Aircrewman on a high following regional deployment

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Todd Fitzgerald (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, Regional Presence Deployment

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Curtis Maxwell aboard an MH-60R Seahawk as he completes his 1000th hour of flight time. (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Curtis Maxwell aboard an MH-60R Seahawk as he completes his 1000th hour of flight time.

Notching up 1000 hours flying time in a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter has capped off a successful Regional Presence Deployment 2020 for Leading Seaman Aircrewman Curtis Maxwell.

Highlights have included being part of the aircrew that fired two Hellfire missiles at Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii, and hunting a submarine during a training exercise with the Republic of Singapore Navy at Exercise SINGAROO in waters off Singapore.

“It was probably the hardest Combined Anti-Submarine Exercise I have ever been involved in as the submarine we were hunting was a good adversary; it was also the flight that I ticked over my 1000th flying hour,” Leading Seaman Maxwell said.

The Royal Australian Navy conducted Regional Presence Deployment 2020 (RPD20) through Southeast Asia and the Pacific from July to October with HMA Ships CanberraHobartStuartArunta and Sirius.

The deployment demonstrated Australia’s commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific and to sustaining strong and positive defence relationships with regional nations.

Leading Seaman Maxwell was part of Flight Eight, the aviation team embarked with MH-60R helicopter, callsign ‘Trickshot’ in HMAS Hobart.

His supervisor, Lieutenant Commander Sidney Raper, said aircrewmen such as Leading Seaman Maxwell provide an invaluable warfighting capability to an aircraft and the ship they support.

“The MH-60R extends the capabilities of any warship it is embarked on, particularly during Anti-Submarine and Anti-Surface Warfare,” he said.

“Leading Seaman Maxwell has provided a notable contribution throughout this deployment and throughout his time in Hobart, both in the aircraft and on board the ship.”

Like many in the Australian Defence Force, it has been a busy year for Leading Seaman Maxwell.

First assisting with Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST and then deployed on RPD20, he has spent six of the past nine months away from home.

He said the job is worth the sacrifices and long hours at work; however, he could not do it without the support of his wife and children.

“Flying as an Aircrewman in the MH-60R Seahawk is hands down the best job in the Navy. No flight is the same,” Leading Seaman Maxwell said.

“Also coming home to my family and spending quality time doing things together that we love; they have always strongly supported me throughout my career.

“I would tell anyone thinking of joining as an Aircrewman to be prepared to work hard and put in effort while under training. You’ll be rewarded by becoming part of the integral airborne fighting capability of the Navy and proudly wearing a set of Aircrewman wings each day.”