Top sailor visits Middle East

Published on LSIS Jayson Tufrey (author), SGT Shane Gidall (photographer)

From left, Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Warrant Officer Mark Pentreath, CSM, Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Martin Holzberger, CSC, Regimental Sergent Major of the Army, Warrant Officer Dave Ashley, AM and Warrant Officer Joint Operations, Warrant Officer Dave Devlin. (photo: SGT Shane Gidall)
From left, Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Warrant Officer Mark Pentreath, CSM, Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Martin Holzberger, CSC, Regimental Sergent Major of the Army, Warrant Officer Dave Ashley, AM and Warrant Officer Joint Operations, Warrant Officer Dave Devlin.

Warrant Officer of the Navy Martin Holzberger joined his service warrant officer counterparts for a visit to the Middle East Region from 2-6 February.

Warrant Officer Holzberger joined Warrant Officer of the Air Force Mark Pentreath and Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, Warrant Officer David Ashley, along with Warrant Officer of Joint Operations Command David Devlin, on the first joint visit to meet Australian Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Holzberger said the visit was to enable servicemen and women to have frank discussions with the service warrant officers.

“This in turn gave the service warrant officers a better appreciation of what our men and women are doing in the operational areas of the region,” he said.

The tour provided the service warrant officers with a snapshot of the mood of deployedpersonnel and an opportunity to remind the personnel that the service chiefs listen to what they say.

The service warrant officers flew into Afghanistan from Camp Baird, Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East, to meet Navy, Army and Air Force personnel at Camp Grant, near the Kabul Afghanistan International Airfield – North military facility.

They also went to Camp Qargha, which is situated within the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, and to Camp Baker, near Kandahar Air Field, where they met Australian personnel and senior US military officers for wide ranging discussions. 

They travelled by helicopter, Bushmaster and C-130 to a variety of military bases, where they inspected all the facilities, work places and living quarters of deployed members.

Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Martin Holzberger, CSC (right) and Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Warrant Officer Mark Pentreath, CSM (centre right), discuss aircraft refuelling operations with Australian and US personnel deployed on Operations in the Middle East Region.

Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Martin Holzberger, CSC (right) and Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Warrant Officer Mark Pentreath, CSM (centre right), discuss aircraft refuelling operations with Australian and US personnel deployed on Operations in the Middle East Region.

Warrant Officer Holzberger also visited HMAS Success in the Arabian Gulf, where he had discussions with the ship’s company of 235 sailors and officers.

Warrant Officer Holzberger said he was surprised to meet so many sailors and naval officers in land-based positions.

“It was amazing to bump into Navy personnel in places I never thought I would, from people working in our office in Kabul andthe airfield and back in Camp Baird,” he said.

“There are sailors scattered throughout this area of operation and doing things that, I suppose, as sailors they never expected to do in places they never expected to be.

“They are doing Navy proud.”

Warrant Officer Holzberger said one of the best parts of his job was getting around and seeing what our men and women did.

“I am humbled seeing our exceptional sailors and officers because it reinforces how adaptive, resilient and professional we are,” he said.

Warrant Officer Holzberger said he was impressed by the professionalism and dedication of all personnel.

“Everyone I met was highly professional in the way they went about their business, whether that was administration or operations inside and outside the camps,” he said.

“Our time at the Afghan Army’s Camp Hero, which is responsible for security in the south of the country, and the things that took place to get us there was truly eye-opening. 

“The visit to the hospital and the things the Afghan people are going through was something I will never forget.”

Warrant Officer Holzberger said the service warrant officers gained an in depth appreciation of what our people faced on operations, which they reported to the senior leadership group.

More images are available at the Navy Image Gallery http://images.navy.gov.au/S20150237