August saw a combined trip with City of Upper Hutt Cadet Unit to RNZAF Base Ohakea. The team traveled up by two Defence Force Buses early on Friday Morning to take advantage of our time on Base. The Cadets visited many operational areas including
3 Squadron (Iroqouis Helicopter)
Pilot Training Squadron
Helicopter Transition Unit (NH90 and A109 Helicopter)
Maintenance Support Squadron
On Saturday there were four activities for Cadets:
The Range (.22 Shoot)
Base Gym (Team Sports)
Base Pool (R & R)
Central Area Training & Support Unit (Leadership Exercise)
Night time saw R&R at the new Base Movements Terminal with a Movie
Sunday morning started off initially cleaning Barracks and loading bags onto the Buses ready for departure.
Once the chores were done there was time for one last Leadership Exercise/Team Challenges to bring the Esprit de Corp to a climax.
Needless to say the trip home was rather quiet.
As OIC of this visit I would like to say thank you to all Officers and NCOs involved. You made my job easy.
To all the cadets I hope you enjoyed the Week-end. From the Facebook chatter you certainly did.
This activity was a Tri- Corps Training Weekend designed to target learning that cannot easily be achieved on normal parade nights. In particular, the weekend would develop intangible character traits.
The central theme for 2014 was Courage. This was enhanced through a number of deliberately targeted activities to suit the three levels of attendees: Junior (First Year) Cadets, Senior Cadets-SGT(e), and FLTSGT(e)–Under Officers.
Improved Courage was to emerge differently for the three groups. At the junior level this was focused on ‘Lead Self’ and came from increased awareness of personal courage and resilience through ‘giving it a go’ in emotionally and physically challenging environments.
The middle group built on the same outcomes targeted for the first year cadets, but was enhanced with ‘Lead Cadets’ based activities. These will included developing an enhanced level of personal courage, role modelling expected standards, and leadership of others in emotionally and physically challenging environments.
The senior group also built on existing skills to enhance their ability to ‘Lead NCOs’. In particular, coaching and mentoring emerging leaders in the art of leading under pressure and exemplifying high standards of courage to all those below them.
The officers of the three units were ultimately responsible for the weekend’s success. In some cases this involved new or personal stretch demands on the level they had not previously achieved. The success of the weekend required engagement over several months leading up to the event which was in itself is an opportunity for personal development..
The weekend had three overarching and inter-dependant goals all with an emphasis on courage. Staff were expected to make constant reference to courage in their briefings, inspections, mentoring comments, and debriefs. The topics were sub-divided into objectives for the three target groups. Each of the following objectives were woven into specific activities as indicated in brackets.
1 First Year Cadets were acculturated into Cadet Force’s ethos and revise ATP topics (Lead Self)
1.1 Military values (discipline, punctuality, teamwork, comradeship, commitment, integrity)
1.2 Military life (barrack routines, drill, messing, )
In July 2014 Flight Lieutenant Ferguson was surprised and honored by a visit from Director General Reserve Forces and Youth Development Brigadier J. Broadley, MBE who visited the Squadron to present FLTLT Ferguson with his Cadet Forces Medal for 12 years of service as an officer in addition to 5 Years as a cadet. This is another achievement for FLTLT Ferguson for who works tirelessly at both the Unit level and NZCF as a whole specialising in Aviation.
The citation reads as below:
Award of the New Zealand Cadet Forces Medal to
C1017959 Flight Lieutenant James Bruce Ferguson, New Zealand Cadet Forces
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson has served continuously as a uniformed member of 22 Squadron (City of Upper Hutt), Air Training Corps, of the New Zealand Cadet Forces, since joining as a cadet on 14 October 1996.
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson reached the rank of Cadet Under Officer during his cadet service and his service for the Cadet Forces Medal commenced from his eighteenth birthday, 27 January 2002.
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson was commissioned as Acting Pilot Officer upon completion of his Officer Commissioning Course on 10 April 2005.
Following completion of the Instructional Technique and Management Course Flight Lieutenant Ferguson was promoted to Flying Officer on 10 April 2008. He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 10 April 2012
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson is a qualified Range Safety Officer and shooting coach and has also staffed Cadet Forces Courses, as Course Director on Instructional Technique and Management March 2009 and Course Adjutant on Senior Non-Commissioned Officers course July 2013
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson is a keen glider pilot and has staffed National Gliding Courses as Airfield Duty Pilot/ Ground Control January 2011, April 2011, April 2012 and Course Director of National Gliding 2014. Flight Lieutenant Ferguson staffed the Powered Flying component at Cadet 150 in January 2014.
Flight Lieutenant Ferguson has held a number of staff positions at 22 (City of Upper Hutt) Squadron Air Training Corps including Squadron Adjutant, Stores and Training Officer and his current position of Squadron Executive Officer.
