Army chef at sharp end of exercise

01:34, Aug 13 2014
Rowan Signal
KNIFE'S EDGE: Private Rowan Signal outside the Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin Airmen’s Mess where he is preparing meals for the multi-national forces participating on Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

A Palmerston North chef is heating up the kitchen in the Australian Outback.

A year ago, Linton-based Private Rowan Signal, 19, was three weeks into his initial recruit course in the heart of an icy Waiouru winter.

He is now one of eight New Zealand Army chefs hard at work preparing meals in a kitchen at Darwin's Air Force Base on exercise Pitch Black 2014, in Australia's Northern Territory. The three-week exercise is the base's largest multinational combat air training exercise of the year and is designed to foster multinational partnerships and co-operation, bringing military forces from six countries to the Northern Territory.

It involves a combination of day and night flying and provides the New Zealand Defence Force with an opportunity to practise deployment and integration of ground support personnel into coalition environments.

For Signal, a former Palmerston North Boys' High School student, it is his first overseas exercise with the Defence Force and his first time working with the New Zealand and Australian air forces.

The opportunity to take part in the exercise had reinforced for him the benefits of a career in the army and the quality of the training he has received so far.

"I'd always wanted to join the army. It's a great place to gain a trade, develop life skills and do some travelling while getting paid. The army has so many opportunities for people to make the most of and is an awesome option for anyone looking for a career."

Signal will return to the Linton army camp later this month.


Manawatu Standard