On the hot and dusty tarmac at the Australian Defence Force’s main operating base in the Middle East, two Royal Australian Air Force personnel by chance realised they had a unique country connection.

Corporal Josh Golding and Leading Aircraftwoman Tiane Hoffmann, who deployed with the P-8A Poseidon detachment, both grew up in the South Australian Riverland region and even went to the same school, although 10 years apart.

“We had no idea that we actually both went to Loxton High and grew up down the road from each other until we got here,” Leading Aircraftwoman Hoffmann said.

“It was actually when the maintainers called out my country accent that Josh picked up that I was from the Riverland.”

Leading Aircraftwoman Hoffmann, who grew up in Berri, provided logistics support to the Poseidon detachment during its one-month deployment to the Gulf in support of the International Maritime Security Construct.

“My role was to organise and maintain all P-8A equipment for the deployment. Anything the maintainers require to fix the aircraft, it is my job to source it for them,” Leading Aircraftwoman Hoffmann said.  

On her first deployment to the Middle East in her six-year career, Leading Aircraftwoman Hoffmann said her motivation to join the Air Force started at an early age.

“Both of my parents were in the military. My dad was in the Army and mum was in the Air Force and they were always keen for me to join,” she said.

Corporal Josh Golding, who grew up on a farm near Loxton, is an aircraft technician from No.11 Squadron, based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, who works to keep P-8A Poseidon aircraft in the air.

“Engines, flight controls, landing gear - anything mechanical on the aircraft is what I deal with. I love the job because it's hands on, I never wanted to be stuck in an office,” Corporal Golding said.

“The Poseidon is an exciting aircraft to work on. Going from the P-3 Orion to a brand new platform, it's incredible to believe not long ago I was working on a propeller-driven aircraft.”   

This was the first time the aircraft had operated in the Middle East. During its 12 missions it completed about 100 flying hours and travelled about 30,000 nautical miles.