The award of the New Zealand Cadet Forces Medal recognises Flight Lieutenant Ferguson’s twelve years uniformed service to the Air Training Corps and New Zealand Cadet Forces from the age of eighteen.
The New Zealand Cadet Forces Medal is presented by the Director General Reserve Forces and Youth Development, Brigadier Jon Broadley MBE on 22 July 2014 at 22 Squadron (City of Upper Hutt) Air Training Corps Headquarters, Trentham Military Camp.
Brigadier J. Broadley, MBE
Director General Reserve Forces and Youth Development
Congratulations FLTLT Ferguson on your achievement.
More pictures of the presentation can be viewed here
On the last Parade Night of Term 2 the Unit deviated from the norm and had a night of 10 Pin Bowling.
The cadets took to the task with youthful enthusiasm. Strange and amazing strategies and techniques were employed to produce some interesting results. Everyone agreed that this was a great way to end the term and a good team building exercise.
March saw the Unit at Upper Valley Gilding Club airstrip in Kaitoke for Exercise Kereru. This involved both ground and air elements in a week-end full of new experiences for the cadets.
The cadets went thru ground training in aviation theory followed up by gliding flights. The weather was marginal but all cadets still managed at least one flight and for many this was their first taste of gliding.
Our thanks to all the instructors and ground crew who gave their time to this exercise.
Cadets from 22 Squadron descended upon Catchpool Valley, Wainuiomata for NAVEX13. The exercise aims to confirm camping and navigation training conducted throughout the year.
For many, the exercise was their first with the unit, with a number of new cadets attending. For a few it was their first experience in a camping environment. Cadets were required to put up tents and cook their own meals.
The first navigation challenge came in the form of a short walk through nearby bush. Cadets practised navigating by compass bearings and pacing their routes.
As the sun set, the night exercise pitted the sections against each other in a heated, and energetic round of capture the flag.
Sunday saw a test of fitness and navigation skills with an 11km round trek along the Orongorongo track.
The group set off from the Catchpool campsite and traveled the track, with various navigation tests on route. The trek wound its way into the Rimutakas ending at the Turere stream bridge. Lunch on was taken on the shore of the Orongorongo river. On the return leg the group diverted via the 5 mile loop for a challenging climb onto the ridge and a quick run back into camp.
Cadets were required to use the compass to orientate the map. Then apply their knowledge of map reading and feature identification to locate their position to within 100 meters. Moving on they needed to estimate the time it would take to reach their next objective. Throughout the trek cadets were called upon to identify their position.
This exercise was successful in its aims to provide both fun and learning to cadets. The ability to accurately take compass bearings, and follow those bearings for a known distance forms one of the core skills of close-country navigation.
“The cadets worked really well together & I had a great time”.
- CDTSGT H Harland
The Upper Hutt Rotary Fireworks Fantastic is held annually at Trentham Memorial Park. A spectacular, colourful display of fireworks put together by a pyrotechnics expert.
The Upper Hutt Rotary Fireworks Fantastic has been called “The best fireworks display in the Wellington Region!” Fireworks Fantastic is organised and presented by local Rotarians, with assistance from St. Johns Ambulance, Fire Service Volunteers and NZ Cadet Forces, & local Scout Groups.
This charity public fireworks display regularly raises thousands of dollars for Rotary projects in New Zealand and around the world.
November saw the Squadron assist local Rotary with the Upper Hutt Fireworks Fantastic. Cadets manned the entry gates and assisted in collecting entry fees from the public
In November 2013 Flight Lieutenant Roblett was surprised and honored by a visit from none other than The Deputy British High Commissioner Patrick Reilly who visited the Squadron to present FLTLT Roblett with his 2nd clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal for over 28 years of service as an officer both in the United Kingdom Volunteer Reserve and in Cadet Forces in New Zealand. This is a fine achievement and one that rarely occurs in Cadet Forces.
The citation reads as below:
Award of the second clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal to
B1018533 Flight Lieutenant Christopher Julian Roblett, New Zealand Cadet Forces
Flight Lieutenant Roblett joined the Air Training Corps as a cadet and attained the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer in 1977. He held this rank through to 1981. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Training Branch, following service as a civilian instructor with effect from 22 March 1984.
Flight Lieutenant Roblett served with Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire Wing of the Air Training Corps from March 1984 through December 1996, with his final appointment with Number 1187 (Hemel Hempstead) Squadron.
He also served as Squadron Officer of 936 (Hertford and Ware) Squadron. He was promoted to Flying Officer in March 1986 and Flight Lieutenant in December 1988 when he was appointed to command 936 Squadron. Transferring as Squadron Commander to 1113 (Berkhamsted) Squadron in April 1992. Completing his service with the RAFVR(T) as Adjutant 1187 Squadron.
