Royal Australian Navy’s View of Inland Tide
Navigation charts were not quite as helpful as they’d normally be for the crew of the Royal Australian Navy’s Squirrel detachment who were sent in to assist with the Wagga Wagga flood emergency.
The two aircraft from 723 Squadron were tasked with flying reconnaissance missions over the water-logged Riverina region, a mission which provided some particular challenges due to the dramatically changed landscape.
Lieutenant Commander Cliff Gaudie said the view from the air was both spectacular and devastating.
“There is certainly a great deal of water around. We’ve seen the bursting of banks east of Wagga Wagga by five miles, all the way to Griffith,” LCDR Gaudie said.
“It’s really significant for us from a visual navigation point of view. There are swathes of water and the landscape is largely undetectable other than the trees that follow the riverbank.”
723 Squadron provided two aircraft and five aircrew to the flood operation. They spent almost eight hours airborne, surveying the region from Wagga Wagga to Griffith.
LCDR Gaudie said the mission received outstanding support from the team of nine maintainers who ensured the serviceability of the aircraft.
“This was a difficult task at short notice and our maintenance team was integral in making sure Navy played an important role in the overall ADF effort,” LCDR Gaudie said.
Naval Today Staff , March 15, 2012; Image: navy