A ceremony to mark the change of command of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 3 Squadron took place at RNZAF Base Ohakea today.
The change of command parade also marked the integration of the Helicopter Transition Unit (HTU) into 3 Squadron, bringing the entire rotary wing transport force together under the 3 Squadron banner. The HTU is the unit responsible for the introduction into service of the RNZAF’s new NH90 and A109 helicopters.
Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Mike Yardley said the integration comes as the new aircraft develop new capabilities.
“The NH90 will now become responsible for search and rescue missions, casualty evacuation in association with search and rescue, as well as transport for NZ Police and other government and military personnel for national security requirements,” AVM Yardley said.
“The Iroquois have performed these tasks well for many years, but it is now time for the NH90 to become the primary aircraft for search and rescue and national security requirements.
“While we still have some way to go, the NH90 and A109 capabilities are developing well, and are on track to be capable of undertaking all tasks currently performed by the Iroquois by the middle of next year,” AVM Yardley said.
This year the A109 was used in initial helicopter pilot and helicopter crewman training for the first time.
During the ceremony the Commanding Officer of 3 Squadron, Acting Wing Commander (A/WGCDR) Marcel Scott handed over command to the Commanding Officer of the HTU, Wing Commander (WGCDR) Scott McKenzie.
Becoming Commanding Officer of 3 Squadron has special significance for WGCDR McKenzie, whose grandfather, Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Robert Mills also flew with 3 Squadron in the Second World War.
“My grandfather flew for 3 Squadron in Guadalcanal in 1943, and I served with the same Squadron in Guadalcanal in 2004 while serving with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI),” WGCDR McKenzie said.
“I’m proud to be commanding the squadron we both flew with, albeit many years apart.”
For further information please contact the Defence Communications Group, on 021 487 980.
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