Flight Lieutenant Roblett completed Initial Officer Training in July 1984 and graduated with an A2, above average, grade. He completed his Officer Senior course in December 1988 and attended numerous Summer Camps at various RAF Stations in the UK and qualified as a Range Conducting Officer.
Flight Lieutenant Roblett immigrated to New Zealand with his family in January 1997 and began parading with 22 Squadron (City of Upper Hutt) Air Training Corps in February 1997.
Flight Lieutenant Roblett was commissioned into the New Zealand Cadet Forces as Flight Lieutenant with effect 13 March 1998 and completed Officer Commissioning in May 1999.
During his service in New Zealand, Flight Lieutenant Roblett has competed the NZCF Management Course, Outdoor Leaders Course, qualified as a Range Safety Officer and as a Shooting Coach.
Flight Lieutenant Roblett was awarded the Cadet Forces Medal on 22 March 1996 and first clasp on 27 May 2005.
27 May 2013 marks 28 years service as an Officer to the Air Training Corps in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and qualifies for the second clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal.
Clasp presented by the Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr Patrick Reilly on 19 November 2013 at 22 Squadron (City of Upper Hutt) Air Training Corp Headquarters, Wellington Regional Support Centre, Trentham Military Camp.
Congratulations FLTLT Roblett on an outstanding achievement.
More pictures of the presentation can be viewed here
Exercise Epicurean (“having luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating and drinking.”) was hailed as the “Inaugural Annual Dining In” and lived up to its status by not only the quality of the food, presentation, and atmosphere, but also the fact that 102 quests were in attendance.
This exercise was organised and run by a very small but highly motivated set of junior NCOs from all three units. Many hours of behind the scenes organisation and attention to detail culminated in a night that not only ran smoothly but encompassed a mix of traditions relating to all three services.
Guest speaker was Brigadier Sean Trengrove, MVO, DSD, ADC, the outgoing Director General Reserve Forces and Youth Development. Brigadier Trengrove spoke highly of the cadets and the methods of taking on life challenges. Always inspiring and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
EXERCISE PYGMALION (“from The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.”) was an NCO-Officer development weekend held 6-8 September 2013, at Trentham Camp. It brought together officers and NCOs from 22 SQN, City of Upper Hutt Cadet Unit, and TS TAMATOA and was designed to build on the leadership skills targeted on EX PIKI AKE 13. As members of the Cadet Forces move from cadet, to NCO, and for some on to officers, they transition from dependant, to inter-dependant, and then independent thinkers. As leaders, they have the opportunity to move from leading self, to leading small teams, leading leaders, and eventually leading units. EX PYGMALION was primarily aimed at inter-dependent thinking while leading leaders.
The weekend gave participants the opportunity to explore topics not often covered on parade nights, or even promotion courses. This meant going beyond the psychology of small group leadership and into the more complex sociological processes of esprit de corps, promoting unit cohesion, understanding raison d’être, and stewarding professionalism.
Activities ranged from formal presentations, group discussions, role plays, party games, outdoor problem solving, BBQ breakfasts, and a host of other social events. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun, but had some serious messages—most of which was subconscious and will only reveal itself over time.
It was purposely designed to put our people under both physical and psychological pressure. Anyone can lead when the sun shines, but what about when everyone is tired including yourself?
Briefly the exercise was split up into:
Bedspace, sharing and organising facilities so everyone benefits. Learning to work as a team to achieve the task. Working out timings, working smarter not harder.
This was split up and targeted at junior cadets, and Junior and Senior NCOs. The Rank structure was fully utilised so that senior NCOs were trained to a higher level than junior NCOS or cadets.
Stepping up and taking a lead. Senior NCOs mentoring Junior NCOs, who then mentored cadets.
Skill At Arms Stations:
Working as a team, embracing functional leadership to achieve tasks.
Putting all leadership knowledge and professionalism to use. Working as a team under time pressure and stresses to achieve tasks. Identifying and dealing with team and individual needs in relation to achieving the task. Identifying strengths in the team. Filtering “Intel” into meaningful information. Making decisions as situations change. Problem solving.
Both Cadet and Officer reactions to “Pyrotechnics” – (I’m still chuckling!)
Smiling eager Cadets even though they were very tired. – (Just awesome!)
Professionalism of all Cadets. – ( Brilliant!)
The young Sea Cadet who despite injury and a night in the ER, returned to the exercise because she “did not want to let her team down” (Inspiring!)
Ensuring that issues were dealt with professionally and quickly. In fact I don’t think any cadets realised any situations we as Directing Staff had. (Job Done!)
Being absolutely had it on Sunday yet feeling so satisfied. – (Made all the behind the scenes effort that more satisfying)
This Exercise was another success for all. The cadets all worked as one. There was no them and us, or Green, Blue, or White. It was we as a united team.
Both Officers and Cadets raised their game and I personally was proud to see such maturity, purpose, and teamwork shining thru.
