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Northern NSW : Autumn 2013
daughter and through this truly realised the importance of access to medical facilities. The Service is really an extension of that and I’ve been very lucky to secure a position on their Youth Advisory Board.’ Why Kokoda? ‘Kokoda is something that has been on my bucket list for quite some time.My Great Uncle ser ved in the 2/5 Australian Infantry Battalion deployed to Milne Bay, Papua, in October 1942. The Battalion spent seven months patrolling the Torricelli and Prince Alexander mountain ranges. He came back a very different man. I’ve always been interested in family history and this is the closest I will ever get to experiencing a small piece of my own.’ What kind of fitness regime have you committed to? ‘I’ve been walking every day since I signed up before Christmas, as well as cardio activities at the gym, stairs, and going for bushwalks in my trekking gear. Inspired Adventures has provided an intensive training plan that kicks in three months before the trek and includes step by step activities for each day and week in that final period leading up to the trek.’ What do you want to achieve out of this experience? ‘At the very least, I want to finish the trek! Seriously though, after experiencing China, we landed in a foreign country without knowing each other and came home great buddies; Kokoda will be that and so much more. The environment will be harsher, however I think the magnitude of what the diggers went through will only be realised when we are walking their path. I’ve been told I will come back feeling like I can conquer the world and that’s certainly good enough for me.’ Training in Sweden Sweden is home to one of the world’s four Bell 412 simulators that has the facilities for pilots to undergo training in life-like scenarios to the highest CESA standards. For this reason a group of the Service’s pilots and crewmen travelled to the Scandinavian nation for important in-service training thanks to the support from Xstrata Coal NSW. Xstrata has had a long standing relationship with the Ser vice and has recently become a logo rights sponsor. “It’s been a good relationship; a lot of friendships have been made. It’s important in a business like this,” said Service Chairman, Mr Cliff Marsh, OAM. Chief Pilot, Mike de Winton, said the group loved the opportunity and that they gained preparation and experience that is only rivalled by genuine missions. ‘It only took four minutes in the simulator before the situation became real and you forgot that the scenarios were staged. ‘The Sweden trip prepared the crew for scenarios I hope they never have to see, however if they are presented with an emergency they will be prepared and know how to react,’ he said. Service General Manager, Richard Jones, said support from Xstrata Coal had helped fund operational costs associated with ongoing training and skill development. “We are very grateful for Xstrata’s support of the Service and in particular the development of our operations staff.” Crewmen get the send-off from Xstrata. (L-R): Glen Ramplin, Service Chairman, Cliff Marsh, OAM, Xstrata Representative, Craig Strudwick, Michael Legge, Danny Morris and Chief Pilot, Mike de Winton. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ser vice - Rescue Autumn 2013 Page 7