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    Australian pilot completes exchange program

    Australian Pilot Completes Exchange Program

    Courtesy Photo | Lt. Martin Stiles of the Royal Australian Navy is recognized among his peers for his...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area

    SAN DIEGO - Long before he arrived, word of a new pilot coming to train at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego spread quickly.

    However, the new pilot would be coming from abroad. Pilots and aviators alike were eager to meet this new Aussie and see what kind of experience and skills he would bring to the table.

    Meanwhile, more than 8,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, Lt. Martin Stiles of the Royal Australian Navy and his wife, Janelle, were working on uprooting from their home, family and friends to begin a fresh start on their lives in a whole other country. For the Stiles, this would be the first time either of them had lived abroad.

    “We just went through a lot of recent moves,” said Stiles. “I was nervous about coming home and telling my wife that we might be packing up our home yet again for one of the biggest moves in our lives.”

    Stiles was offered the chance to participate in the Royal Australian Navy’s Personnel Loan Program. However, he wouldn’t be serving with the U.S. Navy, he was going to train and fly with members of the U.S. Coast Guard flying MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters in San Diego. An opportunity the Stiles nearly passed on for a chance to begin their family.

    With the chance to broaden his experience and proficiency as a pilot, Stiles opted to accept the position offered to him from the PLP, because he wanted to be part of relationship building with allied countries’ aviation forces.

    With his witty personality and the lure of his Australian accent, Stiles quickly fit in among his new peers and America’s Finest City, attending the local team’s baseball games and partaking in some cultural dance instruction.

    While here, Stiles quickly adapted to the rigorous training in order to become qualified as an aircraft commander of the MH-60 J and T Jayhawk helicopter models. This included traveling to Mobile for advanced pilot training during the helicopter model changeover.

    He flew on Coast Guard missions as diverse as long-range search and rescue cases, Homeland Security border patrols, and smuggling interdiction, a seemingly increasing issue.

    At times, some of the cases that Stiles flew seemed to be a bit routine, launching for searches of activated distress signals coming from grounded Navy aircrafts or conducting medevacs from cruise ships transiting hundreds off the coast of Mexico.

    Once in a while, there came a case when the alarm went off and the pipe for “now launch the ready helo” sounded and got the air crew’s adrenalin flowing.

    Stiles recalls one such case early one foggy morning. A call came in about a boat that had grounded on the rocks of San Clemente Island, Calif.

    “We spent significant amount of time searching along the steep bluffs of the desolate island for any sign of where the people or boat may have been washed ashore,” said Stiles.

    Once the people were located, the air crew realized that they were badly banged up from the accident and immediately began hoisting them into the aircraft.

    “It was satisfying for me and the crew to know that we were able to rescue them and transport them safely to a local area hospital where they received medical care,” said Stiles. “Had we not been able to locate the men, the outcome may have been unfortunate.”

    Now, more than three years later, Stiles, his wife Janelle, and the new addition to their family, daughter, Elizabeth gather among peers in front of the bell at Sector to recount what an amazing experience these past few years have been to everyone who had the chance to work with and get to know Martin Stiles. It makes for a sad day to us all, as goodbyes often are, but a great memory to forever have.

    Over the next few days the Stiles will wind down their time in the U.S. by packing up their household goods, separating boxes for shipment by both air and sea for their return back to their native country of Australia.



    Date Taken: 09.15.2010
    Date Posted: 09.15.2010 00:05
    Story ID: 56280
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 203
    Downloads: 8