Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Air Force Rescue Recognised

Media Release

04 September 2012

Air Force Rescue Recognised

Presentation at Government House in Auckland with the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae presenting Squadron Leader Aaron Douglas Benton with the DSD for services to the NZDF

It was a proud day for Auckland Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Aaron Benton and his family when he was presented with the Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) for his role in a difficult Antarctic rescue carried out in September 2010.

Quick to down play his role in the rescue, the experienced Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion instructor pilot was called on to fly to Antarctica to evacuate an American working at McMurdo Station, who had fallen seriously ill and was in need of specialist medical care.

“While it is an honour to receive the award it is important to remember that the success of the casualty evacuation could not have been achieved without the professionalism of a number of people,” said SQNLDR Benton.

“This includes the other crewmembers, aircraft maintainers and engineers and numerous other people in support. The flight itself involved more preparation prior to getting airborne than any other flight I have conducted in my career.”

The Orion left Christchurch to begin the mission on Sunday 12 September, however during the flight south increasingly blizzard like conditions caused the first attempt to be cancelled, and it was another two days before a second attempt could be made.

SQNLDR Benton’s citation reads, “Faced with an outside temperature of minus 47 degree Celsius, he had a number of factors relating to crew safety to consider when operating in such a harsh and unfamiliar environment. Functions such as loading the patient, refuelling, starting, taxiing and take-off all had to be carefully planned and executed, as well as contingencies for aircraft technical issues and emergencies. His planning and attention to detail ensured that the aircraft and crew remained safe at all times, despite operating at the extremes of both human and equipment performance.”

SQNLDR Benton said, “We were operating the aircraft in conditions that we had not experienced before and there were numerous contingencies and 'what ifs' that we had to consider. To complete the mission safely and successfully, without any serious personnel or aircraft issues, was fantastic.”

SQNLDR Benton joined the Air Force in 1995 for the excitement of flying and travelling the world, and he has certainly achieved that. “Highlights have been the many places I have travelled, including UK, Sicily, Crete, Middle East, Australia, South East Asia, USA, Canada, Antarctica and numerous Pacific Islands.” He was presented the DSD at a ceremony last week.

In his leisure time the proud father of four supports his sons who all play rugby at the local Kumeu club, and enjoys playing tennis.

When asked if he would recommend to others to join the Air Force SQNLDR Benton’s response is emphatic: “Absolutely, it is very rewarding, interesting and you meet great people from all around the world. I have gained training in a number of different areas, obviously pilot training that is second to none, but also survival, escape and evasion, command and leadership, flight safety, and firearms to name a few.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Uncanny Valley Of Tokyo 2020

For all involved, this year’s Olympic Games have called for a willing suspension of anxiety. For now at least, the displays of skill and agility have been compelling enough to muffle some of the previous misgivings about the wisdom of asking athletes from all corners of the world to converge in one place in the middle of a pandemic, and at the height of a Tokyo summer... More>>



Government: Cabinet Accepts Turkish Authorities’ Request For The Managed Return Of Three NZ Citizens

Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year... More>>


Government: Quarantine Free Travel With Australia Suspended

Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today... More>>


Government: New Zealand Condemns Malicious Cyber Activity By Chinese State-sponsored Actors

New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity... More>>


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>

Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>




InfoPages News Channels