The surprises for me were not just the NCOs but also cadets taking their opportunities to “Step Up” and display professionalism and leadership qualities. Once again some cadets blew me away.
Seeing Cadets progress like this is our pay day as Officers: That is why we do what we do.
Will I do this exercise again? You bet! (Just hope the body and mind can take it!)
Exercise “Kahu” (Harrier Hawk) was designed to get the Senior NCOs of Sergeant and upwards and Unit Officers working together, breaking down real and perceived barriers and taking on greater responsibility and challenges.
This activity involved SNCOs and Officers from Nos 2 and 22 SQN ATC, and City of Upper Hutt Cadet Unit. It was specifically targeted at developing advanced levels of leadership for those in positions of responsibility and leaders of leaders.
This exercise was more informal than most had previously experienced in their career as attendees were “expected not inspected”.
Focus was not on formal classroom lessons but rather facilitated discussions with the both Officers and cadets sharing experiences as a team then moving onto the establishment of a Critical Incident Management Plan that will be implemented in each unit.
This exercise was facilitated by SQNLDR Murray Simons NZDF.
It was designed to open a fair and honest discussion between all Senior NCOs and Unit Officers, to document our strengths, and to identify and mitigate our weaknesses in leadership skills.
The weekend was about art, not science; complexity not complication and we were doing education – not training.
Some Key points attained:
It’s not a case of if but when:
This message was drilled into attendees that incidents are not nine to five, or anticipated 99.9% of the time.
This was defined as the courage or self belief, motivation, and the skillset to know what to do when it all goes bad at 2.a.m
This was inserted into attendees minds at an early stage and re-enforced by a wake up call at 2.am. Sunday morning and getting on a Unimog.
We were taken off camp and given a scenario of an earthquake has hit and we have been tasked with assisting in locating persons in a building. We were all blindfolded and had to work as a team and trust each other to maneuver thru obstacles within the damaged building. There was times when we had to get that physical courage to do a task.
For me personally it was the drop off the ladder. I have an issue with my back from vehicle accidents over the years and I was not to fond of the idea to let go and land on my back. However after some verbal inspiration by myself I did the task at hand. What I thought was a six to ten foot drop was in reality about two feet backwards onto a crash mat. I felt a little bit foolish once I had that knowledge but the key point was made. Sometimes you have to dig deep. Well done SQNLDR Simons you had me good!
There was also demonstrations of physical courage with negotiating ropes. Yep they got me here too. “Too many years” as they say.
The third aspect was working as a team to locate “victims”. Our teams task was to locate 2 objects within a room. We did not know what the real or perceived hazards were in the room.
Plans were quickly discussed and put into place to search in a grid as a team. Again this is no easy task when blindfolded. We achieved our task thru teamwork and a good team discussed and agreed plan. The classroom training had done its job again.
Disseminating Information and applying a solution:
Each member of the team had a set of information cards. Not all cards had relevant info in them. The purpose of this exercise was to learn to “sort out the noise from the facts” and make good sound decisions on those facts. We had to estimate how long this would take before we started working on it. . No easy task when you do not have the full picture and that was the essence of this exercise.
Our team had to do some math (never my strong point, let alone at 3.00am). We had a good team spirit so it was not long before a team mate volunteered and said that they were ok with it and took that task on. Another subtle lesson in knowing you and your team’s abilities.
Critical Incident Management Planning:
On Sunday we took all the training and experiences and forged that into a framework for a Critical Incident Management Plan. This merged all our collective knowledge into a concise flow chart of actions. I was proud and amazed at the way the senior cadets took the format and ran with it. There was some brilliant results.
I came to the exercise with the notion that the senior NCOs would be at the sharp end of the week-end and us Officers would be more guiding just like your typical ATC week-end. How wrong I was. This was targeted at the Officers with the Senior NCOs coming along for the experience. It was our turn to dig deep, to soul search, and to appraise ourselves. Yes we mentored our younger team members, but it was ourselves that were truly measured.
I was pleased with my personal development. There are so many “nuggets of gold” that I got from this exercise that I will take back and use.
I was, as always, so proud and astonished at the way all NCOs and UOs grabbed this opportunity to develop and just ran with it. I am in awe of the way that they were so far removed from the normal ATC activities that they usually participate in and yet stepped up in such a mature and eager fashion. You are all a credit to yourselves.
For us as Officers we also “Stepped Up” and were professional, open, and honest with ourselves and those around us both with our fellow Officers and Senior Cadets.
This exercise was another resounding success and a tribute to SQNLDR Murray Simons’ drive for excellence and to challenge all attendees. All participants worked as one and the dialog between Officers and Cadets was full and frank. There was no them and us or Green and Blue. It was we as a team. Ranks were sidelined which gave everyone the confidence to put their opinions and ideas forward to the team.
Both Officers, UOs and Senior NCOs engaged in the process fully and again I am personally proud to see such maturity, purpose, and teamwork shining thru.
