Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Kieran Lamond, of Ballarat, Victoria, never thought he would work 30,000 feet above Iraq with the RAAF when he joined the ADF more than 18 years ago.

Chief Petty Officer Lamond was an E-7A Wedgetail senior surveillance and control officer with the ADF’s Air Task Group in the Middle East. 

The task group, that included a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft, recently returned to Australia after the final mission of a successful year-long deployment.

“That was my fifth Middle East deployment but my third as part of Operation Okra on board the E-7A Wedgetail with the Air Force,” Chief Petty Officer Lamond said.

“I was offered the opportunity in 2013 to undertake the RAAF Air Battle Manager course and the follow-on posting after successful completion of one of the Navy positions at No. 2 Squadron in 2014, flying on board the E-7A Wedgetail command and control aircraft.

“I never thought I’d end up spending that much time above the ocean and not on it, but I’ve definitely enjoyed the ride.”

As a senior sailor, Chief Petty Officer Lamond managed junior Air Force officers on the E-7A Wedgetail. 

“I was a chief combat systems manager employed as a Navy fighter control on board the E-7A Wedgetail,” he said. 

“I was responsible for the supervision of the controllers who ensured the deconfliction of coalition assets working inside the Operation Inherent Resolve airspace.

“It’s an interesting job.”

Chief Petty Officer Lamond said working with the RAAF was a professionally rewarding experience.

“I would strongly recommended, if Navy people get the opportunity to work with the RAAF, that they give it a go because it’s well worthwhile and you learn a lot from it,” he said.