From Berri to the Bahamas

Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author)

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Vanessa Issom from 725 Squadron, HMAS Albatross, cleans the Forward Looking Infra Red camera on the MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopter, at the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, Victoria. (photo: CPL Nicci Freeman)
Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Vanessa Issom from 725 Squadron, HMAS Albatross, cleans the Forward Looking Infra Red camera on the MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopter, at the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, Victoria.

Aviation Technician Avionics Able Seaman Vanessa Issom has recently returned to Australia after completing training for Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters in the United States.

She is down at Avalon, Victoria, for the Australian International Airshow helping to showcase the Navy’s newest maritime combat helicopter.

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Vanessa Issom from 725 Squadron, HMAS Albatross, conducts a daily inspection from the Flight Servicing Schedule on the MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopter, at the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, Victoria.

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Vanessa Issom from 725 Squadron, HMAS Albatross, conducts a daily inspection from the Flight Servicing Schedule on the MH-60R 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopter, at the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, Victoria.

“I am really looking forward to a great week at the Airshow, I am hoping lots of people come down to check out the Romeo,” Able Seaman Issom said.

Able Seaman Issom’s role includes undertaking daily inspections of the airframe, including checks on the tail rotor blades and cleaning the Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) camera.

While stationed at Jacksonville, Florida, she also went to Autec in the Bahamas to build operating experience alongside members of maintenance crews in US Navy Romeo squadrons.

“The travel is a highlight for me,” said Able Seaman Issom.

“I originally joined the Navy to be a writer [clerk] as I had worked in administration at the Berri-Barmera Council in South Australia, but I met an avionics technician while on the Recruit Course and it sounded much more challenging.”

Able Seaman Issom’s mum, Rose, and stepfather, Craig, still live in Berri with her brother and sister.

Although Able Seaman Issom now lives in Nowra, in New South Wales, she says it reminds her of her hometown but has great beaches.

Navy has a contingent of 40 personnel at Avalon this year and will be displaying the Romeo, the MRH-90 Taipan maritime support helicopter and the AS350BA Squirrel helicopter from squadrons based at the Fleet Air Arm in Nowra.