Well done everyone involved in making this exercise the success it was. Without the buy-in of NCOs, UOs and Officers the Directing Staff would have failed in their task.
It was designed to put our people under pressure in different situations, to document strengths, and to identify and mitigate weaknessess in leadership skills.
Briefly the exercise was split up into:
Bedspace, sharing and organising facilities so everyone benefits. Learning to work as a team to achieve the task. Working out timings, working smarter not harder.
Cadet Forces Knowledge, personal/uniform care, Functional Leadership Style.
Stepping up and taking a lead. Assisting junior team members, “Amazing Race” Task Stations, working as a team, functional leadership.
Putting all leadership knowledge to use. Working as a team under time pressure and stresses to achieve tasks. Identifying and dealing with team and individual needs in relation to achieving the task. Identifying strengths in the team. Filtering “Intel” into meaningful information. Making decisions as situations change. Timings in relation to Ratel “Sitreps” (situation reports)
Cadet reactions to initial bang at start of ambush. – (I’m still chuckling!)
Smiling eager Cadets even though they were very tired. – (Just awesome!)
Leadership coming out of Cadets. – ( Brilliant!)
Being absolutely had it but feeling so satisfied in achieving our exercise aims. – (Made all the behind the scenes effort that more satisfying)
This Exercise was a resounding success. The cadets all worked as one. There was no them and us or Green and Blue. It was we as a team.
All cadets raised their game and I personally was proud to see such maturity, purpose, and teamwork shining thru.
The surprises for me were not just the NCOs but also cadets taking their opportunities to “Step Up” and display leadership qualities. The Exercise identified people that I had almost written off. Leadership comes from everywhere and anywhere. You just need to go and find it. Just goes to show that you never ever stop learning.
Well done everyone involved in making this exercise the success it was. Without the buy-in of cadets and staff we would have failed in our task.
Cadets from Belgium, Canada, UK and USA arrived in New Zealand on the 16th July. In two NZCF vans they and their Escorts (including U/O Roberts from NZ) travelled throughout the country staying at RNZAF Bases and NZ Army Camps were possible, and where that was not possible with cadets from Squadrons throughout NZ.
Visits at RNZAF Base Whenuapai, Zorbing in Rotorua, overnighting at Waiouru Military Marae, visits to Government House and Parliament in Wellington, Omaka Aviation Museum, taking a swim in Lake Wanaka, flying, ice skating and hot pools at Lake Tekapo, jet boating in Queenstown, farm visit in Oamaru and visits to Squadrons along the way were amongst the highlights of the tour.
The weather was great, the lakes and mountains of both Islands looked stunning and each and everyone was stunned by the beauty of our country. Many new friends were made with cadets from other squadrons and overall a great experience, many of the cadets wishing to return to NZ in the future.
On 31 July 2012 Squadron Leader Foley was surprised and honored by a visit from none other than AVM Peter Stockwell, Chief of The Air Force who not only visited the Squadron but also presented SQNLDR Foley with his 3rd clasp to the Cadet Forces Medal for over 36 years of service as an officer. This is a huge achievement and one that very rarely occurs in New Zealand Cadet Forces.
More pictures of the presentation can be viewed here
Travel Wellington to Auckland with WO Sam Owen, utilised my Koru membership in Wellington for a final brief with Sam and to ensure we were prepared for the trip ahead.
Arrived in Auckland and met our other NZ cadet Jessy Ion in the International Terminal. Checked in at Emirates and discovered her baggage was 6kg’s overweight so we lightened her bags of unnecessary items. We checked in and proceeded to the Emirates lounge that I had secured passes for then spent the next hour and a half relaxing courtesy of Emirates.
Our Aircraft through to Istanbul was a Boeing 777 and very comfortable. Our stops included Brisbane, Singapore and a stop over in Dubai. As we were stopping in Dubai for more than 8 hours Emirates put us up at no charge in the Emirates Millennium Hotel.
The next day we travelled to Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport travelling through the Neutral Zone on the border of Iraq and Kuwait. We were collected by one of the THK team at Ataturk International Airport and taken to an evening meal and a welcome hosted by the President of THK Zafer Cagler. He had travelled many hours from Sparta and had to return that evening. Following the evening meal we were taken to our Hotel around midnight and allocated rooms for the next few days.
Wednesday 23rd July
The hotel was basic but comfortable with 4 cadets per room and single rooms for the escort officers. 0700 breakfast for a 0800 departure for a formal visit to Ataturk International Airport. On arrival we were greeted by heavily armed security and had to provide passports and be subjected to metal detector checks. We travelled by bus to the Air Traffic Control centre where we were briefed and then escorted through their radar centre followed by the tower.
