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Karl Beyer - Nowra

Navy's S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters have had a long history of supporting naval operations and 'Predator' and its crew, including Nowra's Leading Seaman (LS) Aircrewman Karl Beyer have not let that heritage down.

Serving in the Middle East on HMAS Arunta as the sensor operator aboard the ship's Seahawk helicopter 'Predator', LS Beyer played a key role in the seizure of 260kg of heroin in the Indian Ocean, as part of Operation MANITOU.

After swapping tools for a flying suit in 2010, he is now on his third operational deployment.

"I originally joined the Navy as an Aviation Airframe and Engine Technician, back in 1995," he said.

"After 15 years in the trade, I decided to see what life was like on the other side, and joined the Aircrewman branch."

LS Beyer's role on Predator saw him maintaining overwatch while his crew-mates conducted a 28-hour search onboard a dhow that was smuggling narcotics.

"I'm pretty proud of everything the Ship's Company has achieved on our deployment," he said.

"It's a tough job, being away from home for the better part of nine months, but we all know we're making a difference in the Middle East."

After this deployment, LS Beyer will be posted back to HMAS Albatross, Nowra, to further his career as an Aircrewman on a different type of aircraft, as Navy retires the the "Bravo" version of the renowned Seahawk.

"It is a great honour to be part of the last ever Seahawk "Bravo" flight, before this aircraft type retires from service," he said.

"The memories this aircraft have given me I will never forget".

Over his 22-year career, LS Beyer has been posted to a number of ships and shore establishments but has resided in Nowra for the past 18 years.

"Being part of the Ship's Flight is fantastic," he said.

"It's an unusual but great place to be, on a warship, working in a team of highly skilled professionals who are also a bunch of good people."

LS Beyer said he also enjoyed other aspects of his job, including the overseas travel and visiting new places.

"The variety of this deployment, and the complexities which come along with it, are great, but I'm looking forward to getting home to my wife, Kate, and our two daughters."

Opration MANITOU is the ADF's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

There are about 200 ADF personnel deployed under Operation MANITOU throughout the region.

HMAS Arunta is the 64th RAN ship to be deployed to the region since 1990.