A packet of iconic Australian biscuits helped Royal Australian Air Force logistics officer Flying Officer Clifford Brown successfully complete a major task ahead of Exercise Red Flag Alaska 21-3.
He was able to build strong relationships with United States Air Force personnel, which ensured the seamless arrival of RAAF personnel for the exercise held in August.
Deploying to Eielson Air Force Base ahead of the exercise, Flying Officer Brown had the enormous task of establishing the working location for the main body.
Flying Officer Brown said the strategic drop of a packet of Tim-Tams was his weapon of choice in enhancing the relationships with his United States Air Force counterparts.
“Working and interacting with our host nation as part of the advance party was extremely rewarding but was no easy task – the pressure was on to succeed,” Flying Officer Brown said.
“I was responsible for ensuring the safe arrival of all Australian personnel, including the timely movements of cargo and supplies to minimise risk of disrupting operations.
“Engaging early with the host nation is crucial to the success of any international exercise, and Exercise Red Flag Alaska was no exception.”
Growing up in Ipswich, Queensland, Flying Officer Brown said he had been passionate about aircraft from a young age, so the decision to join the Air Force had always been in his sights.
He enlisted as an aircraft mechanic in 1994.
“I was inspired by my father who was an aircraft surface finisher, also in the Royal Australian Air Force,” Flying Officer Brown said.
“I’ve had an incredible career, having worked on several aircraft during my time, such as the Caribou, F-111, F/A-18A/B Hornet and KC-30A multi-role tanker transport.
“Commissioning as a logistics officer in 2016 has opened the door to new opportunities, including Exercise Red Flag Alaska, which was always on my bucket list.”
Exercise Red Flag Alaska 21-3 was a two-week bilateral exercise held from August 12 to 27 and designed to validate the interoperability and effectiveness of RAAF capabilities with the United States Air Force.
Flying Officer Brown said he was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the exercise.
“Exercises are very demanding, but getting to meet and work with so many passionate people on a daily basis make it all worth it,” Flying Officer Brown said.
“The most rewarding piece by far for me was standing on the flightline as the final KC-30A landed with the last of the personnel, while the final F-35A Lightning II aircraft were taxiing into the lines ready to begin the exercise.
“It was definitely a big buzz and a relief, seeing all that planning being executed successfully.”