Following this tour we visited Turkish Airlines and their training facility complete with simulators. This facility trains not only pilots but stewards etc from scratch as well complete with cabin evacuation simulators. We had lunch with Turkish Airlines then travelled to the Harbiye Museum that captured the history of the pre Istanbul inhabitants and the wars that enabled the Ottoman Empire to take over Istanbul from the Romans. This museum housed rare weapons from bows to cannons and modern day weapons. One section proudly shown to me by the Turks was the Gallipoli section where an NZ flag and memorabilia from the battle site were on display. Prior to the museum tour a band in Ottoman period costume played for around 40 minutes with period instruments.
Diner followed in Istanbul.
Thursday 24th July
0700 Breakfast for a 0800 departure. Visit to Naval Museum with significant history and artefacts of the Gallipoli Campaign as well as items dating back to the Ottoman times. This was followed by a sightseeing tour of the Bosphourus by boat followed by lunch at a stop off point. The Hong Kong Escort (Earnest) was ill and we took him to a local doctor. Ernest ended up in bed for the next few days as a result. We drove to the Dolmabahce palace but it was about to close so we decided to return prior to departure for Ankara.
Returned to the Hotel and then departed for Taxsim Road in Istanbul for dinner and out to a local night spot to listen to music and dance with the free time we had. Returned to our hotel prior to midnight.
Friday 25th July
0700 breakfast and depart at 0800 for the Sultanahmet Mosque. This was magnificent and the temperature was a warm 35 degrees at 0945. Next was a tour of the Topkapi Palace with all its Ottoman artefacts on display. The grounds were fantastic and dated back many hundreds of years. The marble floors in the entrance ways were worn from hundreds of years of people walking on them. A truly remarkable place to see studded with fantastic history.
We next visited the Hagia Sophia Museum followed by the Yerebatan Cistern, a Roman water reservoir constructed underground to supply water to Istanbul. This was fascinating and well preserved.Lunch was at a award winning Sultanahmet restaurant.
Next on the tour was the Rahmi Koc museum of transport that covered everything from horse drawn carts to a Cobra helicopter and an obsolete Submarine. This museum had some light aircraft as well as a salvaged WW2 Liberator bomber that was partially reconstructed following salvage.
Visited Pierre Loti Tepas for afternoon tea and a chance to view Istanbul from a vantage point while the female escorts disappeared to have their hair done prior to us all having dinner at the Crown Plaza where our Turkish Escort Ozlem was invited to take us by management through her family contacts. We were all treated like royalty and the food was fantastic. Following dinner we were taken on a personally guided tour of this new facility. We arrived back at our hotel at 2200 hrs and a welcome sleep to recharge the batteries and pack for the next leg of our Turkish adventure.
Saturday 26th July
Same routine for departure at 0800 this time for Ankara but via the Dolmabahce Palace. This was a magnificent palace and well preserved. It is here in 1938 that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died. The guided tour took almost 2 hours and was worth every bit of it.
I must also point out that a significant amount of pre Roman walls still remains around Istanbul as well as Roman viaducts. This is stuff you only see in documentaries but things we could physically touch on this trip. It just oozed history and we were part of it.
Our Turkish guides then arranged lunch for us all followed by the cadets being taken shopping while the officers were taken on an impromptu cruise on the Bosphourus
Depart for Ankara at 1500hrs and a 9 – 10 hour drive with a few stops in-between. The countryside from this point strongly resembled NZ. Special mention must be made at this point for our Turkish Drivers Mehmet and Hussain who got us everywhere we had to be in time and in one piece. Compared to everyday NZ motorways some of these drivers are crazy and I don’t know how our drivers negotiated the streets and traffic at times. Temperature today was 40 degrees
Sunday 27th July
Up at 0630 for a 0730 breakfast. We then walked to the museums behind our military accommodation. Next was a bus trip to some very old markets that overlooked Ankara. We tried some freshly baked bread as a snack but at this stage I was suffering from a mild stomach upset that progressively got worse as the day wore on. Our Hong Kong Escort was also sick again so we were escorted back to the accommodation where we slept off the stomach pains as best as we could. Unfortunately Ernest and I missed seeing Ataturk’s Mausoleum and the TAA museum due to being unwell. By morning I had come right but Ernest was still unwell. I ensured his medication was correct and a register of what it was for, side effects and doses given was in place so anyone could check on him and his medication periodically.
Monday 28th July
Breakfast in the open air restaurant at our barracks and then we travelled to Turkkusu to see all aspects of flying undertaken there, from aero-modelling to twin engine aircraft used for flight training. Sam Owen and I traded Kiwi pins with the previous TAA director who was now a senior flight instructor at Turkkusu. He in turn gave us some mementos and we took a heap of photos with him and our hosts.
The team had lunch with the Director of Turkkusu and saw their flight simulator. Some cadets got to try this out briefly.
