002 where we saw the emergence of a new country and the election of its first government. Returning to see how it has changed will be a real highlight.”

The Air Force contingent will support the Australian-led Combined Joint task force by assisting with insertion and extraction of patrols, the provision of aero medical evacuation and air logistic support.

“It will be an interesting deployment in that we will be working as a small detachment within a much larger Australian Military establishment. The Australians have been there for some time and are well set up.”

The first Iroquois and support crew will deploy for Timor Leste on April 23 on board a RNZAF C-130 Hercules.
Flight Lieutenant Bridgman will deploy on April 26 with the second Iroquois helicopter.

The RNZAF personnel and Iroquois helicopters will be the first three-month rotation of what will be a 12 month deployment.
All of the deploying personnel are drawn from the Ohakea based 3 Squadron.