The Lockheed Martin boys brought a Pinzgaur around to the carpark for our inspection and enjoyment. A few of us piled in and did a lap around the Base which is surprisingly big. A suggested drive through of the workshop was abandoned in case we go left behind.
Back at kick off we thanked Sargent Major Brill and Sgt Peterson before playing the NZ and USA Anthems and rolling out. As we entered Shannon a cop arrived at an intersection just as the entire convoy started to drive by. After a brief comfort stop in town we pressed on through Levin and onto Otaki where we had a warm welcome at the Otaki RSA. This was the start of trying to fix the battery charging issues in Wayne Hook’s Jeep. Lift a bonnet and it is a magnet for men – like bees around a honey pot.
We rocked out of Otaki on State Highway 1 down the brand new motorway. We exited at MacKay’s Crossing / Queen Elizabeth Park to visit the Marines Memorial. We were met by members of the US Marine Trust who oversee and administer the memorial.
There is a restored/replica 4 man army hut that was set up last year. It is complete with cots and equipment. The Kapiti Trust has undertaken this project in co-operation with the local “Men’s Shed”
The assistant US Consul to NZ was there with her Marine Guard providing security. After a few short speeches we retired to a new information centre for tea and coffee as it started to pour down with rain again.
Rejoined SH1. There’s been some discussion as to who went the right way from here over Haywards Hill. Wilson is pretty adamant that he went the right way but there are some convincing arguments that he in fact went completely the wrong way and doesn’t know what he’s talking about!
We were welcomed into Trentham Military Camp. After sorting out our rooms some of us took up the offer to do a close up inspection of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV’s) in the workshop. We were presented with the “vanilla” version and the up armoured one with 4T of extra fruit. Into the troop compartment in the back. Check out the chemical warfare breathing system and comms. The turret is in the middle of the vehicle with crew and Cat engine in the front. Apparently when the gun goes pop-pop-pop it is $1,000 per round. Dropping into the driver’s compartment is better suited to the younger folk. We were fortunate to be briefed by the chap who was there at the beginning of the evaluation and procurement in 2001. There is nothing he does not know about LAVs. He absolutely loves them! We walked back past some MAN trucks, the next lot of Unimogs to go up on the block and a few surplus SAS assault RIBs (there are HUGE!)
The folk at Camp provided a fine meal and a whole slew of excellent single rooms for our accommodations. Some of the wives appreciated some “alone time”.
Peter Haig spent a long time at the bar and was assisted to his room late in the evening.