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NAVY, ARMY, AIRFORCE
July 7, 2011
By Dallas McMaugh
FROM the isolation of Christmas
Island to the bustle of Australia's larg-
est operational naval establishment at
HMAS Albatross, newly graduated
aircrewman LS Corey Wright has
experienced quite a journey.
LS Wright, who grew up on
Christmas Island, said it was the RAN
ships visiting the remote island that
inspired him to join the Navy.
"There was always a lot of excite-
ment when the Navy arrived," he said.
"The population of the island practi-
cally doubled and the local kids were
always keen to talk to the guys on board.
It was through chatting to them about
life in the Navy that I started to think
that it sounded like a great career."
LS Wright joined the RAN in 2007
and has been posted to HMA Ships
Adelaide and Perth, and participated
in Exercise Malabar and operations
Resolute and Astute.
He started the Aircrewman Rotary
Course in 2010 and his graduation on
May 26 was extra special as he was also
promoted from AB and named dux of
the intensive nine-month course.
LS Wright said he found the combat
survival component the biggest chal-
lenge of the course.
"You learnt a lot about yourself and
your limits, both mental and physical,
and it's a great bonding experience with
your mates. But I was very glad when it
was over," he said.
Flying was the highlight.
"Every sortie was even better than
the last and I'm really looking forward
to the next step."
That next step in LS Wright's career
path will be with 816 Squadron for
operational conversion to the S70B2
Other graduates to receive their
wings from the Commander of the Fleet
Air Arm, CDRE Peter Laver, were LS
Daniel Colbert, LS Ben Chapman and
PO Karl Beyer.
Aircrewman Instructor PO Colin
McCallum was proud of his students.
"It's a steep learning curve and
they've all done very well. Most of the
trainees on course have little or no avia-
tion knowledge or experience, and to get
through they must be motivated."
MOVING UP: LS Corey Wright receives his certificate of promotion from
CDRE Peter Laver at the Aircrewman Rotary Course graduation
Photo: ABIS Justin Brown
Island inspires Wright path
Flyer touches down
END OF AN ERA:
Aircrewman WO Max
Poole has taken his
final flight after 42
years in the Navy.
Photo: LSIS Brenton Freind
WO Max Poole calls it a day
By Dallas McMaugh
IT WAS an emotional touchdown
at HMAS Albatross when veteran
aircrewman WO Max Poole took his
final flight in a Seahawk helicopter
after 42 years in the Navy.
WO Poole joined the Navy as a 15
year old in 1961 and transferred to the
Fleet Air Arm (FAA) in 1967.
Since then he has flown in just
about every type of helicopter and
carrier-launched aircraft operated
by the FAA including the Westland
Wessex helicopter, the De Havilland,
Sea Venom, McDonnell Douglas
A4 Skyhawk and the Grumman 5-2
WO Poole laughs off rumours that
he could claim the record of oldest
aircrewman in the world still flying,
suggesting instead there would "prob-
ably be a crusty old bloke in his 80s
somewhere out there who would con-
Fellow WO Brian Pashley
described WO Poole as the "grandfa-
ther of aircrewmen".
"He's a living history book. Often
someone will talk about an event in
aviation history and Max will say 'I
was there'," WO Pashley said.
WO Poole was there in 1969 when
HMAS Melbourne and USS Frank E.
Evans collided in the South China Sea,
and he has flown in the US, Canada,
UK and South East Asia.
Asked for the secret of his long
career, WO Poole said good health had
"Being fit and capable enough to
keep going has been a big factor but
there has also a degree of sheer luck.
I've had my share of near misses so
I'd have to say luck and health have
played equal parts."
WO Poole appreciated the rare
opportunity to take a front seat on his
final flight, having been more accus-
tomed to the back seat view.
His favourite memories of flying
are of fixed-wing aircraft landings
on ships. They were "loud, quick and
intense" and, quite simply, "the pin-
nacle of flying", but not for the faint-
"You never really relaxed, especial-
ly at night in bad weather when you
knew you had no other options. But
you could take some comfort in know-
ing that you were all scared together
-- not that you would ever admit to it,"
816 Squadron Commanding Officer
CMDR Shane Craig described WO
Poole as an outstanding individual.
"Max has provided a significant
contribution to the Navy and FAA over
a long period," CMDR Craig said.
"His sense of humour and stories of
times gone by will be sorely missed by
the Seahawk aircrew he has been fly-
ing with over recent years.
"He's also been a great mentor to
the younger blokes."
WO Poole is retiring from flying
but will continue working in a part-
time capacity as a duty officer at
While his finger will still be on
the squadron's pulse, he admits
the hunger to fly will remain
on his mind.
"Obviously, I'm a bit
sad but I've had a good
run and I'm very grateful
to have had such a long
and satisfying career,"
"Flying is good fun
and that makes coming
to work good fun.
"These are interesting
and exciting times and I just
all over again. My advice to all
the young blokes is to stay around and
WO Poole plans to focus on his
hobbies such as gardening, running
and surfing, and to spend time with
new grandson Buzz, who is aptly
named to follow in his aviator grandfa-
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