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End Of RNZAF Deployment To Timor Leste

29 October 2008

End Of RNZAF Deployment To Timor Leste

The final rotation of Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel serving in Timor Leste will return home this Friday 31 October, bringing to an end the last planned overseas deployment of RNZAF Iroquois helicopters.

The 30-strong team from Number 3 Squadron have spent the past three months in the capital Dili where they continued to provide 24-hour aero-medical evacuation coverage for the International Stabilisation Force, conducted various troop movements throughout Timor and assisted with the re-supply of remote operating bases.

Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Ben Pryor says the squadron's time in Timor Leste has been both challenging and rewarding.

"We will be leaving East Timor with mixed emotions. We have a great deal of satisfaction in what has been an extremely successful deployment for 3 Squadron and our veteran Iroquois helicopters. We also realise that Timor Leste still faces many on-going challenges to a lasting peace and stability. On a personal level we are all really looking forward to returning home again to family and loved ones."

Since the first detachment from Number 3 Squadron left for Timor Leste in April 2007, a total of 186 RNZAF personnel have served in Timor Leste with 8 serving on two rotations.

Media are invited to attend the return of the last RNZAF rotation to Timor-Leste.

When: 8.25pm Friday 31 October, 2008

Where: Ohakea Air Force Base

What: Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott to greet the last rotation of RNZAF personnel returning from Timor Leste


Background Notes

* The first RNZAF Number 3 Squadron detachment in support of the Combined Joint Task Force left for Timor Leste on 23 April 2007.

* Over the past 18 months a total of 993 sorties have been flown and close to 1500 flying hours.

* 32 Aero-Medical Evacuations involving Australian soldiers, UN workers and Timorese civilians injured in accidents or by misadventure.

* Eighteen of these rescues were flown at night using Night Vision Goggles in often challenging conditions.

* A total of 5287 passengers carried.

* 45,188 (kg) cargo lifted.

* There are currently 876 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.

ENDS



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