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Pacific skills help ADF support deployment in Haiti

Press Release – Australian Department Of Defence

The Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the relief effort in Haiti commenced today with the initial deployment of Royal Australian Air Force Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).ADF Support To Haiti

The Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the relief effort in Haiti commenced today with the initial deployment of Royal Australian Air Force Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

Two RAAF ATC officers, including the contingent commander Flight Lieutenant Matthew Ferguson-McLellan, departed Sydney this afternoon for Miami and will be joined later this week by three more officers. The group will conduct pre-deployment training in Miami then move forward to Haiti.

Group Captain Forster Breckenridge, Officer Commanding Number 44 Wing, where the ATC are drawn from, said the team is eager to get to Haiti, wanting to help those suffering from the effects of the disaster.

“We want to get on the ground and start working to get the relief flights into those who so desperately need it,” he said.

“The Air Traffic Control Officers will be embedded with a US Air Force team to provide specialist duties including tower and approach control in Haiti”, Group Captain Breckenridge said.

“This deployment will build on the experience gained by the RAAF performing similar duties in Iraq.

“We have worked closely with our US air traffic control counterparts in the Middle East so the skill sets and methods of operations are well known and understood by both forces.

“These officers will help alleviate the pressure and improve safety at the main airport in Haiti where much of the air traffic for this aid operation is arriving.”

The highly trained RAAF ATCs will provide integrated civil/military Air Traffic Services to support humanitarian assistance operations, using skills honed in Baghdad, Sinai, Somalia, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Banda Aceh and Sudan.

The five officers will deploy to Haiti for up to two months, subject to regular reviews of the situation.

ENDS

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