On-the-job training in the Pacific during an Australian Defence Force maritime surveillance operation was a major job perk for Pilot Officer Alannah Kreidl.

As a member of the RAAF contingent for Operation Solania, Pilot Officer Kreidl joined personnel from No. 35 and No. 32 Squadrons in the Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

Flying a C-27J Spartan and KA-350 King Air, the ADF supported Operation Kuru Kuru, which is the largest coordinated maritime surveillance and patrol operation run by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to detect and deter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the region.

Pilot Officer Kreidl, a trainee maritime patrol and response officer, said she enjoyed her first overseas trip with the RAAF.

“Deploying for an operation during our training has been unreal,” she said.

“Learning about my job while on Operation Solania has been awesome – it’s putting a lot more context to things and targeting specific aspects of the job role.

“All the travel makes the job unique – you’re always on the move and always doing something different.”

Maritime patrol and response officers operate as part of a mission aircrew, performing a missions including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Pilot Officer Alannah Kreidl works on the KA-350 King Air during a maritime sortie off the coast of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, as part of Operation Solania. Photo: Gunner Sagi Biderman

On completion of her current training at the Air Mission Training School, Pilot Officer Kreidl will convert her training to operate on P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

She joined the RAAF straight after high school in January 2016 through the ADF Gap Year program.

“During year 12 I had no idea what I wanted to do; a lot of my friends were going to take gap years and I wanted to do the same,” Pilot Officer Kreidl said,

“I saw the RAAF Gap Year program pop up on Facebook and I thought that’s something I could do.

“I ended up loving it.”

Pilot Officer Kreidl was born in Austria and grew up in the town of Mayrhofen before moving to Geelong, Victoria, at the age of seven.