sense of direction
harpoon is shot past the USS Lake Champlain during
Exercise RIMPAC 04.
Jason Storey, of No. 44 Wing Detachment, was aboard the amphibious
assault ship USS Tarawa.
JOINED Tarawa the day before she sailed from Pearl Harbour and,
after a short mystery tour to find my cabin, set about trying
to find employment.
I was sent to the Air Ops Cell but they decided I would be best
working for Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 as a TACC watch offi
It turned out that was where I was meant to be all along. The
Australian rank structure confused them, so FLTLT Storey was shortened
to LT Storey and then ditched for Mr Storey.
Tarawa conducted a wide range of amphibious operations, including
a non-combatant evacuation operation, various raids by helo, mechanised
and Special Forces, and an amphibious assault.
I learnt as much as I could about the control and coordination
procedures for airspace management and aircraft operations during
I also visited parts of the ship involved with aviation. Fortunately
I had just completed the RAN Basic Sea Survivability School course,
which teaches you how to navigate around a ship.
It came in handy as Tarawa has 12 decks. The wardroom facilities
were very good, although sleeping in a rack the size of a coffi
n wore thin after a while.
So did being kept awake until 1am because of night fl ying (my
cabin was under the fl ight deck) and getting woken at 5.30am
by .50 calibre, 20mm cannon and close-in weapons systems, especially
when you hit your head on the deck head.
Still, I learned a lot about amphibious operations and had a great
time with great people.