13920 Squadron Leader Robert Nash – RNZAF

13920 Squadron Leader Robert Nash – RMC 1983: Royal New Zealand Air Force

By: WJO

Robert Nash hails originally from  St Marys ON.  For the past six years he has been calling Wellington New Zealand home. Prior to the move to NZ, he served as an Intelligence Officer in the CF retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

What is your current career status?

Squadron Leader in the RNZAF assigned as a Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Defence and Security at Massey University.

 What has inspired your current career path?

After 30-years’ service in the CF, I was ready for something new.  At the time, moving ½-way around the world to remain in uniformed service was less daunting than pursuing civilian employment.  I was able to retain my CF military occupation of – INTEL.

How were you recruited?

MORE…

  • RNZAF was recruiting from the RAF.  I was posted in London and I knew from previous service one of the RNZAF officers posted in London and working down the hall from me.

What do you find the biggest differences in the two Forces?    

  • The most obvious differences are size, the RNZAF’s lack of an air combat capability and its principle area of operations in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.
  • The only common aircraft are the C-130 and the P-3.  The RNZAF operates NH90 and A109 helicopters, having retired the UH-1H Huey this year, and the T-6 Texan trainer.
  • The NZ Army operates the Canadian-built LAV, including an exchange of programme officers.
  • The CF is held up as a cautionary tale whenever Service amalgamation is mooted in this age of fiscal restrain and economic austerity.
  • The NZDF has only recently started to create Joint capabilities (logistics, etc) and introduced joint recruit training.

What are some of the greatest career challenges you’ve faced?

  • Making a successful transition from the CF to the RNZAF

Would you be more specific on the challenges?

  • It took some time to learn about my new area of operations in the South Pacific and South-east Asia. Staff College was very useful in this regard, with its focus on postgrad-level study on topics including International Security and the NZ Strategic Environment.
  • It took some time for the family to adjust to the relative scarcity in NZ as compared to the abundance of London. The cost of living, including food and books, to say nothing of the cost and sorry state of housing, was a real shock despite the pre-reading we did.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of?

  • Raising three amazing children with my beautiful wife of 30+ years, and showing them some of the world in which we live;
  • Being selected Dux (Top Student) of the Advance Command and Staff Course at the NZDF Command and Staff College; and
  • Completing two Masters degrees: Master of Arts (War Studies) from RMCC  & Master of International Security from Massey University, NZ      

Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?

  • Dr Peter Greener, who encouraged me to pursue my interests in academic study and employment as a university lecturer following Staff College.

What would you describe as a turning point in your life?

  • Completing the Advance Command and Staff Course in 2012, a Masters in International Security in 2013 and being assigned as a Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Defence and Security at Massey University in 2014 reminded me of my love of academic study and open me to the world of academia.

What are your goals for the future?

  • I will retire from the RNZAF in December 2015 and we will relocate to Winnipeg MB.  I am currently exploring my options for employment, including part-time employment with the Air Reserve and private consultancy work.
  • I aspire to forge a path following retirement from military service that allows Alice and me to live in relative comfort while pursuing our passions and supporting our children and appreciating their accomplishments.

Add anything else you feel that would help readers to know you better.

  • I am proud to have serve Canada in Europe for 11 years, seven in Germany with NATO and the final four in London UK as a Defence Liaison Officer.  It provided me an opportunity to indulge my love of history and travel, and to share them both with my wife and children.
  • I have a keen interest in military operations and history, especially as it relates to air power and its contribution to nation building and national power.
  • I like to play old-style table-top strategy war games.
  • I am an avid Toronto Blue Jays fan who looks forward to attending more baseball games in the future, hopefully at least one in every ball park in MLB. Down here we use MLB.TV to watch or listen to Jays’ games.

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Robert and Alice Nash (Click on photos for better viewing)

One Comment

  • Paul Crober

    July 22, 2015 at 12:29 am

    I noted that the NZ forces label CF Unification a “cautionary tale.” They are the only forces in the world that conducted a detailed review of our experience with Unification. Their review concluded by making recommendations not to follow our lead for many reasons — one of the primary being the incredible loss of morale and concomitant efficiencies that the concept was supposed to espouse.