New Plymouth-born Kelsey May has traded in the heat of hospitality for the world of juggling logistics as she embarks on a new career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

She has just graduated the 17-week RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at Base Woodbourne.

Pilot Officer May, 23, studied hospitality and tourism management and spent time working overseas before deciding to pursue a career in the RNZAF.

“I decided to join the Air Force as I wanted an exciting career that was both challenging and interesting, and where I would always be learning,” she said.

She will soon head to RNZAF Base Auckland to work as a Junior Supply Officer.

“I am very excited for the next chapter of my career, although I will miss my course mates, it has been a privilege being on this journey with them. 

“I have really enjoyed the last 17 weeks and have learnt so much and gained so much more confidence.”

Pilot Officer May said there were many highlights on course, including roughing it with just a nylon sheet, or hoochie.

“The field exercises have been amazing experiences. It was fun sleeping in the bush under hoochie tents, setting up camp in silence only using red light, and running around in the field trying to achieve a mission.

“One of the biggest highlights though was talking to the P-3 Orion crew over the radio on exercise, watching a parachute drop from a C-130 Hercules and riding on the NH90 helicopter, which all happened on the same day. A completely unforgettable experience,” she said.

She said she was looking forward to learning her trade and putting it into practice.

“I am focusing on being a great supply officer, I want to be really good at my job and see where my career takes me.

“I would one day like to be deployed to Antarctica and work there, I am also keen to work overseas to get an understanding of how other militaries work,” Pilot Officer May said.

Her advice to those wishing to seek a career with the New Zealand Defence Force was to get in touch with a recruiter who would match interests with a trade.

“One you have found a trade that you might like, ask your recruiter to put you in touch with someone currently working in that role to get a feel for what they do.

“I did this, and it helped me to decide what service to apply for and whether the trade I was interested in was right for me.”

To learn more about a career in the Air Force visit www.defencecareers.mil.nz(external link).

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