Ensuring a military aircraft has sufficient stores and equipment can be a full-time task with multiple services to coordinate.
Having to manage this task in a distant country far from home can make the job even more challenging. It’s a challenge Sergeant Sheridan Kelly is keen to tackle.
Sergeant Kelly, from Canberra, is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) logistics specialist currently deployed with the Adelaide-based 11 Squadron and 92 Wing supporting a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in Sicily.
“We are over here in Sigonella, Sicily, supplying the needs of the P-8A as it takes part in Operation Sea Guardian,” Sergeant Kelly said.
Operation Sea Guardian is an ongoing non-Article 5 NATO maritime security operation aimed at maintaining maritime situational awareness, deterring and countering terrorism and building capacity in the Mediterranean region.
“There are plenty of challenges managing logistics overseas but we have had no problems, working closely with the Italian and United States defence personnel here to meet our needs,” Sergeant Kelly said.
Sergeant Kelly is part of a RAAF contingent of 60 personnel supporting the mission in Sicily. The logistics staff have developed close collaboration with their NATO partners to ensure the successful operation of the aircraft in unfamiliar territory.
The RAAF personnel have had minimal downtime, but have had a brief opportunity to take in the sights of Sicily.
“I have been fortunate to visit Italy before, but this is my first time to Sicily,” Sergeant Kelly said.
“The people and food are wonderful, and I look forward to coming back again sometime in the future.”
The 11 Squadron P-8A Poseidon is taking part in Operation Sea Guardian through October as part of the enduring Australia-NATO partnership.
image RAAF logistics specialist Sergeant Sheridan Kelly stands in front of a RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in Italy, during Operation Sea Guardian 2022. Photo: Corporal John Solomon