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February 17, 2011
Coming back from leave, he found himself in a
Sea King travelling to Spain via southern France to
rescue an aircraft that had gone U/S just the other side
of the Franco/Spanish Alps.
"I was lucky to have a pair of pilots who surfed
so we were able to plan the trip around our common
interest and arrange overnight stops accordingly,"
LSA Jose said.
LSA Jose said it wasn't all gallivanting around
Europe; August saw his first deployment to
Afghanistan with B Flight.
LEUT McLeod and POA Nieuwendaal have also
been posted to the Junglies. LEUT McLeod is on his
fourth tour to Afghanistan and POA Nieuwendaal his
"If someone had said to me at RAN recruiting we
would be flying Sea Kings Mk4+ with the UK Junglie
force in Afghanistan, I would have said that was as
far-fetched as Mick Dundee getting eaten by a croco-
dile," LEUT McLeod said.
"Here we are and what a fantastic opportunity it
The two men are with 846 Naval Air Squadron.
During their posting they have gained valuable
training and experience that will stand them in good
stead back in Australia sharing insights into how an
experienced operational nation like the UK does busi-
ness and what lessons Australia can learn.
They have been involved in amphibious exercises
in the Mediterranean during Operation Taurus and
deployed to the Alps in France, the desert in Oman
and at -15˚c in the snow on Salisbury Plain for envi-
ronmental pre-deployment training.
"Many colleagues have asked why on earth we
would choose to leave Australia," POA Nieuwendaal
"Believe it or not these opportunities are rare and
bring many benefits to the individuals lucky enough
to be offered the position as well as the RAN as a
LSA Jose agreed.
"I'm happy I came over and walked a path that
only a handful of other Aussie aircrew have walked
down," LSA Jose said.
"I have had the pleasure of working with some
very good professional people on 846 and 845."
Most importantly, he said he'd increased his pro-
fessional knowledge as an aircrewman and widened
his skill set -- attributes he wanted to take home to the
HIGH ALERT: LSA
Matt Jose watches for
Taliban on operations
"As we came over
the perimeter fence
there was a huge
-- LSA Matt Jose
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