Next on our agenda was TAA HQ and a greeting by the Secretary General Mehmet Pinar a retired Brigadier General. We were all given THK plaques and certificates followed by afternoon tea. Free time followed and we prepared for our formal dinner with the Director and his officers and a presentation of gifts to our IACE hosts, THK (Turkish Aeronautical Association).
Tuesday 29th July
0700 Breakfast followed by a visit to TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) where we given a briefing then shown F16 overhauls taking place, work on CASA aircraft and various aircraft parts being manufactured including Airbus, B787 and many other aircraft. Parts manufactured included composites and all forms of sheet metal work supplying many countries.
This was followed by a visit to the 4th Main Fighter Base which housed F16’s. The Officers were granted an audience with the Base commander a Brigadier General for brief discussions and presentation of certificates. We were then driven to the weapons range and shown bombing and strafing practice followed by a 4 ship fly past of the tower for our benefit where I got a great photo.
Next it was off to the flight line and a chance to touch and walk around an F16 as well as a group photo shot. My camera was one of the few allowed onto these secure sites as the official group camera with unhindered access to take photos of anything I wanted.
We had lunch on our host base and then departed for the 11th Main Jet Base which was a jet transport base. We then visited the Turkish Air Force museum next to this base which had examples of all Turkish aircraft flown from Migs to F104 Starfighters and Phantoms. After this we travelled back to our accommodation and a group formal meal for our last night in Ankara. It just happened to be one of the UK cadets Birthdays which was celebrated with a cake organised by our escort Ozlem.
Wednesday 30th July
Early Breakfast followed by a 6 hour drive to Inonu Training Centre, THK’s training facility that caters for Parachuting, Gliding, Hang Gliding. We were given a welcome by its Director then free time to look around this magnificent facility and have a swim in the swimming pool to cool off. Our accommodation was comfortable from the Barrack dorm for the males to two adjoining roomed dorms for the females and two for the Escort staff. Diner was at 2000 hrs followed by an early night.
Thursday 31st July
Breakfast at 0730 for all. At this stage the Escorts and Drivers decided to have a BBQ for a change that evening. Everyone was given a local flight in an AN2 biplane used for parachute dropping followed by glider flights for all in two seat winch launched Puchaze gliders. Inonu was perfect for gliding with a rock ridge almost directly behind the facility. A BBQ tea was cooked by our drivers and some of the Inonu staff. Half way through the evening we were joined by the facility director and the Districts Deputy Governor who joined us for dinner.
Friday 1st August
0800 Breakfast followed by a bus ride to the 1st Main Jet Base which had 3 Squadrons of Ground Attack Phantoms. Our bus was driven to the threshold where a pair of Phantoms were running up 20 meters away. As we left the bus, these taxied to the active and took off in a roar that left our bodies vibrating and ears hurting despite fingers stuffed as deep as we could in them. Next it was off to the briefing room for a base brief and refreshments. Sam and I managed to swap squadron patches for NZ pins with a Captain that escorted us around the base.
After we left the base we travelled to TEI (Turkish Engine Industries) where we were briefed on their operation, TEI make parts for Jet engines and supply the worlds manufacturers. The cadets were given a guide and the Escorts had the production manager as their guide. This visit was once again fantastic and showcased Turkish aerospace manufacturing as a world class operation.
The escorts then visited the Managing Director and presented certificates and the Cadets presented the production manager certificates and pins.
We had free time after this and went on a river cruise through Eskisehir followed by shopping and a meal before travelling back to Inonu and packing for our travel to Kusadasi
Saturday 2nd August
0800 Breakfast outside and depart for Kusadasi at 0900, which was another long drive through a fascinating countryside stopping for lunch which consisted of burgers fries and cola, a welcome change for all. As time was running short we did not stop at the Ismir Space Camp and elected to do this on another day. We drove direct to Kusadasi and our hotel and a much needed late afternoon swim, followed by Dinner at 2000 hrs and an early night. The accommodation was comfortable but hot water stopped running in most units that night and was unable to be rectified for the duration of our stay.
Sunday 3rd August
0730 Breakfast and an 0830 departure for the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus followed by as guided tour of the ancient Roman city of Ephesus. This was fantastic and the state of preservation of the newly excavated terraces and paintings was phenomenal. Had it not been for the foresight of our Escorts and arranged for a guide we would not have got as much as we did out of this tour.
Lunch was had on the way to Selcuk airport to watch skydiving but the wind was up and we would return tomorrow. Visited Turkish Space Camp for teenagers to see what happens there. It was interesting but more for younger people not cadets of the age ours were.
Travelled back to our hotel and free time for shopping in Kusadasi.
Monday 4th August
Breakfast 0730 then travel to Selcuk Airport to watch skydiving and parachute packing and meet some key members of the THK parachuting operation.
Travel to Kusadasi National Park to swim in the Agean sea and a day of leisure. This was great. While there a wild pig ran through the car park area to the amusement of all.
Return to our hotel and dinner and pack for a 0600 departure for Istanbul.
