In late December, three Australian Army CH-47 Chinooks from the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville were deployed to the fire front in Victoria and South Australia as part of the national emergency response. 

When the fourth was set to be deployed on 5 January, and the crew was one member short, Boeing’s Greg Maiden was given the opportunity to join the Army team.

“As an ex-Army member, keeping Australia’s people safe is instilled deep in my values,” said Maiden.

“When the fires worsened and it was clear this was going to be a national catastrophe, my first instinct was to want to actively help.

With 26 years on Chinooks, Maiden is a veteran of the CH-47 and was one of the first Australians to be trained on the Boeing-built aircraft. Normally working as an aircrewman instructor, he took up the role of aircrewman technician during the fires, responsible for maintaining the aircraft during operation and monitoring and fixing mechanical and technical issues.

“We were flying in some of the most intense conditions our crew had ever experienced,” said Maiden.

“In all, we transported hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo, with a typical day involving up to nine to 10 hours of operations.”

Maiden spent a total of 30 days on the operation, and was deployed across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

“I am extremely grateful that I was able to deploy with the Army crew and make a contribution.”