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Red Flag-Alaska 08-2
Royal Australian air force's Number 75th Squadron Leading Aircraftwoman Trish Entwistle searches through an aircraft parts log to determine what parts are needed for pre-flight maintenance on the Australian F/A-18 Hornet jets here April 7. The Australian air force 75th Squadron is a participant of the RED FLAG-Alaska 08-2 exercise. RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces field training exercises for U.S. Forces and allies that provide joint offensive counter-air, indirection, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. (U.S Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric T. Sheler)
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RAAF logistics crew provides support for F-18 Hornets

Posted 4/10/2008   Updated 4/10/2008 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Nora Anton
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/10/2008 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- She'd much rather be sunning herself on a beach Down Under--but for now, she's wrapped in layers of cold-weather gear on a forklift out delivering parts to the F/A-18 Hornet crews for routine maintenance.

Leading Aircraftwoman Trish Entwistle, Number 75 Squadron of the Royal Australian air force is stationed at Tindal RAAF Base in the northern part of the continent, but for the next few weeks she and her five other logistics counterparts will be bundled tightly in fleece in support of RED FLAG-Alaska 08-2.

RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. forces and their foreign allies. For RF-A 08-2, Eielson AFB is the host to the air forces of Canada, Britain and Australia, as well as a Naval unit and USAF units from around the globe.

"It's different working here because we're working in a smaller area with only limited parts to use," said Leading Aircraftwoman Entwistle.

She said she is used to having an entire warehouse with parts to choose from.

The biggest difference however, is working in a different climate, she said. When the group of 150 Australian personnel left Tindal RAAF Base, it was a balmy 90 degrees, currently the temperature at Eielson is fluctuating between 15 and 45 degrees.

"The extra gear isn't really slowing down my working abilities, though," she said. "It's beautiful here; I love the mountains and the snow."

The 24-year-old Airwoman joined the air force a little more than a year ago to pursue a career as a nursing officer, but her current job more than suits her for now, she said.

"I like that I'm not doing the same thing all the time and I rarely get bored."

Number 75 Squadron's Logistics Officer, Flt. Lt. Matthew Walsh said it's been really interesting for him and his personnel to interact with the allied forces.

"It's always good to see how operations are done differently and to integrate with systems other than our own," said Flight Lieutenant Walsh.

He said his logistics personnel provide invaluable support at home as well as abroad in order to keep the logistics chain open and effective.

"All the members of our personnel team are extremely professional," said the logistics officer. "We have a really great team working here in Alaska."

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