Tuesday 5th August
0500 up and shower and depart at 0600 with a bag breakfast for a very long day of driving to get back to Istanbul.
Luckily Ankara sanctioned the use of a ferry that would shave hours off our drive for the sake of a 2 hour ferry ride. This was greatly appreciated by all.
On arrival our original Istanbul hosts in conjunction with our Turkish Escort Ozlem had arranged a final night boat cruise and meal. We were met by these great people and taken to a café to rest for a while before travelling to the Dinner cruise. I must say every one of us struck a bond with the Istanbul THK team members. They were great and taught us Turkish while they tried their English out on us, and they were great fun.
Wednesday 6th August
With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our friends and fellow travelling companions as all travelled back to their own countries. My team of Sam and Jessy were delivered to our next Hotel and said goodbye and thankyou to our Turkish friends that we had bonded so well with during IACE 2008.
Gallipoli & Troy Tour
Thursday 7th August
We were picked up by the tour company from our hotel at 0630 and started the pick up of the 36 others from various hotels around Istanbul. Then followed a 5 ½ hour coach ride to Gallipoli and lunch.
After lunch we departed for a fully guided tour of all the major Gallipoli campaign sites. What a moving experience to walk the ground that so many New Zealanders have walked and died on so far from home. Moving moments for these 3 Kiwis was having our photos taken on the beach at ANZAC Cove, viewing the cemeteries at ANZAC Cove, walking the trenches that were still evident and laying poppies on the NZ memorial at Chunik Bair. On our way to Chunik Bair we visited the Australian Lone Pine memorial and Turkish Cemetery not far from it.
Following the tour our operator took us by ferry across to Canakkale to our hotel and a welcome early night for us all.
Friday 8th August
The following day we were picked up by our coach and driven to the City of Troy that was in various states of excavation. It was amazing to find out from our guide that Troy was in fact nine cities built on top of each other the oldest being 7000 years old and the most recent 5000 years old. The sea had once been close to the city but was now 6km away.
Following this tour we were dropped off at ANZAC House for an afternoon of free time to shop. We met back at ANZAC House and took a ferry back across the Bosphorus and a 6 hour drive back to Istanbul.
Saturday 9th August
A free day in Istanbul. We slept in until 0800 then had a last minute chance to shop and repack our bags and complete all those last minute things needing to be done then went out to Dinner and our last taste of Turkish food for a while.
Sunday 10th August
This was it, the end of our fantastic trip and we were to depart this great country late in the afternoon. We had our last breakfast at 0800, did some final packing, then checked out of our rooms and went for a last walk to the Blue Mosque to take some pictures and visit the markets near by. After an ice cream we slowly made our way to the hotel to change into our travelling clothes and were collected by our shuttle and taken to the airport for our trip home.
We departed Istanbul full of great memories of Turkey but also looking forward to seeing NZ again. We were to overnight in Dubai and had a 1000 flight back to NZ via Melbourne, some 14 hours in the air on this leg, then 3 hours to Auckland.
On arrival in Auckland a shower at the Koru Lounge was all we could think of to freshen up and of course get some rest.
Observations and Comments.
As Escort Officer for the NZ Contingent for IACE Turkey 2008, I can not stress enough the significance of NZ Cadets being hosted in Turkey given the bond New Zealand shares with this Turkey. Wherever we travelled within Turkey, upon learning we were Kiwis those we met pulled out all the stops to show us a good time whether it was our particular city tour hosts or Base Commanders, it made us proud to be Kiwis and to share a special bond with the Turkish people.
Our Hosts, Turk Hava Kumuru (Turkish Aeronautical Association) senior officers up to the Secretary General, (a retired Brigadier General) reinforced they would like to continue be a destination for New Zealand IACE Cadets and given the historic significance of Gallipoli expressed a willingness to possibly include this in future tours.
From a personal view Turkey’s cultural and historic value dating back 5000 + years could not be duplicated in the western countries visited by IACE that have similar cultures to us.
The historic ties between New Zealand and Turkey really made a difference for us all and made this destination a once in a lifetime opportunity for 3 kiwis in addition to their fascinating culture.
Sam Owen and Jessy Ion were a pleasure to escort on this trip and conducted themselves as NZ ambassadors in a manner that made me proud to be their escort. They displayed a level of maturity well above their actual age and at a level above some of their fellow IACE travellers. This was positively commented on by our Turkish escort.
Acknowledgement for this fantastic trip must go to the following;
Chief of Defence Force for making IACE possible and affordable to us.
ATCANZ, SQNLDR Bryce Meredith, NZCF HQ and CA.
Our wonderful Turkish Hosts THK, our Turkish Escort Ozlem Koc and our Ankara based drivers Mehmet and Hussain and our THK Istanbul guides.
Our Unit Support Committees and all those additional people that assisted my team and I with funding for this trip, and there were many.