ROYAL Australian Air Force Operations Officer, Flight Lieutenant Brenden Hobbs, is playing a key role in planning the future of Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.
FLTLT Hobbs, an Operations officer from Darwin, is currently embedded at the Commander Kandahar Air Field (COMKAF) Headquarters as the Chief Airfield Planner at the in Southern Afghanistan.
His role as the airfield planner includes managing, co-ordinating and facilitating the operational planning of Kandahar Air Field, the airfield tenant movements, implementing retrograde plans and remediation of the aircraft parking ramps.
He admits the role has been challenging but highly rewarding as he integrates into the multi-national NATO command at what was once the world’s busiest single runway airport.
“This is a very demanding but highly rewarding job that allows me the opportunity to be a part of the planning of the drawdown of Kandahar Air Field as the NATO forces move towards the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) later this year,” he said
“Kandahar is very big base as such I work with personnel from a number of nations on a daily basis including Americans, Italians and Belgians – it’s an experience I will never forget and would be unlikely to experience in Australia.
“KAF is one of the busiest single-lane runways in the world which makes my day-to-day job very interesting.”
FLTLT Hobbs is also responsible for compiling daily, weekly and monthly reports for COMKAF and ISAF Joint Command as the remediation works and rescoping of the airfield continue before full transition of responsibility to Government of Afghanistan.
His other responsibilities include maintaining COMKAF’s intent of complying with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, perform airfield sweeps in a timely manner after possible rocket attacks or coordinate the response to in-flight emergencies to minimise disruption to Air field Operations.
The husband of Kerry and father of four, Breanna, Hannah, Chloe and Mia, admits being deployed for the first time has had its challenges but he is relishing the chance to achieve a career goal that started in September 1999 as an Air Surveillance Operator before commissioning to Air Traffic Control.
“I worked as an Air Traffic Controller for a while but I realised it was not for me and transferred to OPSO in July 2007.
“Since transferring to the OPSO category I have had postings to HQ82WG (twice), 75SQN, HQJOC-AOC and JTF639 ACCE.
“It has been during this final posting at JTF639 ACCE that I was selected for deployment in a NATO position as a part of ISAF – COMKAF HQ at Kandahar Airfield.”
Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province last year, Australia’s efforts have shifted to a nationally-orientated mission throughout 2014, providing training and advisory support to the Afghan National Security Forces.
About 400 ADF personnel will continue to work in Afghanistan in 2014 to support the mission to train and advise the Afghan National Security Forces in both Kabul and Kandahar.