Townsville based Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Clive Keam is drawing on skills as a former commando to train air crews on how to survive in hostile territories in the Middle East.

Since retiring as commando, WO2 Keams has taken up a reservist role instructing at the Combat Survival Training School in Townsville.

“It’s totally different to my old job but it suits me perfectly,” he said. 

WO2 Keam is currently deployed to the Middle East Region on Operation Accordion as a Survive Evade Resist Escape specialist.

His role is to provide refresher training to aircrews on what to do if they’re captured or if an aircraft lands in an hostile area. 

WO2 Keam likens his position to an insurance policy. 

“It’s an investment if an unfortunate situation occurs and I am here to provide that policy cover,” he said.

WO2 Keam said crews are trained extensively in how to use their handheld survival radios to summon rescuers and direct them to the right location.

“I get them to use it, talk through their communications plan and all the procedures they have to follow if they do become isolated or involved in a personnel recovery event,” he said.

He said team work, training and good processes and equipment are all essential for success.

“When procedures are correct this means they’re predictable, so the personnel recovery force can predict what they’re going to do and get them out quickly,” he said 

“I’ve also got Aviation Life Support, Intelligence and Operations Cells getting involved, and when explaining certain intricacies of the communications and evasion plans, I see their ‘Ah ha, that’s what that means’".

“But it’s when they fly out on their missions that the penny really drops - they take it seriously because they’re flying over some pretty nasty areas.

“What I get back from the training is gratitude and that speaks volumes.”

Operation Accordion supports all operations in the Middle East Region including Operations Highroad, Okra and Manitou.